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How to turn any YouTube video into an animated GIF

Animated GIFs have seen a resurgence lately thanks to the astronomical popularity of memes. But did you know that there’s an easy way to make animated GIFs out of your favorite YouTube video? It’s the perfect solution if you’d like to provide a brief preview of a video on your Tumblr or blog rather than just linking to it. Most people would also agree that attention spans are getting shorter, rendering GIFs a great way to capture your reader’s limited attention.

It may seem as though only tech-savvy people can create these, using complex tools like Photoshop, but it’s actually much easier than you would think, especially now that YouTube has rolled out its own on-the-fly GIF creator. Just follow the steps below to capture your favorite YouTube videos as easily sharable GIFs.

Using GIF Maker

Step 1: Navigate to YouTube, and the video you’d like to turn into a GIF.


Step 2: While still on the page housing the YouTube video you want to make into an animated GIF, make a small change to the URL (see the highlighted portion below). Doing this will take you to gifyoutube.com, which is where you’ll be making your GIF. After you add “gif” to the URL, press Enter to head to site. You’ll immediately be redirected to gifs.com — don’t worry, this is the site you want. The YouTube video will also be pre-loaded for your convenience.


Step 3: If your image features a promo ad in the lower-left corner like our example does, be sure to click the “X” to make it disappear (otherwise it will appear in your GIF). Then, click the timeline below the image and select the start and end times for your animated GIF. A blue bar indicates the period that will be used . You can make it as long or as short as you’d like, but remember the longer the animation, the bigger the file size. Some places where you’d like to share the GIF might put a limit on the size , so keep that in mind. When you’re satisfied, click Trim Clip.


Step 4: Next, add some effects, a caption, or sticker if you’d like. You can also crop the image, as well as add other effects. Once you have things the way you’d like them to look, click Create gif to start the creation process. It will take a bit to create the image, especially if you’re creating a long GIF, so be patient.


Step 5: Once created, select where you’d like your GIF to link to in the resulting pop-up window. GIF.com could even work as a promotion method for your videos, if you’d like! Either way, once chosen, you’ll be taken to the finished product. Here, you can download the GIF, embed it, or share it via the avenue of your choice. You can also make additional changes, if you’re still not satisfied with your GIF.


Using YouTube

Up until recently, creating animated GIFs from YouTube videos only worked through a third-party source. However, YouTube — likely as a result of the popularity of these GIFs — rolled out a creation tool of its own. There’s one caveat, however, in that it’s currently only available on a small subset of videos. It’s also unclear how YouTube picks which videos get the option. Either way, you’ll find the option listed as a tab after clicking Share.

Step 1: Navigate to YouTube, and the video you’d like to turn into a GIF.

Step 2: Click Share in the description box. If the video you want has the ability to make a GIF, you’ll see a tab entitled GIF, directly to the right of Email. Select the tab and find the place you want to start the GIF.


Step 3: Enter top or bottom text in the appropriate text field, and click Create GIF. Afterward, you’ll be presented with your GIF, as well as a direct link and embed link.

youtube2gif direct and embed links

It really is that simple. As previously mentioned, however, this feature can be hard to find. Hopefully, YouTube will roll it out for more videos in the future.