Free animated GIFs are plentiful on the Internet, making them easy to find for use to share via email, social media or on your website
(Curious about how GIF animation works? Learn more in this guide to the animated GIF)
But Where to Look?
If you don't want to make your own GIF files, there are plenty of existing animations created by others that have been released for popular re-use and sharing, free of copyright restrictions. These are available in various online GIF libraries.
If you Google "animated GIFs" you'll find a bewildering hodgepodge of sites, including a lot of porn and nastiness. But there are many sites specializing in collecting animations that screen for offensive material and try to present higher quality animations.
Below is a list of most popular online GIF libraries, which basically are browsable directories of free GIF files.
The method of downloading these GIF files is usually the same at each site. You find the file you want to use, then call it up and right-click it (if you're using a Windows computer, choose "save as" from the context menu, then save it to your desktop. (If you're using a Mac, you hit the ctl button and then click your mouse, which brings up a similar "save image as" menu).
List of Sites Offering Free Animated GIFs
- Best Animations - Well categorized list of more than 3,000 animations, with a directory allowing you to browse to see the kind of imagery that you're interested in. Right click on the image that interests you and save to your hard drive for reuse. Images are presented as mostly copyright-free.
- GIF SOUP -- A simple collection of free animated GIFs, all nicely categorized by type of content.
- ForGifs.com -- A library of thousands of free animated GIF files that appear to be mostly free of pornography.
- GifBin.com -- A social network built around gif-sharing and free animated gifs. Lots of GIFs in here, but what differentiates GifBin is the presences of social features for sharing the files and helping one another discover material.
- GIF Tube -- Another big archive of animated GIFs, this one contains adult imagery but allow you to filter it out by clicking to eliminate porn GIFs from the thumbnails on display.