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How to make an animated GIF in GIMP

This post explains how to make an animated GIF in GIMP.  A GIF is a format in which you can save a series of images so that they move from one image to the next to make a simple animation. This could be compared to having drawings in a booklet in front of you and when you flick through the booklet the drawings appear to be moving.


Why would you want to make an animated GIF? Because it draws attention and adds movement to your online space. And, it can look really cool.


Making a GIF is very easy. This tutorial runs you through how to make a GIF using GIMP.


If you’re not familiar with GIMP it is an open source image manipulation program, similar to Photoshop, but non-proprietary. If you haven’t got GIMP already then go ahead and install the best copy for your computer. GIMP is FREE. Go to GIMP installation.


How to make an animated GIF in GIMP


1. Gather together a set of images you want to animate. Ideas? – different words that could look like they’re moving, a character moving an arm, leg, head etc, or changing colour…

These are the images that I’m animating. They are similar enough to move together and create an interesting ‘flashing’ colour change.

 How to make an animated GIFHow to make an animated GIFHow to make an animated GIFHow to make an animated GIFHow to make an animated GIFHow to make an animated GIF


2. Open GIMP and then open the first image you want to animate.


3. Go to the Layers dialogue box on the right hand side. Name the layer of your first image something distinctive.


You now need to create layers with the rest of your images. Each layer is like a ‘page’ for your animation, just like the pages in a hand held animated booklet which you flick through to create animations.


4. On the menu at the top of the screen, click, File, then Open As Layers. Select the next image in your animation. You can change the order later if needed. Now click on the new layer and rename if needed.


5. Repeat this process with the rest of your images. the dialogue box should look something like the image below.


How to make and animated GIF


6. ANIMATION TIME! When your images are all ready go to the menu at the top of the screen, click, Filter then Animation, then Playback. A box should pop up with your animation.


7. If the images are too big or too small go back to GIMP and resize using the resize tool.


8. To save – file, Save As, scroll down to file type GIF.  GIMP then takes you through a series of questions. The answer to the first question is save as animation (see image below). In the next box you can change the frame rate to be slower or faster.



Here’s my finished GIF, click on the image and see what happens. Have fun playing and watch out for more GIF’s appearing on this website!

 How to make an animated GIF in GIMP






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21 Responses to How to make an animated GIF in GIMP

  1. Man Cave Zen March 16, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    Great reference. I’ve used this site several times when I keep forgetting how to do this when making banners.

    One edit: In step 8 you say to go to File>Save As. I think you mean to go to File>Export At least in version 2.8.2. That threw me for a minute.

  2. RebeccaOGM March 17, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    Thanks for the update, great to hear you’re finding the post useful.

  3. mauro December 25, 2015 at 7:16 am #


  4. TEXRGD May 14, 2016 at 6:27 am #

    Good article. Thanks.

  5. Luís July 29, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    Is there any of automating this process? I have hundreds of images…


    • RebeccaOGM August 28, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

      Hi Luis,
      I’m not sure about automating this process for a large number of images. You may be best to contact people at GIMP directly.


  6. Tom August 18, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    Wow, did you ever make that simple. Thanks! I almost look like a professional now.

  7. Joseph Livengood August 30, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    Hello, I have several picture on my gimp but only want two of them to animate. Only where it says… click here. using your steps above, the whole thing flashes hahaha. there may be something that I’m not seeing, sorry if it’s something obvious. thanks.

    • RebeccaOGM August 31, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

      Hi Joseph, what happens when you remove the other images so that just the two you want remain?
      That way, you won’t have the other images showing up.

      Maybe I need more explanation!

  8. katie September 20, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    when i go to save a gif the file type GIF option isn’t there. i’m doing everything in this article correctly up until then because it’s not there. can you help me?

    • Phyllis Laatsch November 5, 2016 at 11:50 am #

      There’s an “Export to” option in the File tab, but I can’t figure it out. Or rather, I have it exported as a GIF, but it only shows one picture.

      • May November 25, 2016 at 4:10 am #

        I had a similar issue, if you go to “Export” and then “Select File Type” you should be able to do it that way. 🙂

    • Michael November 30, 2016 at 12:05 am #

      Hi. Just manually type the extension as .GIF when exporting. That should work.

  9. Phyllis Laatsch November 5, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    Is there a way to play them back slowly? I have 4 book covers and with the regular playback it takes about a second to flash through all 4.

    • Griffonmender November 20, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

      Maybe try having multiple layers of the same image in a row?
      As in, have four layers of the first image, then four of the second, and so forth.

  10. Anonymous November 27, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    I have a few frames in my animation, but when I play it it shows the first one coming up, then the second, etc, but the first one doesn’t disappear before the second comes, so eventually it shows all the frames at once, which pretty much ruins the point of my animation.

  11. Jacqui December 6, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    I did all this (worked out the Export as bit), changed the speed and size and it worked in GIMP but when I try to use somewhere else or even back in GIMP, it does not animate. What have I missed?

  12. Gargi Sharma December 17, 2016 at 3:26 am #

    Thank you! It’s so nice and easy 🙂


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