How to Open TAR Files on a Mac

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A tar file is an archive file used on the Linux, Unix and Mac OS X operating systems. It was originally used to create an archive on a tape drive. Now it is used for both tape archives and to create archive files on a hard drive. Tar files are created and extracted from a command prompt. On the Mac OS X operating system, the command prompt is in the Terminal.

  • Open the "Applications" folder.

  • Double-click the "Utilities" folder.

  • Double click on the "Terminal" utility.

  • Type the command "cd Dir/" to navigate to the directory that contains the tar file. Replace the word "Dir/" with the correct name of the directory. For example, type "cd Downloads" if the tar file is in the "Downloads" directory. If the tar file is in the "Documents" directory, type "cd Documents".

  • Type the command "tar xopf file.tar" to open the tar file. The contents will be extracted to the directory that contains the tar file.

  • Type the command "ls -la" to list the contents of the directory.

  • Type the command "exit" to close the Terminal window.

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