GIF File Extension – What is a .gif File, and How to Open It?

Would you like to know what a .gif file is and how to open it? The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a lossless image file format that supports both animated and static images.

This format was the norm for 8-bit color images on the internet until PNGs became a viable alternative. You may have seen them used in many email signatures over the years.

GIF Animations consist of several frames or images combined into one file. They are displayed sequentially with varying frame rates to form brief animations with a small file size.

In addition to ending on the last frame by default, GIFs are increasingly being seen looped. Many applications use GIFs to express emotions, including blogs, social media, and instant messaging.

This article will explain a GIF file, how to open it, convert it, edit it, make your GIF, post it on Facebook, and put it into Google Slides.

What Is a GIF?

A file that uses the GIF extension is known as a Graphical Interchange Format file. The term “GIF” refers to a small image file commonly used by people to create animated images they can share on social networking sites. However, a GIF can also be used to display large files.

It is possible to create still images in the GIF format, similar to those produced by JPEGs and PNGs. However, a unique feature of the GIF format allows for creating animated images.

The GIF format is not comparable to a video; it is more like a flipbook. One is that they do not have sound. Another is that the GIF format was not created for animations; that is how things turned out.

In files with .gif extension, multiple pictures can be stored at once, and it becomes apparent that these pictures could be displayed sequentially if they are decoded in a specific manner.

CompuServe published GIF in 1987, and its last update occurred in 1989. GeoCities websites, MySpace pages, and email chains were all influenced by it. It remains a crucial part of the Internet culture today. There may be more incredible popularity for the GIF format than ever before.

How to Open a GIF File?

It is common to see GIFs on the Internet used for sharing video clips, even though they do not contain audio data.

They are used daily on websites for displaying animated objects such as buttons and headers. Due to their lossless format, the image quality does not degrade when compressed with GIF.

A web browser on almost every operating system can open an online GIF without additional software; there is no need to install anything else.

Using the Open menu or possibly dragging and dropping local GIFs into the browser window, you can open local GIFs.

In contrast, despite their ability to technically open and display GIF files, other applications, such as Photoshop, do not display them as you would expect.

Each file frame is instead opened as a separate layer in Photoshop. Although this software is handy for editing GIFs, it is not as helpful in playing/viewing them quickly as a web browser would provide.

Besides a primary web browser, Windows’ default graphics viewer, Photos, is probably the easiest way to open graphics in the operating system.

There are also several programs available for Windows that can open GIF files, including Adobe Photoshop Elements and Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Corel Paint Shop Pro, and Canvas.

Apple Preview, Safari, and Adobe programs can enable you to view GIF files on macOS. For Linux users, GIMP is recommended, while iOS and Android users and desktop users can view GIF files using Google Drive.

GIFs are sometimes openable through the default photo applications of mobile devices. Depending on how old your device is and how up-to-date the software is, most of them can download and display GIF files without needing to install any additional applications.

How to Convert a GIF File?

An online GIF file converter is the easiest way to convert a GIF file to another format. Consequently, you will not have to download a program if you wish to convert a few GIFs.

The site FileZigZag provides a beneficial service to convert GIFs into image formats such as JPG, PNG, TGA, and TIFF, as well as video formats such as MP4, MOV, AVI, and 3GP. It is possible to convert GIFs online using Zamzar as well.

Follow these steps to use FileZigZag:

  1. Go to FileZigZag.
  2. Click the Browse for Files button to select your GIF file, or drag and drop it.
Click on the Browse for Files button to select your GIF file

  1. Select your file format.
  2. Click on the Start Converting button.
Select your file format, click on the Start Converting button

Follow these steps to use Zamzar:

  1. Click on the Choose Files button to select your GIF file.
  2. Click on the Convert To button to select your file format.
  3. Click on the Convert Now button to convert the file.
Click on the Choose Files button, click on the Convert To button, and click on the Convert Now button

Alternatively, you may be able to save the file in a different format using the GIF viewers mentioned above.

There is a good chance that most of these programs are image editors, so if you can edit the GIF and save it as a video or image, you may be able to do so. Almost all converters are capable of converting images or videos into GIFs.

How to Make Your GIF?

GIFs must begin with a video, regardless of how they are generated, unless they are created entirely from scratch.

There is no problem with using a video that you have saved on your phone or that you have retrieved from YouTube; the choice is yours.

There is no limit to the length of this video; it can be as long or as short as you please. Your chosen GIF-making platform will provide you with the necessary tools to trim the video and create an effective GIF. Additionally, you may add text and effects if you wish.

GIFs can be easily created using these platforms:

GIF-Making Websites

You can create GIF files with several websites, but Imgur, Gifycat, or GIPHY’s video-to-GIF websites are recommended since they are easy to use and produce a video that is technically superior to an actual GIF.

GIF creator allows you to upload a video or to provide a link to a video on YouTube or Vimeo. Following that, you are given the option to trim and customize the GIF.

Using an App

Several apps can be used to create GIFs on the go. The two most commonly used applications are GIPHY CAM and GIF Maker.

Using the GIF maker, you can drop your video into the box and trim it to meet your needs. You can also make GIFs using the Google Gboard app for Android and iOS.

Using a Digital Art Software

Some software applications allow you to create GIFs, such as Photoshop, GIMP, and Sketchbook, but the process is similar.

This is a good option if you want great control over the GIF. You should, however, keep in mind that HTML5 videos, such as those produced by Gifycat, are much more pleasing to the eye than regular GIFs.

You should use a website to make GIFs to avoid headaches or disappointments. You have the option of copying a link to your GIF and posting it around the web via the website for creating GIFs.

How To Edit a GIF File?

You can use the free online tool to open the GIF you wish to modify in the GIF Maker. You can then rearrange the order of the images, skip the images you do not want to include, resize the GIF file, and so forth.

How To Post a GIF on Facebook?

Follow these steps to post GIFs on Facebook:

  1. Create a new post on Facebook.
  2. Go to the Add to Your Post section.
  3. Select the More icon.
  4. Choose GIF.
  5. Add a GIF to your new post by selecting one of the offerings or using the search bar.

How To Put a GIF into Google Slides?

Follow these steps to put a GIF into Google Slides:

  1. Select the Insert option.
  2. Choose the Image option.
  3. Upload the file from your computer or search the web for a suitable GIF.

When you have found the GIF you wish to use and inserted it into your presentation, you can adjust its size and position.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will answer frequently asked questions on the topic to help you find out the solutions:

What does GIF stand for?

The GIF format is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format.

When was the GIF created?

It was developed by Steve Wilhite, the first primary commercial provider of online services in the United States, on June 15, 1987.


This article has explained a GIF file, how to open it, convert it, edit it, make your GIF, post a GIF on Facebook, and put a GIF into Google Slides.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you have any questions or comments, please enter them in the comments section.

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