Best Free Animated GIF Maker



A picture is worth a thousand words. If this is true for an ordinary static picture then what about a picture that contains motion or animation? An animation has far greater impact than an ordinary picture. It offers many more possibilities to creators/artists, enabling them to convey greater meaning to users. An animated format can also hold a lot more content which is almost impossible for a normal static image.

Animated Newton's Cradle

There are a lot of image file formats but only three are popular and widely used on the web. These are JPG,PNG and GIF formats. Among these three formats, GIF is the only file type that supports animation.

A GIF file can contain a single image, but to animate an image it will need at least two or more images/frames combined, which can then be displayed for a few milliseconds successively and called as GIF animation.

A GIF animator program makes this process much easier. It usually takes only three easy steps, choosing a couple of images, putting them in desired sequence and setting frame rate, looping and other settings. The result is combined into one GIF animation file.

On the right is an animated GIF image of Newton's Cradle, comprising 36 frames and each showing up for about 2 to 5 milliseconds. It's certainly more impressive than a static image if motions are needed to convey more vivid messages to readers.

From the selection of GIF animators covered in this review, everyone should find something suitable to create their own animated images.


GIF Animator for Photos or Images


The GIF editor included in the suite impressed me with its clear interface, ease of use, intuition and good features

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Better interface, ease of use, adjustable canvass size, background colour, photo alignment, auto transition effects, supports for importing various formats.
Bundled with OpenCandy (see information link in review text). Might be an overkill to download a large program if you just need a standalone GIF animator.
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One of the most complete standalone gif makers with clean user interface.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
Clean interface, user friendly, easy to use, adjustable canvas size, auto transition effects, support various formats and video to gif conversion is possible.
Takes time in extracting frames from video, Development has been stopped.
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Offers a very simple set of functions for light and simple gif animations.

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Easy to use, clean and simple interface, small installer size.
User interface is small and non-adjustable, Very limited functions, no user control over output.
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A small gif maker with a very flexible and adjustable graphical user interface.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
No installation required, user interface is adjustable, download size is very small, Can add multiple images at once, user can change images position by dragging, preview function available.
Very less features, output is very basic, take time for loading big size images or large number of images.
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Microsoft GIF Animator  

A basic and portable GIF animator from Microsoft in a small user interface.

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Drag and drop multiple GIF files, looping and repeat, set delay duration to each frame, re-order frames, undraw method, transparency and more.
Rather small user interface, Microsoft discontinued its development.
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SSuite Gif Animator  

A simple gif animator, movie and slide show creator.

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Simple and clean GUI, Small installer size, individual time intervals for each image.
Supports only jpg, jpeg, png and bmp images. Very limited functions. User have only control over frame speed in output.
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Stick Figure Animator

And for a great deal of fun, try Pivot Stickfigure Animator, a simple stick figure animation program for you to create an animated GIF by moving sections of the standard stick figure. See this article A Free Animation Utility That can be Used by the Non-Artistic by Gizmo for more details.


Online GIF Animators

There are various online services available which allow users to make gifs by uploading picture files from computer or by linking from internet. The main problem with almost every online service is various limitations, watermarks and privacy; some support no watermarks and private output but not all. It is almost impossible to list them all, but here are some which I was able to find and test. (Please read their TOS before trying them.)

  • GifPalIt limits the number of images you can upload to 24 for a gif. It is an advance tool with many custom options. You have to select and add every image separately with or without customising it. You can add effects, like charcoal, ripples, thermal, halftone, Warhol and many more; control brightness, contrast, hue and saturation of any or all images; add text, fill to gif and add various shapes in any colour you like; and control over file quality/size and watermark. Gifpal also gives you full control over output file privacy, ability to download it to your computer or save it online for access with a link or publish it in your public gallery. It gives you full control over gif files that are highly customisable. Overall it is as good as 9 on a scale of 10.
  • Picasion - It limits the number of images you can upload to 10. You have to select every image separately but it gives you custom options like control over size and speed of each frame. The good news is it does not impose any watermark on a gif produced and it also gives user control over file privacy. Although it lacks various options for making a good gif but still is one of the best online services for making a gif. Overall it is as good as 8 on a scale of 10.
  • MakeaGifIt limits the number of images you can upload to 20 but you can select them simultaneously which is a good feature. You can easily arrange these pictures after uploading as it supports drag and drop feature. You have control over frame speed and size of a gif, and can also choose to make it private or public. It also supports making gifs from various sources and file types like videos, youtube urls, webcams and other gifs too besides pictures from your computer. It imposes a small watermark on the output gif even though gif quality is very good. Overall it is as good as 7 on a scale of 10.
  • Gickr - It limits the number of images to 10, and you have to select each image separately. It gives you very limited custom options like control over size and speed. It imposes a watermark on every gif. It lacks many important features to make gifs more interesting. Overall it is as good as 5 on a scale of 10.


