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Convert AVI to Animated GIF

Learn to convert an AVI video file into an animated GIF.

This page starts with a question: why would you even want to convert an AVI to an animated GIF? And that questions makes us aware of the limitations in the latter format that don't survive the conversion. Of course, the first thing you lose is any sound in the AVI. Plus, you also end up with something of a lower quality. But as a proof of concept, this can be done. Just make sure you read all the guidelines before you begin.

Here's what you need to get started:

  • Before you begin, make sure you have Microsoft GIF Animator installed. You can get Microsoft GIF Animator from a search on Google, as Microsoft no longer provides download access. Also, Microsoft GIF Animator does not work on any version of Windows above Windows 7. Yes, this is an old product but since it is simple and freeware, it's perfect for the tutorial on this page.
  • There are several other products that can achieve similar results. We just chose Microsoft GIF Animator because it is simple, capable, and free.
  • You'll also need a sample AVI file to convert. You can get many AVI sample files online.

Here's what you should know:

  • Animated GIFs include no sound. So, don’t expect sounds in the output files.
  • Since the animated GIF has to be simple, it's always good to start with a very simple AVI file that is both small in file size and dimensions. If you plan to convert your video camcorder footage into animated GIFs, you're clearly reading the wrong tutorial, and trying the impossible. And of course, Microsoft GIF Animator will choke with your AVI file!

Follow these steps to do the conversion:

  1. Launch Microsoft GIF Animator by choosing the Windows Start Menu | All Programs | Microsoft GIF Animator. This opens Microsoft GIF Animator interface. Click Open option in the toolbar as shown in Figure 1.

  2. Figure 1: Click the Open option.
  3. This brings up the Open dialog box that you can see in Figure 2. Select the AVI file which you want to convert, and then click the Open button.

  4. Figure 2: Select AVI file and click Open.
  5. Note: You may not see the AVI file extension in the dialog box shown in Figure 2 by default. To view file extensions, you can learn how to enable them here.
  6. Once you open it, Microsoft GIF Animator automatically converts the AVI to an animated GIF. You can see the progress bar at the bottom of the program window (see Figure 3).

  7. Figure 3: Conversion process
  8. Thereafter you can save the animated GIF by clicking the Save button on the toolbar, as shown in Figure 4. This creates an animated GIF in the same folder as the original source AVI file.

  9. Figure 4: Save
Note: To preview the resultant animated GIF, just drag it into an open web browser window.