The word “GIF” was named the 2012 Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year.
GIFs have only grown in popularity since then.
Many people use GIFs to spread humor and waste time on social media.
But there are MANY more uses for GIFs, from product demos to how-to guides that help to increase productivity.
We’ll show you why you should use GIFs with your team, and then give you recommendations on the best GIF creation software available in 2020.
But first, let’s explain exactly what GIFs are.
What Are GIFs?
GIF stands for Graphical Interchange Format and was invented in 1987 by Steve Wilhite, a software programmer from the US who wanted a way to animate images in the smallest file size possible. Steve invented GIFs while working for CompuServe, "the oldest of the Big Three information services.”
GIFs are so old, they predate the World Wide Web.
As a quick aside, there’s been a long-heated debate about whether you pronounce GIF as “gif” or “jif.”
The creator of the GIF has officially clarified that it’s pronounced “jif.”
GIFs are simply a series of images that loop continuously without requiring you to press play.
GIFs are instantly recognizable and feel familiar, like the chorus of a favorite song, playing again and again.
The GIF file format could be used to make still images, like JPEG or PNG, but where’s the fun in that?
GIFs are the internet’s version of flipbooks.
Soundless images repeating itself forever.
And there are many good reasons why you and your team should be using them.
Why Use GIFs?
The average GIF file is 2-5 seconds in length, allowing you to communicate concepts and ideas extremely fast - making them better than pictures and cheaper than videos.
This also makes them easily shareable for leaving a GIF at the end of a customer service message, inspiring your team, or showing an employee how to perform a certain task.
GIFs are fun.
They bring levity and humor into places that may be devoid of both. Team slack chats are so much more enjoyable thanks to GIFs. And fun can increase productivity.
GIFs show off products in dynamic ways.
They can capture details and highlight functions that pictures can’t. For example, a photo of an iPhone camera lens isn’t as powerful as seeing someone demonstrate how simple it is to use.
GIFs are also great for providing visual instructions. Tutorials, recipes, and step-by-step walkthroughs can instruct users, customers, and team members on how to perform something correctly.
GIFs are also mobile-friendly. No matter why you’re using GIFs, your intended audience can watch them on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device.
GIFs can be sent and displayed virtually anywhere. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr thrive on GIFs. Communication tools like Slack and Yammer accept GIFs. And, of course, the original communication tool on the internet, email, sees GIFs used all the time.
The Best GIF Creation Software in 2020
Since GIFs are so popular, and demand for creating and spreading them never ceases, dozens and dozens of GIF creation software exist to help you whip up your own.
The following list is only a small portion of what’s out there, but we made sure to choose some of the best options available. Whichever you choose to use, you’ll have a tool with all the functionality you need.
So let’s dive into the best GIF creation software in 2020!
CloudApp is known for being one of the best screen recording software options available, and it’s this feature that enables CloudApp to create a GIF out of anything on your screen.
You can freely download CloudApp and start creating GIFs instantly and save them to the cloud or your own device.
This type of GIF creator is ideal for teams who want to create how-to videos and walk team members through a process or put on a demonstration.
To use the GIF function, simply click on the CloudApp icon and select the GIF icon (or the TV icon) depending on how long you’d like your GIF to be and the quality you prefer.
You can also use a hotkey combination.
For Mac: Cmd+Shift+6.
For Windows: Alt+Shift+6.
Recordings under 30 seconds long make perfect GIFs, while recordings over 30 seconds long are better recorded with HD video.
Plus, CloudApp lets you quickly share your GIF by dragging and dropping it into emails or social media sites or your own internal working platforms.
If you want to make high-quality GIFs for increasing productivity completely free, then CloudApp should be at the top of your list.
Giffing Tool bills itself “the fastest creators of high quality captioned GIFs available.”
We doubt anyone has tested this claim, but you won’t need to after using the Giffing tool. Its ease of use and the speed with which it creates GIFs really is impressive.
