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Simplified .zst File Extraction Guide for Linux and Mac Users

Created On: 7 September 2023
Written by: Ben


In the world of digital data, compressed files are a common sight. They offer a practical way to reduce storage space and make file transfers more efficient. Among the myriad of compression formats, .zst has gained popularity for its excellent compression ratios and rapid decompression speeds. If you're a Linux or Mac user, understanding how to extract .zst files is a valuable skill that can simplify your data management tasks.

In this article, we're about to embark on an exploration of the effortless art of .zst file extraction. Whether you're a seasoned Linux aficionado or a devoted Mac user, our step-by-step guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to seamlessly extract .zst files. No more wrestling with complicated commands or struggling to access your compressed data; by the end of this guide, you'll be extracting .zst files with ease and confidence. Let's dive in and demystify the process of handling .zst archives on your Linux and Mac systems.

Simple Guide to Extraction

Lets say for example you have the following file:


The extension .zst means that the archive is compressed by zstd compression algorithm. To uncompress we need to use .zstd as thats what it was compressed using. Luckily for Linux and Mac users .zstd is built into tar and can be passed as an argument when extracting using the following:

-I (--use-compress-program) 

Extraction can simply be achieved using the following command structure:

tar --use-compress-program=unzstd -xvf my_File.tar.zst

This will result in an output directory of my_File or whatever the contents of the archive are.

Possible Issues

Tar not present

This is most likely to occur on Mac-based extractions. You can use brew to install tar via Terminal, to install simply use:

brew install tar

tar (child): zstd: Cannot exec: No such file or directory

Although zstd usually comes pre-packaged with tar sometimes it can be missing. To overcome this error simply install zstd with the following:

apt-get install zstd


yum install zstd


brew install zstd

Choose the install type which relates to your Operating System.

You can read more about zstd compression on their GitHub page here. For more useful posts please visit our Knowledgebase Index here.

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