Animated GIFs are a bit of fun and some can be really clever. Along with the meme of the moment, animated GIFs can find their way into forums, email signatures, Facebook, websites, and anywhere else they can be used with .gif files work. If you want to save animated GIFs to your computer and use them online, follow these steps.
What is in a GIF?
A GIF file is a Graphics Interchange Format file and is thirty years old this year. It is an 8-bit format that supports up to 256 colors with RGB. It supports animations, which is why it is so popular. The files are tiny and self-contained, which is why they can be used almost anywhere.
An animated GIF contains several images that are used as frames for the animation. Repeat this animation continuously to achieve the effect.
Save animated GIFs on your computer
If you find a GIF online that you want to keep for yourself or use for your own nefarious means, downloading it is exactly the same as downloading a normal image.
In most browsers, you can simply right-click on an animated GIF and save image as . select. Choose the location and keep the format as .gif at. This will download a copy of that GIF to your computer for you to use wherever you want.
If the GIF is one of many on a page, you can right-click on it and select Open in new tab or Show image. This isolates the GIF in question so you can review it before downloading it. Then right click and save image as .
Since GIF files are standalone, they can be saved, uploaded, embedded in emails that use HTML, in blogposts, on web pages, or wherever you want them to be.
How to create animated GIFs?
An animated GIF is a series of static images that are rendered exactly like a cartoon. To create an animated GIF, you need to create a series of images in 8 bits and 256 colors and combine them into an animation.
You can use an online tool like Giphy to create animated GIFs, Photoshop or other image editing programs. Adobe has a good tutorial on creating animated GIFs on their website. It obviously deals only with Photoshop, but the principles are the same whatever graphics program you use.
Use animated GIFs
The .gif format is treated as the default image in HTML and CSS, so it works on most blogs and websites.
One thing I would say is that you need to know your audience for an animated GIF to work. I see hundreds of GIFs online every day and many of them contain cultural references that I just don’t recognize. If you use a local actor or character on a local website, you have a very good chance of fully appreciating it. Put the same GIF on a website from another country and you have a much lower chance of understanding it.
For example, use an animated GIF of a Minion or Star Wars character and you have a very good chance of it being universally understood. Use a character from Saved by the Bell or "Doogie Howser and someone from another country may never have heard of them.
Use animated GIFs in WordPress
As the most popular blogging platform in the world, WordPress supports millions of websites, so it’s a good place to start uploading our GIFs. It’s also a good start, because some WordPress installations show the first image but not the animation.
- Choose add media in the post or page that should contain the GIF.
- Select the "Full size" option in the left pane of the media window, unless your GIF is huge.
- Select Insert in Post.
- Check that the animation plays in the Post window. Then select Preview over Publish to check if the animation is playing back.
Use animated GIFs on Facebook
Facebook is full of images and GIFs play a significant role in this number. Some are funny, some are smart and some are just plain stupid. Either way, here’s how to use animated GIFs on your Facebook page.
Facebook still doesn’t play well with GIFs. It allows you to tag them, but you can’t upload them like a normal picture. Instead, you’ll need to host it somewhere else and link to it on the site.
- Create your GIF or download it as described above.
- Upload it to cloud storage or link it through your blog or website.
- Add the link to your page, profile or wherever.
The link should bring up the animated GIF and preview it in your entry as if you had uploaded it. The end result is the same, even if the method doesn’t work.