How to Copy Animated GIFs

Updated February 21, 2017

An animated GIF file is a photo file that looks like a movie, because it is made up of a series of pictures. Each picture is slightly different from the one preceding it, giving the GIF the appearance of a moving scene, like an old-fashioned flipbook. If you try to copy a GIF image without knowing the correct method, the resulting pasted image will most likely be a static object, instead of the intended short movie.

Save the GIF. GIF files were designed to show up as moving images on websites or in HTML e-mails. When you see one you like, right-click on the image and choose "Save As" or "Save Image As." Make sure the file type is saving as a .gif, and name the file. Choose the destination on your computer, and click "Save" to make a copy of the GIF that you can use.

Insert the GIF into e-mail. To use the GIF file you've just saved in an e-mail, first open a new message in your e-mail program, such as Outlook. Under the "Insert" menu choose "Picture" and navigate to the location on your computer where you saved the GIF file. Click "Insert" and the GIF image will show up in the body of the email message. It will look like a still picture, but it will be animated in the final version of the email that the recipient gets. You can send a test e-mail to yourself to make sure.

Insert the GIF onto a Web page. You can insert the GIF image onto a Web page or another program by following similar steps as you would use to insert it into an e-mail. Insert the image as you would any other picture file, and you will have a moving GIF image nested onto a website or other HTML project.


The biggest key in copying GIF files is not to do a basic copy-paste like you would for a regular JPEG or other image file. Because of a GIF's animated properties, it has to be inserted to function and appear properly.

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Alexis Writing has many years of freelance writing experience. She has written for a variety of online destinations, including She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Rochester.