A new version of Snagit is available!

Ways to Use Animated GIFs

Snagit 4

Beyond funny reactions and surprising moments, GIFs have become a great way to share knowledge and information. Snagit helps you make GIFs of your screen captures and other videos.

Do you ever face these challenges when designing content to communicate to your audience?

  • A static images does not demonstrate or convey everything. 
  • Written documentation is often too long. It can also be difficult to describe a concept by words alone. 
  • Videos help to demonstrate your message. However, it can be difficult to capture your viewer’s attention through an entire video. 

Selecting the ideal medium for communicating to your audience can be challenging. When the options above aren’t cutting it, Animated GIFs can be the perfect way to grab users’ attention. 
Animated GIFs are short clips, normally 2-5 seconds in length. They allow viewers to focus on the important action or message in a quick and engaging medium. 

This tutorial provides a list of ways to use Animated GIFs to grab user’s attention and best practices for creating Animated GIFs in Snagit. 

11 Uses for Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs have become an increasingly popular form of visual communication. You now see Animated GIFs appear in advertisements, sports clips, email marketing, DIY demos, and even full sites devoted to using animated GIFs to convey a shared feeling or experience for entertainment value. 

Here’s a list of 11 ways you can incorporate Animated GIFs into your business:  

  1. Demonstrate a step in process documentation.
    Animated GIF showing cutting part of a video
  2. Create continuous motion with looping.
    Animated GIF showing endless looping of animated lines
  3. Report an issue to a support forum or to your IT administrator. 
    Animated GIF showing microsoft word
  4. Record your webcam and send a reaction to a friend or colleague in an instant message, email, or on social media. 
  5. Visualize a process or concept that is difficult to explain in words. 
    Animated GIF showing a key inserted into a lock
  6. Wow with a dramatic before and after comparison such as a timelapse or product comparison. 
    Animated GIF switching between two houses
  7. Record your webcam to provide a virtual tour of a room in a house (home for sale), a preview of the local weather conditions, or a quick tour of your surroundings or your company’s facilities. 
    Animated GIF panning around a living room
  8. Engage users with an animation in the hero on your website. 
  9. Showcase your product or a new feature. 
  10. Include GIFs in an online advertisement or email campaign. 
  11. Add interactivity to an infographic. 

Animated GIFs Best Practices

Consider these tips when creating Animated GIFs:

Limit the amount of motion in the animation. 
Focusing on one subtle movement can have a powerful effect. This technique is ideal for website hero images or advertisements to help trigger a desired feel that a static image simply cannot convey. Locate a frame with only a few elements of movement.   

Keep them short.
In most cases, 2-5 seconds of animation is all you need to capture your viewer’s attention. A short video length produces smaller file sizes which makes it easier to upload and helps with page load time. 

Find visually consistent content to record. 
Look for content that focuses on one subject and does not contain a lot of changes in the animation. 

Limit the number of Animated GIFs per page. 
Animated GIFs can be an effective form of visual communication. Our eyes are drawn to motion. However, placing too many Animated GIFs on one page can be distracting for you audience and take away from your intended goals and message.  Also, lots of motion can cause confusion, complexity, and impact your audience’s comprehension and overall experience. 

When should I choose Animated GIF instead of MP4 video?
Use Animated GIF for: 

  • Short clips.
  • Video content that contains only a few elements of motion. 
  • Content to autoplay or continuously play. 
  • Video quality is not a priority. 
  • Destinations where there are file size restrictions or 3rd-party video hosting or a Flash player is not supported. 

Use MP4 for: 

  • Longer videos.
  • High animation or a lot of variance in the video content.
  • Users to control the playback of the video. 
  • Scenarios when it is important to optimize for video quality. 
  • File size is not a priority. 
  • Destinations that support 3rd-party video hosting or require a Flash player. 

Use Fade to Black to signify the start and end of an action. 
The Fade to Black option adds a transition at the end of the Animated GIF to fade the last frame to black. Use this effect when you want to clearly show viewers the start and the end of the animation. 


Start Here

We cover the essentials in these Getting Started tutorials. Learn the basics in less than 30 minutes!

Reach Higher

Take your Snagit skills to the next level with tutorials that cover advanced capture, editing tools, and more!

TechComm & Training

Get started with video in your training and technical documentation.

10 Ways to Make Better-Looking Visuals for Your Technical Guide

10 Ways to Make Better-Looking Visuals for Your Technical Guide

Learn 10 ways to make better screenshots.

How to Document a Process  with Video

How to Document a Process with Video

Learn how to document any computer process by creating an “off-the-cuff” video tutorial.

Maintain Visual Consistency in Your Documentation

Maintain Visual Consistency in Your Documentation

Learn how to style graphics so that all your visuals reinforce and leverage your brand.

Looking for help with a different version of Snagit?

Snagit Version 13 (Windows)

Snagit 2018