Other GIF Animators

These are some GIF animator programs or online apps or related products which were brought up in the comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing them here with brief descriptions and relevant links for ease of reference.

  • UnFreez is a small program for creating animated GIF files but is short of more advanced features.
  • Gimp a free software raster graphics editor good for image editing and retouching. Using this as an animator requires you to go through a steep learning curve; think of every layer as an animation frame.
  • GifMaker is a online app which user can use to create a gif animation.
  • Stykz is a multi-platform stick figure gif animator program, like Pivot Stickfigure Animator.


Related Products and Links



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i'm searching for a easy way to turn my normal picture into a GIF image with a cool effect ! so what editor has layouts tha spinn or have effects how can something this simple be so hard to find ? i hope you guys know something i can use for this !

Hi! I read through the products...and er, wondering if there is any features that you didn't list that includes animating by dragging the mouse around while the program records your movements?

Like, you drew a happy face, then select happy face, and press record, and you move the happy face around with your mouse to make it dance. then hit Stop Recording and you can play back the animation.

Do any of the programs you listed do that? Yeah I saw the features listed, but maybe it wasn't important enough to mention? Just checking :D

Because I've been searching for the past 2 days looking for such a program. I remember I had such a program many many years ago (when I was using the new Windows XP system). For the life of me, I can't remember the name or what the interface looked like.

It may not even be an animated gif program. I'm desperately going around the internet asking people now. Thanks if you or any of the users here know of a program that can do this type of mouse-recorded animation! :)

Hi Shan, What you are looking for is not a animation program but a screen capturing utility, a screen capturing utility can capture dancing smiling face dragged by mouse. But, as per my knowledge it is not possible with gif animators, if in case i am wrong please correct me, as i love to know this. ;) But if you are looking for something similar to this(i created this as an example): I created this with the help of: 1. A screen session recorder and 2. A Paint program you can also create something similar with the help of these or similar products, Please refer to our Best Free Paint Program( and Best Free Screen Session Recorder( sections. If you need further help, you can drop a reply here or post a topic in our forum ( ----- Sahil :)

Gif Ap works ... PhotoScape comes with a bunch of unwanted software ... MIcrosoft Gif Animator appears to only read already made gifs and opens them up but does not create new gifs.

Different from your finding chefleez, Microsoft GIF Animator did allow for creating, editing and saving as new animated gif files with no issue as I tested it on Windows 7.

Sorry my previous comment had some text missing. GifAnimator worked fine. MicrosoftsGifAnimator only opened existing gifs I could not see how to create a new on with Microsoft gif animator.

Thanx for bringing this to my atention.

You're welcome chefleez. You will need to have individual gif files ready for input to Microsoft GIF Animator, which shall then combine them and save as a new animated gif file. If you have image files in other formats, try some free products suggested at Best Free Digital Image Editor to convert them to gif formats before using Microsoft GIF Animator. I hope I've got your point right.
thanks jojo ;)

MS GIF Animator comes from Softronic which includes this in their EULA:

"In addition, a toolbar will be offered, and it shall change the User’s home page, default search settings and 404 error traffic, in the event the User selects such options."

The install option is set by default to install and includes this paragraph:

"By choosing to install and automatically enable the appbario19 Toolbar and SearchProtect in your web browser and set the search features you agree to these products’ terms, license agreements, and privacy policies. I also agree to the Value Apps terms and privacy policies, which may include third-party apps that may access, collect, and use your personal data, including your IP address and the address and content of web pages you visit. By clicking Next you accept the legal terms and the privacy policy of SpeedTest 137, which places a shortcut"

Thanks for the alert. Have now changed the download site for the product :).
Thanks anupam.
My pleasure :).

I have done both computer hardware and software design since 1985. Owning my own computer company for a couple decades has filled my retirement years with opportunities to work for the greater good in computers which is all done free of charge. I'm looking for some animation software which is not to expensive where I can make minor changes to photos and create gif animation files. I could use my Adobe Account to get what I need but I've given them enough over the years. I did 10 solid years in software design so I might have time to work on projects here but my community service work comes first. I need no income, life has been good to me. I'm not saying I won't help but I'm not looking for a job either.

I had no idea what to write here so I just like it is.


Hi Anupam, thanks for the input..:)
My pleasure :).

A good one is Gifcam:

Can record frames and allow you to edit frame by frame, record a single area of the screen, record the mouse pointer and more. Its easy and intuitive. In the link above explain very well how to use it. Give it a try!.

hi Fixer_MED, thanks for your input i'll surely give it a try. thanks :)