11 minutes.

How to Insert a GIF into an Email: Outlook and Gmail

GIFs are great for making emails more lively. They're easy to use, compatible with many devices, and don't take up much space. 

This makes them a favorite for people creating emails to engage their readers. 

Today, I'll show you how to easily add GIF to your emails in both Outlook and Gmail.

A cover image with the text "How to Insert a GIF into an Email: Outlook and Gmail" and a light orange background.

How to Add a GIF to an Email (Outlook)

Step 1: Open Outlook

You can use the Outlook desktop application or Outlook.com in your web browser. Both work great!

Step 2: Start a new email

Click "New Email" or "New Message."

The second step in adding a GIF to the email body in Outlook

Step 3: Choose your GIF to add an email body

To add a GIF, click on "Insert" at the top, then choose "Pictures." Navigate to where your GIF is saved, select it, and then click "Insert." 

The GIF will now be in the body of your email.

The third step in adding a GIF to the email body in Outlook

Step 4: Adjust the GIF size

If you need to change the size of the GIF, click on it once it's in the email. You will see points around the GIF that you can drag to resize it.

The fourth step in adding a GIF to the email body in Outlook

Step 5: Send your email

  • Once you're satisfied with your message, hit "Send" to send your email with the GIF embedded in the body.

How to Add a GIF to an Email (Gmail)

Step 1: Open Gmail

Start by opening your Gmail account. 

The first step in adding a GIF to the email body in Gmail

Step 2: Compose a new email

Press the "+ Compose" button, which you can find at the top-left of Gmail. This will open a new email window.

Compose new email in gmail

Step 3: Insert the GIF

You have a couple of options to insert a GIF into your email:

Option A: If You Have the GIF File on Your Computer

  • Click on the "Insert photo" icon at the bottom of the compose window (it looks like a small camera).
The third step in adding a GIF to the email body in Gmail
  • Choose the "Upload" tab, then drag and drop your GIF file into the window, or click "Choose photos to upload" and select the GIF from your computer.
The third step in adding a GIF to the email body in Gmail
  • Once uploaded, the GIF will appear in the body of your email. You can click on it to change its size or alignment.
The third step in adding a GIF to the email body in Gmail

Option B: Using a URL for the GIF

  • If the GIF is hosted online, copy its URL. You can do this directly via the platforms shown in the picture below or right-click on the GIF and select "Copy Link Address".
Using url for adding gif into an email.
  • Select the "Web Address (URL)" tab and paste the URL of the GIF into the field. Gmail will automatically fetch and display the GIF in your email's body.
Adding a GIF to the email body in Gmail-option b.

Option C: Using Gmail's Built-in GIF Search (Gboard on Android/iOS)

  • If you're using Gmail on a mobile device, you can use the built-in GIF search functionality provided by Gboard (Google's keyboard). Tap on the "GIF" button on the keyboard, search for a GIF, and then tap on the GIF to insert it into your email.

Step 4: Send your email

  • Once you're satisfied with your message, hit "Send" to send your email with the GIF embedded in the body.

How To Find or Create GIFs for Your Email?

In fact, if you already have a gif on your computer, adding it to your email involves similar steps to adding an image. But if you don't have a GIF yet, let's take a look at how you can find or create one:

Where Can You Find GIFs to Insert GIFs in Your Email Body?

You can find GIFs on various platforms online:

▶️ GIF Libraries: Websites like Giphy, Tenor, and Imgur host a vast collection of GIFs on almost any topic or emotion you can think of.

▶️ Social Media & Community Platforms: Popular social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit often feature trending GIFs. For instance, on Reddit, you can search for the r/gifs subreddit to find various trending GIFs related to different topics.

If you find a GIF on Reddit or another platform you cannot directly download, you still have an easy solution. Simply take your file (provided it is in mp4, mov, or webm format) and turn it into a GIF. This conversion can be done using popular platforms like Giphy or Adobe Express.

Giphy upload homepage for conversion process.

