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To view the contents of a ZIP file without opening it (macOS)



This step-by-step guide shows you how to view the contents of a ZIP file without having to open it in macOS.

Normally when you select a .zip file and press the space bar on the keyboard (to bring up “Quick View”) you would see something like this:

default quick view of a zip file in macOS

With a small, free app for macOS, instead of just seeing a large icon, you can see what is Inside zip file ̵

1; like this:

view zip file contents with Quick Look on a Mac

Just follow the step-by-step instructions below so you can quickly see the contents of a ZIP file without having to open it.

  1. Go to the BetterZip download page and download the current version. The installation is very straight forward – just unzip the file and move the app to yours Applications folder. Drive it from there.
  2. The first time you open BetterZip you get a welcome screen. click Let’s go! button.
  3. message BetterZip welcome window

  4. If you are using macOS 10.15 (“Catalina”) or later, you will be prompted to grant BetterZip access to a series of folders – click OK button on each.
  5. macOS prompt to grant access to the Documents folder

  6. The BetterZip main window appears. Select BetterZip from the main menu bar and then Settings … from the drop-down menu.
  7. the BetterZip main window

  8. Select Glance tab at the top of the settings. Select the attributes you want to be able to see when using Quick View to view a .ZIP from Show columns section. Finally, finish the settings once you have made your selections.
  9. BetterZip Quick Look settings

  10. Open a Finder window and locate a .ZIP file somewhere on your Mac. Select the .ZIP file by clicking on it once and call Quick Look by pressing the space bar on the keyboard. Ta-da! From now on, this is the view you get with Quick Look in a .ZIP file.
  11. view zip file contents with Quick Look on a Mac

  12. If you want BetterZip to behave like the built-in archiving tool (for example, when you double-click a .ZIP file, it extracts the contents of the file and then closes itself), Settings again and on General tab, check the box marked Opening an archive from the Finder extracts it immediately
  13. BetterZip general preferences


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