A GIF is a type of digital file created in 1987 in order to reduce the file size of images and short animations. GIFs are widely used because of their lossless, compressed format. They are commonly animated and include several images combined into a single file. GIFs are used mainly as reactions in online messaging to convey emotion and feelings instead of words.

Gif of a Jeopardy contestant answering "What is a gif?"

What does GIF stand for? 

GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format”. This was the first image format to be widely supported by web browsers. The graphics interchange format remains popular despite the introduction of newer formats.

Why use GIFs? 

GIFs are seen nearly everywhere. They can be used on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and elsewhere to make your content more compelling. Use GIFs on social media to improve engagement, or use GIFS to educate your audience by illustrating process steps–acting as a how-to guide on a subject. GIFs are ideal for scenarios where a short visual message is preferred.

When should you use a GIF? 

When you’re assisting a customer

When adding personality to your channel

When educating your audience about a product

When you’re building excitement

When you’re having fun

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How to create a GIF

The pronunciation of the word GIF may be heavily debated, but its popularity isn’t. Use GIFs to grab your audience’s attention and boost engagement. Here are some tools you can use to start creating your own:

  • Giphy: One of the most popular sites to make a GIF  is Giphy. Not only does it host millions of GIFs, but its GIF Maker is easy to upload video content and create a looped video. Store all your GIFs on your account or easily make one without logging in and sharing.
  • This tool also has a resizing feature connected.
  • Imgflip: This tool’s simple interface is perfect for beginners.
  • Makeagif: This tool is fast, simple and has the option to add stickers on your GIF.
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