How To Create RAR Files On Mac (The Easy Way!)

Unfortunately RARlabs, the maker of WinRAR, only offers command line tools for Mac users.

The RAR file format is controlled by RARlabs and they only allow 3rd party tools to extract RAR files, not create them. That is why you don't see the option to create RAR files in most archive tools (except their own WinRAR).

However do not despair, you won't need to enter the complicated cesspool that is the terminal. After all, you are a Mac user, used to the finer things in life... such as a simple click to get things done!

This guide will show you how to simplify RAR archive creations on the Mac. Just a simple click in the Finder!

You will need to do a bit of setup work first though. This will only need to be done once. You will need to install WinRAR and then setup a RAR Quick Action for it. Once that's done, you'll be able to create RAR Archives on the Mac!

 Video Instructions

Step-by-step video instructions showing how to make RAR archives on MacOS.

How To Install WinRAR for Mac

  1. Navigate to the WinRAR download page and click on "RAR for macOS" to download the installation package
    Download WinRAR for Mac
  2. Double click on the downloaded WinRAR package. It will extract it to a "rar" folder. Extract WinRAR for Mac
  3. Go into the rar folder and right click on "rar" and click Open.
    Open WinRAR command for Mac

    If you get a prompt warning you about the source, click on Open:
    Confirm WinRAR command for Mac

    You should get the following terminal output:
    WinRAR command terminal output

    That's it. You now have to WinRAR command line tools on your system!

    If for some reason double clicking the package doesn't work, try the ezyZip tar.gz extractor.

How To Setup WinRAR for Mac (Quick Actions!)

Since we want to create RAR files the easy way and not deal with the terminal, we have another step to complete. We need to create a Quick Action for RAR archive creation.
  1. Open Spotlight Search by pressing Command-Space or clicking the magnifying glass in top right corner of Mac menu.
    Open Spotlight
  2. Search and open "Automator"
    Search for Automator
  3. From the top menu, go to File>New and select "Quick Action"
    Create new Quick Action
  4. Go down the actions menu and double click on "Run Shell Script"
    Select run shell script
  5. Set the fields to following values:
    • Workflow receives current Files or folders in Finder
    • Shell: /bin/bash
    • Pass input: as arguments
    • Copy/paste the following script into the text area under "Run Shell Script":
      rar_args="a -idq"
      rar_archive="Archive $(date '+%Y-%m-%d at %I.%M.%S %p').rar"

      cd "$(dirname "$1")" || exit

      declare -a my_files
      for f in "[email protected]"; do
      my_files+=( "$(basename "$f")" )

      if [ -w "${PWD}" ]; then
      $("${rar_exe}" ${rar_args} "${rar_archive}" "${my_files[@]}")
      $("${rar_exe}" ${rar_args} "${HOME}/Desktop/${rar_archive}" "${my_files[@]}")

    Your RAR Quick Action should look like the following: Select run shell script
  6. Now just save it. Go to File>Save and give it a good name like "Create RAR Archive" Save quick action

    Awesome! You are all setup now.

How To Create RAR Files On Mac

Now that we've created a Quick Action, it's super simple to create a RAR archive.
  1. Open Finder and select the file and folders you want to add to a RAR archive.
    Select files to add to RAR archive
  2. Right click on your selection and go down the menu to Quick Action>Create RAR Archive
    Create RAR Archive

    It will create a RAR archive with the current timestamp in the filename.

    Thats it! So simple.

What's the difference between RAR and ZIP?

RAR is a proprietary format controlled by RARLabs and owned by Alexander Roshal, the brother of Eugene Roshal, the inventor of the format. They have released code for extracting RAR files that any 3rd party developer maybe use. This is why most archive software supports RAR extraction. However, you will need to use official RARlabs software (i.e. WinRAR) for creating RAR archives.

ZIP is an open standard that anyone is free to implement. Thanks to this, it has become a bit of a defacto standard of file archiving and has wide support.

So why do people use RAR instead of ZIP? Well, RAR tends to compress files better and creates smaller files than ZIP. This makes it a popular format even though it is a proprietary format.

Does RAR reduce the quality of files?

No. RAR uses a lossless compression algorithm. This means that the files you put into a RAR archive come out exactly the same as when you put them in. This is same with other archive formats like ZIP and 7Z (LZMA).

This contrasts with lossy compression, where quality is compromised to save space. This type of compression is typically used by images, audio and video formats.

Does Mac come with a RAR compressor ?

No. You will need to follow the instructions above to install WinRAR for Mac to add support for RAR compression.

Is WinRAR free?

No. WinRAR is trial software and after you're trial period is over you should pay and register it.

It will continue to work beyond the trial period without registration. However, if you plan to use it beyond 40 days then you need to purchase a license.