How to make a GIF from a YouTube video

You’ve been watching the best YouTube video ever, and you want to turn your favorite part into a funny GIF to share with friends. Or maybe you just want a new GIF so that you can react to your favorite tweets online. 

No matter your reason, making a GIF is easier than it looks. Here is how you can turn a few seconds from a YouTube video into a high-quality GIF file.

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In this guide, we’ll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with some simple online tools. Each of the tools featured does the job well and is simple enough that we’ll have you making GIFs in just a few minutes.

Use GIFs.com for great customization

Step 1: Find the YouTube video that you want to turn into a GIF (perhaps a NASA archive?) and copy its URL.

Step 2: Navigate to GIFs.com. Paste your chosen YouTube URL into the white box on the left side of the page (double-check that you copied the whole link so this will work). It should automatically detect it. You can also upload your own videos to the site by clicking the Drag & Drop or Select File button.

Gifs.com copy paste YouTube URL screenshot
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Step 3: If your image features an ad in the lower-left corner, 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 like, but remember the longer the animation, the bigger the file size. Some places where you want to share the GIF might put a limit on the size. Twitter, for example, has a GIF limit of 5MB on mobile devices, and 15MB on desktop — although 15MB is considered very, very large for a GIF.

Next, add some effects, a caption, or a sticker if you want. You can also crop the image, as well as add other effects like blurring, padding, and other effects that may fit your new meme or just make the image easier to watch. When you’re satisfied, click Create Gif in the top right-hand corner.

Gifs.com Create Gif button screenshot
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It may take some time to create the image, especially if you’re creating a long GIF, so be patient.

Step 4: The next page asks that you confirm the GIF’s title, as well as select any tags you want it to have. Click Next when you’re done setting your preferences.

Step 5: The final page will give you options for downloading, embedding, or sharing your newly created GIF. You’re also given a preview to see what it looks like. If you would like to remove the watermark in the corner you can, but it will mean signing up to the premium service, which starts from $2 a month, and it’s not something you need to do for casual GIF creation. To download your GIFs, hit the Download button.

Use Giphy for high-speed results

Another popular online GIF making service is Giphy. It supports YouTube and Vimeo links, as well as manually created GIFs from photos. It also has a host of different options for customizing your GIF, adding captions, and other elements to make it just how you want.

Step 1: Copy the YouTube URL you want to make a GIF from and navigate to Giphy.com’s GIF maker.

Step 2: Paste your YouTube URL into the input box at the base of the page. As you can see, you can also upload videos or GIFs of your own to work with. You will be prompted to log in to a Giphy account and won’t be able to make GIFs on this site without it.

Step 3: Choose the start time and duration of your GIF and click the Continue to Decorate button.

Step 4: Add a caption if you wish, as well as any stickers of drawn overlays. When satisfied, click the Continue to Upload button.

Step 5: Wait for the GIF to be created. If it’s long, it may take a few minutes. When fully created, click the Upload to GIPHY button to publish it.

Step 6: You can now use the available links to download your new GIF, copy it, embed it on a website, and more!

You worked hard to create this awesome GIF—so, the next natural step is to share it on social media for all your friends and family to enjoy. Sometimes things can get a little funky when it comes to sharing various media, so check out our articles on posting GIFs on Instagram and uploading them to Facebook if you run into difficulties.

Download Gifit! for long-term work

GifIt extension screenshot
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Tools like GIPHY are a great solution for making the occasional animated GIF. If you need to convert videos on a regular basis, we have a better solution.  GIFit! is a free, downloadable extension that can make the whole process a lot easier. After a quick installation, you can create your animated GIFs in a flash.

Activating the extension will cause a GIFit! button to appear at the bottom of the frame for any YouTube video you browse to. When you find the perfect video for your application, just click the button. You’ll be able to specify what area of the video timeline you want to convert to a GIF. You can also modify the file size and quality, then let GIFit! do the rest.

The GIFit! extension is only supported by the popular Google Chrome browser. If you haven’t given Chrome a try, GIFit! is the perfect reason to take the plunge. Keep in mind, this extension may not work with YouTube videos that “use the Flash player by force.”

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