.TAR File Extension

There is only one file type that uses the .TAR extension:

Consolidated Unix File Archive

Consolidated Unix File Archive
  • Developer Jean-loup Gailly
  • Popularity
    4.0 (90 votes)
  • Category Data Files
  • Format Binary

A TAR file is an archive created by tar, a Unix-based utility used to package files together for backup or distribution purposes. It contains multiple files stored in an uncompressed format along with metadata about the archive. TAR files are commonly compressed into .GZ files with GNU Zip compression.

The TAR format was introduced with the tar utility in 1979 to write data to tape drives, which were data storage devices that would read and write data on magnetic tape. The TAR name comes from "Tape archive."

In modern computing, the TAR format is typically used on Unix and Linux systems to consolidate multiple files into one file. The tarballs are especially helpful for backing up files or transporting multiple files to another location.

Users may also compress TAR files to reduce their size. TAR archives compressed with GNU Zip compression may become GZ, .TAR.GZ, or .TGZ files. Compressed archives with .tar.gz and .tgz file extensions are often used for packaging software installers.

NOTE: TAR files are often referred to as "tarballs," since they collect all types of files into one file, similar to a sticky tarball.

Software's name License Platforms
7-Zip 7-Zip Open Source LinuxWindows
Apple Archive Utility Apple Archive Utility Bundled Mac
Corel WinZip Corel WinZip Commercial MacWindows
Corel WinZip Mac Corel WinZip Mac Commercial Mac
ESTsoft ALZip ESTsoft ALZip Freeware Windows
File Viewer for Android File Viewer for Android Free+ Android
File Viewer Plus File Viewer Plus Free Trial Windows
GNU Tar GNU Tar Free LinuxMac
Incredible Bee Archiver Incredible Bee Archiver Commercial Mac
Keka Keka Paid Mac
PeaZip PeaZip Open Source LinuxWindows
RARLAB RAR for Android RARLAB RAR for Android Freeware Android
RARLAB WinRAR RARLAB WinRAR Shareware Windows
Smith Micro StuffIt Deluxe Smith Micro StuffIt Deluxe Commercial Windows
Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe Mac Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe Mac Commercial Mac
The Unarchiver The Unarchiver Freeware Mac
Zipeg Zipeg Open Source LinuxMacWindows

Updated: April 24, 2020

Search File Extensions