How To Save Animated GIFs to your Computer From a Website

Posted by Jamie on December 22, 2018

Everyone loves an animated GIF! Animated GIFs are those cute little animations that you’ve probably seen in your friend’s social media post – Chris Pratt getting a happy look on his face, a row of ducks going down on a slide, and so forth. They are fun and some of them are very clever. Along with the meme of the moment, animated GIFs can find their way onto forums, email signatures, Facebook, websites and any other platform that supports .gif files. If you want to save animated GIFs to your computer and use them online, here’s how.

What’s in a GIF?

First off, just what is a GIF? GIFs (pronounced with a hard G no matter what anybody tells you) are files in a graphics format that has been around for more than 30 years. GIF is an 8-bit format that supports up to 256 colors using 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 to create the animation. This animation loops continuously to provide the effect.

Save animated GIFs to your computer

If you see a GIF online that you like and decide that you want to keep it, you can download the GIF to your computer or phone just as you would download an image file. In most desktop browsers, you can simply right click an animated GIF and select “Save image as…” Select the location and keep the format as .gif. This will download a copy of that GIF to your computer for you to use anywhere.

As .gif files are self-contained, they can be saved, uploaded, embedded in emails that use HTML, used in blog posts, on web pages or wherever you like. Pretty much every online platform today supports them.

How to create animated GIFs

Creating your own animated GIFs is actually pretty straightforward. An animated GIF is a series of static images played back just like a cartoon. To create an animated GIF you need to create that series of images in 8-bit, 256 colors and combine them into an animation.

You can use an online tool such as Giphy to create animated GIFs, or you can use Photoshop or other image editor. Adobe has a good guide to creating animated GIFs on its website. This link focuses on Photoshop, of course, but the principles are the same whatever graphics program you use.

Use animated GIFs in WordPress

WordPress is most popular blogging platform in the world, powering millions of websites – so it’s a good place to check that your GIF is working. Some WordPress installations will show the first image but not the animation.

  1. Select Add Media in the post or page you want the GIF to feature.
  2. Select Full Size in the left of the media window unless your GIF is huge.
  3. Select Insert into post.
  4. Check that the animation plays in the post window. Then select Preview above Publish to check that the animation will play.

Use animated GIFs on Facebook

Facebook is full of images and GIFs play a significant part in that number. Some are funny, some are clever and some are just dumb. Either way, here’s how to use animated GIFs on your Facebook page.

There was a time when Facebook didn’t play nicely with GIFs, and you had to host them somewhere else. Fortunately those days are gone, and now you can directly upload your GIFs to Facebook just as you can everywhere else.

Got any neat tips or tricks to use GIFs? Share them with us in the comments!

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