How to Copy and Paste Animated GIFs

Once an obscure file format, the animated GIF is quickly becoming the king of the Internet. Animated GIFs are supported in websites like Tumblr and Twitter, messaging boards, and even PowerPoint presentations. Because animated GIFs are composed of frames, getting one onto your computer is a bit different than other image formats.

Finding Animated GIFs

Any search engine with an Images category will provide you with a vast selection of animated GIFs. Just type "animated GIF" along with the subject you're looking for in an image search engine like Bing Images, DuckDuckGo or Google Images .

Google Image Search.
Select the Image library to see a full list of GIFs.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Google.

There are plenty of websites dedicated exclusively to animated GIFs, however most of these contain adult content and are NSFW (not safe for the workplace).

When you find the GIF you want to use, click on the thumbnail in the search engine to open it in the Web page hosting the GIF. Copying the image directly from the search engine sometimes gets you only a static image and not the animated version..

Right-click the image and select Save Image As or Save Picture As and select a destination folder for the GIF. Copying the image from the Web browser copies only a single frame, not the entire GIF.

Dancing dinosaur GIFs.
Save the GIF to your computer.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Giphy.com.

Previewing Animated GIFs

To view an animated GIF on your computer, drag it onto any Web browser window. Alternatively, right-click the image in File Explorer and select Open With. Select your default Web browser. Other apps like Paint, Photo Gallery and Photos won't show the animated version.

The right-click menu in File Explorer.
Internet Explorer supports animated GIFs.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.

Copying and Pasting GIFs

Once an animated GIF is on your computer, copy and paste it as you would any other image file. Simply right-click the GIF in File Explorer and select Copy. Open a document and press Ctrl-V to paste it. PowerPoint supports animated GIFs, however you won't see the animation until you launch the slideshow.

A dancing dinosaur GIF in PowerPoint.
Resize a GIF in PowerPoint like any other image.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

If you're interested in making and editing your own animated GIFs for free, learn how to edit an animated GIF with GIMP.