GIF image files are commonly used on the web to display graphics and logos. They also support basic animation, which means they’re a popular file format for memes on social media sites. Learn more about the key features of a GIF file, how to create one, and the advantages and disadvantages of the GIF format.
What is a GIF file?
You’ll likely see GIF files every time you check your social media feeds. But what does GIF mean, and how do these files work?
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. GIF is a raster file format designed for relatively basic images that appear mainly on the internet. Each file can support up to 8 bits per pixel and can contain 256 indexed colors. GIF files also allow images or frames to be combined, creating basic animations.
These files use the .gif extension and can be opened in a wide range of programs.
What are GIF files used for?
The Graphics Interchange Format is designed to display simple images and animations. But what is a GIF used for specifically?
How to open a GIF file.
Opening GIF files is straightforward on a Mac or Windows computer. Simply search for the file name and double-click on it when it appears. Then, choose compatible software, such as Adobe Photoshop. Just click on your preferred program. GIFs have wide compatibility — they can be opened through most major image and video editing programs.
GIFs are also easy to open through web-based browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. In the case of Internet Explorer, simply click on the File menu and then Open. Select Browse followed by All Files. Click on the GIF file name and then Open.
How to create and edit a GIF file.
Follow these easy steps to create and edit an animated GIF using Adobe Photoshop:
- Upload the images you want to use in your GIF to Photoshop by heading to File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack.
- Click on Create Frame Animation.
- Click on Make Frames From Layers in the Timeline panel.
- Choose the Repeat menu in the Timeline panel and select Forever.
- Simply hit Play at the bottom of the Timeline panel to preview your animation.
- To share, head to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy).