Extracting a single file from a zip file is a fast operation, so I assumed this would be true for TAR as well, but I learned that even though a TAR file is without compression, it can take a looong time for a file to be extracted. I had used tar to backup my home folder on OS X, and I then needed a single file. Since tar doesn't know where the file is, it needed to scan the entire 300GB file before being able to extract. This means TAR is a terrible format for most backup scenarios, so I'd like to know my options.
So, which archival file formats are suitable for quickly extracting a single file?
Even though this question isn't really about compression, I don't mind answers listing formats that combine archiving and compression (like zip), in which case "solid compression" will matter.