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 are 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.

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 which 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.

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. If you’re not signed up for a free Gifs.com account, you’ll be prompted to sign up for one in order to download your GIFs.

gifs.com screenshot of final step in process
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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 into 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!

Now that you’ve created a great GIF that you’re incredibly proud of, it’s probably time to share it with your friends. But will the GIF work in your chosen social medium? If you’re worried, we can help! Here’s how to post GIFs on Instagram, and here’s how to upload them to Facebook.

Download Gifit! for long-term work

GifIt extension screenshot
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If you need YouTube GIFs fast and you need them frequently, there’s an extension we recommend too. It’s called GIFit! and once installed, you can create and save GIFs in seconds. It will add a GIFit! button to the bottom of the YouTube videos you watch. Then you can simply navigate to the YouTube video that you want to use and select the button. Then you pick the times in the video you want to turn into a GIF, select size and quality, and the tool will do the rest!

It is worth noting however, that the GIFit! extension appears to only be available for use in the Google Chrome browser, and so you’ll need that browser to use it. And according to the GIFit! Chrome Web Store extension page, this extension may not work with YouTube videos that “use the Flash player by force.”

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