⚠️ Please ensure the GIF you're downloading and using is not copyrighted or that you have permission to use it, especially in a public or professional context.

How Can You Create GIFs to Add to Your Email?

If you don't want to use any GIF but want to create your own, Here is an example of how to create a GIF via Gipgy to add an email:

  • First, I added a YouTube video link to Giphy's homepage, and the site took me to the trimming part. Here, I simply select the part of the video where I want to create my GIF.
Trimming the video in the Giphy GIF creation process
  • Then, I add a sticker to my GIF; here, you can add text, emojis, stickers, or filters to your GIF. 
Adding stickers to gif in Giphy GIF creation process
  • Finally, I downloaded my new brand GIF to my computer; this much! My GIF, you see below, is ready to be added to my email.

Tools For Creating And Optimizing GIFs for Emails

If you are looking to add a little flair to your emails, having the ability to create and optimize GIFs can be incredibly helpful. Below are some easy-to-use tools for this:

  1. Giphy GIF Maker: Giphy is a popular platform where you can find many GIFs or create your own. They provide a free and simple tool where you upload a video or image, select the part you want as a GIF, and add a caption or effect as needed.
  2. Adobe Photoshop: Photoshop provides more control and options for your GIF creation. Though it might require some getting used to for beginners, it enables you to make detailed animations and convert videos into GIFs.
  3. Ezgif: Ezgif is a practical, free online tool that gives you the ability to make simple GIFs or perform quick edits on already existing ones.
  4. ScreenToGif: Free for Windows and Mac, ScreenToGif lets you capture and save activities on your screen as a GIF. It's especially useful for creating demonstration or tutorial GIFs.
  5. Canva: Canva is a user-friendly platform that provides a free GIF-making tool. It allows you to create GIFs using images, videos, or even text animations, with done-for-you templates and elements to make the process smoother.

Adding GIFs in Emails: Ideas and Tips

Integrating GIFs into emails can significantly increase engagement and communication effectiveness. Here are some creative ideas on how to use GIFs to make your emails more interactive and engaging:

  • Countdown Timer: A countdown GIF is a great way to create urgency and encourage action. You can use this for limited-time offers, event reminders, or the launch of a new product. You can also consider hyping the new product launch with a countdown popup.
  • Product Highlights: Showcase your product's key features through a GIF. This could be a 360-degree view of the product, a quick demo of how it works, or a before-and-after effect highlighting its benefits.
  • Personalized Greetings: Use GIFs to add a personal touch to greeting emails like birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries. Animated balloons, cakes, or fireworks...
  • Email Headers: An animated GIF in the email header can grab attention from the very beginning. This could be your logo, a relevant theme animation, or something seasonal that will set the tone for the rest of the email.
  • Call to Action (CTA): You can animate your CTAs to make them stand out. A subtle animation like a bouncing arrow or a glowing button can attract attention and increase click-through rates.
  • Tutorials and How-Tos: Use GIFs to break down instructions or tutorials into easy-to-understand steps. This works well to show how to use a product, how to combine items, or how to navigate a feature of your service.
  • Testimonials or Reviews: Use customer testimonials or product reviews with a GIF that scrolls through quotes or ratings, adding dynamism to your social proof.
  • Seasonal Themes: Add seasonal or holiday-themed GIFs to celebrate special occasions. This helps you refresh your content and makes it timely and relevant.

Conclusion And Tips for Adding GIFs in Email Marketing

To wrap up, using GIFs in your email marketing can really make your messages stand out and engage your audience. 

