How to Create an Animated GIF from a Screen Recording on Mac & Windows

George Tinari

Animated GIFs are all over the Internet and social media these days, yet most people really don’t know how to make one. If you do know how to properly make one you probably realize it’s actually not all that easy, especially when using complex applications like Photoshop. (Of course, iPhone 6s Live Photos does make the process a little less tedious.)

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Here’s how to save animated GIFs in seconds using anything on your screen | Shutterstock

One solution to this problem is to just use an application that records what’s on your computer screen and saves the footage as an animated GIF. This means you’d be able to convert anything from computer tutorials to moving videos into GIFs, so there’s no need to manually convert videos to animated GIF frames.

A free app for Windows or Mac called LICEcap can help out with this tremendously.

Turn Screen Recordings Into Animated GIFs

First, download the free LICEcap application. Do that by visiting the Cockos Incorporated website and scrolling until you get to the download links for either Windows or OS X.

Once you install the program, launch it to find that it looks like an odd, transparent window. Sure enough, that’s for a reason. Whatever is inside of that window is what LICEcap will capture and turn into an animated GIF.

Before you get started recording, explore some of the options you can edit ahead of time. At the bottom of the window you can edit the pixel dimensions of the recording as well as the maximum FPS, or frames per second. This determines how smoothly the GIF will play back.

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Tip: Dragging the corner of the window to resize it will automatically alter the pixel dimensions to the new size of the window.

When you’re ready, click Record… to finalize some settings before the recording begins. In the dialog window you can choose the file name and save location ahead of time as well as other options like displaying the title frame or mouse clicks. You can also have the app automatically stop recording after a certain number of seconds, which you can enable toward the bottom of the window.

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When you click Save, LICEcap will automatically begin recording the desired area after a three-second preroll. It’s an odd UI choice, so brace yourself for it to quickly start. Click Pause during if you want to stop briefly or rearrange the position of the window. Otherwise, when the recording is finished, click Stop.

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Just like that, in the save location you should see a new animated GIF of exactly what you recorded on screen. Check out the creation courtesy of Guiding Tech’s YouTube channel.

Also See
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George Tinari

Written By

George Tinari

George Tinari has written about technology for over seven years: guides, how-tos, news, reviews and more. He's usually sitting in front of his laptop, eating, listening to music or singing along loudly to said music. You can also follow him on Twitter @gtinari if you need more complaints and sarcasm in your timeline.