Animated GIFs are a great alternative to Flash movies if you don't know Macromedia Flash or you do not want a Flash website. Alternatively, there may simply be browsing a website and see a picture of a dancing cat, a singing teapot, etc. that makes you smile and you'd like to save it to look at later. While the process is fairly simple, it is good to understand the process or else your graphic may not save properly. Follow these steps and you'll be able to enjoy your new picture!
- Make sure that the image isn't copyrighted. Most images you likely will not be able to use for commercial use. However, there will be some that you can legally download if you just want to look at them every once in awhile. In general, look for words like "royalty free" in connection with images. If you are unsure, don't be afraid to e-mail the website owner, who will probably give you permission to download it for personal use, and perhaps even for commercial use as well. Be specific as to how you plan on using the graphic - if you state your purpose specifically, you are more likely to be granted permission.
- Make sure you have the size image you want. Sometimes a graphic is available in multiple sizes if it is a graphics library.
- Once you have the image you want in the size you want, put your mouse cursor over the image. If you are using a Macintosh computer, go to Step 4. If you are using a Windows-based PC, the go to Step 5.
- On your Mac, keep pressing on the mouse button until you get a menu that gives you the option to "Save As." From there, you can choose what you want to name the animated GIF, and to where to save it. You're all set!
- On a Windows based PC, move your cursor over the image, and press the right mouse button. A menu will pop up and you will see an option to "Save Picture As." Press this option, type in the name you want to call the graphic, and press "Save," like you would any other file. Be sure to save it to a place where you can find it later - endless graphics can get lost in random folders if you don't save it to a folder you'll remember, such as "My Pictures."
- To view the animated GIF, open it up in your web browser. If you open it in a graphics program, it will only show the first "frame" and won't be animated. To view the animation, open your web browser, then under "File," click on "Open" and then "Browse." Find your file and click "OK." It will then load your animated GIF.
That's it! Enjoy your graphic!