Once installed, Giffing Tool lets you drag it across your screen to record movies, YouTube videos, and even other GIFs.
Once recorded, you can resize the GIF and change the playback speed. Giffing Tool automatically applies optimizations to your GIF that mask repeating pixels and take out repeating colors to reduce the file size without sacrificing quality.
It has many good features and has undergone at least 23 updates since it launched. It only takes 2 clicks to start recording. You can customize the frame rate, hotkeys, and cursor. Cut, copy, and reverse frames.
It lets you upload directly to Imgur - one of the biggest image sharing sites on the web.
And you can add a caption to your GIF anywhere, in any size font or color, at any time during the animation.
Plus, Giffing Tool operates on a pay-what-you-want model, so it’s inexpensive and very effective.
Make A GIF
Make A GIF lets you create your own GIFs but they go a step further and allow you to store all of your GIFs within your Make A GIF account.
Once you sign up for a free account, you’ll have access to the GIF maker and storage file.
Make A GIF lets you convert:
- Pictures to GIF
- YouTube to GIF
- Facebook to GIF
- Videos to GIF
- Webcam to GIF
- Upload to GIF
That’s a lot of options for making GIFs - maybe the most out of the GIF creation software listed.
Using the GIF maker is very simple.
If you’re making a GIF from images, all you have to do is drag-and-drop photos. The particular order doesn’t matter because you can easily rearrange them. The images can also be resized and the speed custom set.
For videos, all you have to do is set the point where the GIF starts and how many seconds it should run.
It does include a captioning tool to add text on top of your GIF but unfortunately, you can’t preview the caption until you make the GIF, and you won’t be able to change the way Make A GIF displays the text.
After creating your GIF, you can make it public, private, or unlisted - giving you full control over your GIFs.
Imgflip is another easy-to-use GIF creator that lets you turn video files, Youtube videos, video websites, images, pictures and even other GIFs into new GIFs.
There’s nothing to download. The GIF maker is online and free.
Like Make A GIF, Imgflip gives you a free account that stores all the GIFs you make. They’re automatically public, but you can make them private.
It includes the important GIF-creation features:
- Enabling sound
- Enabling motion of text and images
Plus many more advanced features.
However, some of the features are only available with a Pro account, such as enabling sound. GIFs make with a free account also include an Imgflip.com watermark. It’s small and hardly noticeable, but it’s there.
Besides that, this is excellent GIF creation software you should consider using.
ezGIF lets you instantly create high-quality animated GIFs without watermarks or attribution, letting anyone freely create without limits.
You can upload a sequence of JPG, PNG, GIF files and many others. You can even mix and match file formats and sizes. ezGIF will automatically convert them.
Just upload your chosen images and adjust speed, frame order, resize the GIF, or crop and optimize it. By default, the frames are sorted in alphabetical order by filename but can be rearranged inside the GIF animator.
Setting the speed of the GIF is done by setting a “delay time.” You can create fading transitions between images.
And you can create GIFs out of videos, not just images.
You can upload a video from your computer or some other source or URL. ezGIF lets you select the start and end time and the part of the video you want cut out. If you select nothing, ezGIF will automatically make a GIF out of the first five seconds.
ezGIF really is one of the easiest GIF creation software options available.
The Best GIF Creation Software for Productive Teams
GIFs have helped us increase our productivity and complete tasks up to 300% faster.
Customers are helped faster.
Team members are briefed more quickly.
And time spent answering questions is slashed.
We created CloudApp because we believe fast and easy collaboration is a great thing, not only for your bottom line, but for your company culture as well.
That’s why, in addition to our GIF tool, we bring HD screen and webcam recording, screenshots and annotations to the cloud in an easy-to-use, enterprise-grade app so you can quickly create and share visual content.
CloudApp has been ranked by G2 Crowd as one of the top sales enablement tools and we continue to help companies improve communication with one of the easiest-to-use visual content tools available.