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How to Make a GIF Quickly, for Free

by Hung Nguyen

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese.

Follow our tutorial to make an animated GIF file within seconds, at no cost, on any operating system.

I love GIFs. I have written hundreds of how-to guides on this blog, and most include an instructional GIF.

These animated images are lighter than video files, portable enough to run on most operating systems, and they’re a lot of fun—GIFs brighten up your content. Many also use them to reference pop culture, emphasize a point, suggest a quote, or simply convey excitement. An image paints a thousand words, so imagine what a collection of stacked up images can do?

What I am surprised about is the number of guides on how to make GIFs online always require users to use a paid software, e.g., Adobe Photoshop , to create. So here we have it: how to create a GIF on your computer, at no cost—first from scratch, second from another video source.

How to Make a GIF From Scratch, for Free

  1. First, you need to record your screen and create the action sequence.

  2. So, open QuickTime Player if you’re on a Mac, or Game Bar if you’re on Windows.

  3. Hit ‘Record,’ capture the screen, and let the action begin.

  4. Once you finish the recording, trim off unwanted bits, and save your video (as an MP4).

  5. Go to Ezgif and convert your video to a GIF.


Come on, how cute is this? GIF rules!

Both Mac and Windows come with two named screen recording software that you can use to create GIFs for free.

On the other hand, Ezgif is an online platform that can help, well, make your GIFs easy. There is an abundance of options that you can use to compress your file size, adjust the frame rate, resize, optimize for a high-quality GIF, and convert MP4 files to GIF.

When you upload a file to import video frames to layers, the online software will also suggest a handful of editing options for you to modify your file before downloading.

There is no usage limitation, so feel free to create multiple images, until you have the perfect animated version of your recording.

Once you finish, you can share your GIF on just about any platform. The images will play automatically, whether you embed it on your blog, or to a post on social media.

How to Make a GIF From a YouTube Video


Technically, you can follow the steps above to record, convert, and save a YouTube video as a GIF, straight from your web browser. It could get tiresome, however, if it is a very lengthy video. Furthermore, ads are also a pain as they play periodically throughout the longer videos online.

There are similar tools to Ezgif for those who wish to convert a YouTube recording to a GIF. If it doesn’ work, you can try to look for an MP4 converter to save the video in MP4 format and then create animated GIFs from the saved video. GIPHY is a popular option.

How to Make a GIF on iPhone


Ezgif is compatible with iPhone (and Android) phones. On iOS, to create a GIF: 1. On your phone, open Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls > add Screen Recording.

  1. Exit Settings, swipe up, hit ‘Screen Recording’ to start.
  2. Start to record after the countdown.
  3. Afterward, convert the video recording to GIF format, with Ezgif.

Tips on Using GIFs


These images are usually saved for web use. Thus, try to reduce the size of your images as much as possible and omit the long loading time. The size of your animation varies depending on whether you use a recording from a digital camera or a compressed video recording.

Regardless, you don’t need expensive software to fix up your GIFs. Almost all GIF makers offer the option for users to adjust the frame animation, with any fees. Choose the size that’s most fitting for your needs.

And if there is ever a need to convert GIFs to other file formats, please check out our arsenal of tools. Smallpdf is the most popular online PDF software, where we can transform your GIF to PPT, Word, Excel, JPG, or PDF—for your convenience.

Check out our homepage, select a suitable tool, and get started for free. No strings attached!

Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen
Senior Growth Marketing Manager