Here are some tips to make sure you're using GIFs effectively and getting the best results:

  • GIF Size: Aim to keep your GIF file size under 1 MB for quick loading. Ideally, a size between 250 KB and 500 KB balances quality and speed. Larger GIFs can slow down the email loading time, which might lead to lower engagement rates.
  • Dimensions: The ideal dimensions for a GIF in an email depend on your layout, but a good rule of thumb is to keep the width under 600 pixels to fit most email clients without the need for horizontal scrolling. A common size for email GIFs is around 480×480 pixels for square GIFs or 480×270 pixels for rectangular ones.
  • Frame Count: Reduce the number of frames in your GIF to lower the file size without significantly compromising quality. Aim for under 10 frames if possible. More frames mean a larger file size and a longer loading time.
  • Looping: Set your GIF to loop 3-5 times instead of infinitely. This prevents the animation from becoming too distracting or annoying after the recipient has viewed it.
  • Test: Use email testing tools like Litmus or Email on Acid to see how your GIF looks across different email clients (like Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, etc.). Some email clients, like older versions of Microsoft Outlook, don't support GIF animation and will only show the first frame.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Email Clients Support GIFs?

Most modern email clients support GIFs, but the level of support can vary, affecting how your GIFs display in recipients' inboxes:

-Fully Supported: Email clients like Apple Mail, Gmail, and most mobile email clients (iOS Mail app, Android native email app, Gmail app on both Android and iOS) will display GIFs as intended, playing the animation automatically.

-Partially Supported: Some versions of Outlook (2007, 2010, and 2013) have limited support for GIFs. They will display the first frame of the GIF as a static image, meaning the animation won't play. However, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2019, and Outlook for Office 365 have improved support for GIFs, displaying the animation.

-Webmail Clients: Most webmail clients, including Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com, and newer versions of AOL, support GIF animations.

It's important to test your email across multiple clients to ensure the GIF works as expected, especially if a significant portion of your audience uses an email client with limited GIF support.

2. How Do I Save a GIF to My Computer?

When saving a GIF to your computer, it's crucial to maintain its animation. Follow these steps to ensure it's saved correctly:

  • From Web Browsers: Right-click on the GIF and select "Save Image As..." (the wording may vary slightly depending on the browser). Make sure the file saves with a ".gif" extension. This preserves the animation.
  • From Email or Messages: If you receive a GIF via email or messaging applications, you can usually download it directly to your computer. Look for a download button or right-click on the GIF and choose the option to save.

If the GIF accidentally saves in a static format like ".jpeg" or ".png", or “.mov”, “.mp4” it will not added in your email. In such cases, you may need to convert it. Online tools like Ezgif.com, Giphy, and Adobe can convert these back to animated GIFs.

3. How Do You Copy and Paste a GIF?

Copying and pasting a GIF directly can sometimes result in only the first frame being pasted as a static image. To effectively copy and paste a GIF, ensuring its animation remains intact, follow these steps:

  • From Web: Right-click the GIF and select "Copy Image Address" or "Copy Image Location" to copy the GIF's URL. In the destination, such as an email body or a web editor that supports HTML, use the "Insert Image" option and paste the URL. This method embeds the GIF while preserving its animation.
  • From Files: If the GIF is already downloaded on your computer, most email clients and web editors allow you to insert an image by uploading it from your computer. Use the "Insert" or "Add Image" feature and select the GIF file from your computer. This method uploads and inserts the animated GIF directly.

4. How Can I Make A GIF From a Video Not on YouTube?

Creating a GIF from a video file stored on your computer or another source besides YouTube involves using a GIF-making tool that supports direct video uploads. Here's how to do it:

  • Using Online Tools: Platforms like Giphy, Ezgif, and Adobe Express allow you to upload video files directly from your computer. Once uploaded, you can select the segment of the video you wish to turn into a GIF, add any captions or effects, and create the GIF. These tools typically support common video formats like MP4, AVI, and MOV.
  • Software Options: If you prefer more control over the GIF creation process, software like Adobe Photoshop allows for more detailed editing. Import the video frames into Photoshop, edit as needed, and then export the frames as an animated GIF.
  • Conversion: If the video is in a format not supported by the GIF-making tool, you may first need to convert it to a compatible format (like MP4) using video conversion tools. Once in the correct format, proceed with the GIF creation process as described.

Further Reading