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I need a way to record my Windows desktop and save it as an animated GIF file. Here's an example:


I need GIF animations so that they can run from a web page without requiring any plugins. I want to record and save directly as a GIF.

How can I create a GIF screencast?

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Why do you need to save directly to animated gif format? – J. Polfer Dec 30 '09 at 16:23
Appears other solutions can freely solve this now:… – bbodenmiller Jun 5 '13 at 22:35
up vote 83 down vote accepted

I've been using licecap in various Super User answers. It's dead simple to use as you can see from this animated GIF image - just extend it over your recording area, hit record, set a save file, do your thing and hit stop. It's free, works pretty well, and seems simpler than most of the alternatives. It's entirely free and has Windows and OS X ports.

Enter image description here

On Windows 8.1 and hdpi displays, you'll need to turn off per app display scaling to get it to work normally without turning off global display scaling. I have a walkthrough on it here (Fixed as of version 1.26.)

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+1 Simple and easy application – Curt Oct 24 '13 at 14:56
For helpdesk and similar use - this is much better than CamStudio and other tools I know. – Kamil Oct 2 '14 at 14:57
I'm surprised at the color posterization quality considering it's a GIF. – Cole Johnson Oct 2 '14 at 21:37
It's a nice tool with a unfortunately crappy name. I used it in the past, loved it. And when need it again, I completely forget the name and have to search for it all over the web again. – Kay Jan 22 at 23:32
You should mention it's not only a freeware but an opensource software! – gaborous Mar 14 at 13:57
up vote 15 down vote
  1. Use CamStudio Portable to record your screen activities to AVI.

  2. Use VirtualDubMod to convert the AVI to a sequence of images (PNG).

  3. Use Easy Graphic Converter to convert the PNGs to GIFs.

  4. Use UnFREEz to create an animated GIF from the images.

Done and dusted.

Video Tutorial

ALL programs are free, and ALL programs but Easy Graphic Converter are portable. Either you find an alternative image converter (there are plenty; I only chose it, because it was used for the tutorial) or you make it portable yourself by running the installer through the mighty Universal Extractor (I have tested it, it works).

If you want it "All in One", then you're pretty much out of luck, at least as far as "free and portable" goes.

Here are some (rather cheap) commercial screen-recording programs with output to animated GIF:

aSkysoft Screen Recorder ($39.95)

Super Screen Capture ($49.95)

As far as 'portability' is concerned, pretty much anything can be made portable, one way or other.

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thx for reply but i wanto record in gif like video not in 10 second screenshots – metal gear solid Dec 23 '09 at 21:20
You have some pretty specific requirements, that really should be in the question! However, I'd reconsider what you're trying to achieve - gifs are not built for long videos. – Phoshi Dec 23 '09 at 23:36
i don't really get it either, animated gif would be my very last choice for screen recordings. size, quality, lack of audio ... no match for SWF, nevermind AVI. anyway, he's got the tools he needs to do it, if 'all in one' is the next requirement, he'll have to cough up the few quid for a commercial program. i'm done here :) – Molly7244 Dec 23 '09 at 23:46
Worked well for me.. Updated the link to CamStudio Portable. – Keith Sirmons Mar 26 '12 at 13:33

Screen To Gif is an excellent free solution. It has a lot of features including save directly to folder, hotkeys to start/stop recording, hide/show mouse, etc.

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I found GifCam, which is free for Windows.

Enter image description here

It worked well for my needs to capture and export the GIF image.

Some nice features:

  • Works from a single executable. I didn't need to install anything else to get it going
  • Has options to adjust the frame timing and to delete/add frames via a built in editor
  • You can add text to frames: Enter image description here
  • You can show/hide the cursor
  • Yoyo option so that the GIF image it loops back on itself.
  • Draw Green Screen over frames to create a cinemagraph.

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with the product or developer.

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This actually looks pretty handy, and has a few shiny features. I know with my own answer, I let the gif do the talking, but I'd suggest adding a bit more to your answer, covering some of the more useful features for this question. Being able to add text inline, for example seems to be something that gifcam does better than licecap! – Journeyman Geek Jul 23 '15 at 23:35
@JourneymanGeek Done. I'm not sure how it compares to licecap. – Daniel Ballinger Jul 24 '15 at 1:35

Jon Galloway had a great post of using TimeSnapper to record his desktop activities. The application which is an automatic screenshot journal isn't free, but at $25 it really isn't a bad deal.

And, if you don't need all of the options that the professional edition has, you can always download the 'Classic' version and just take screen shots of your activities.

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May be this not a solution, just a alternate way.

You can use Wink to record desktop activities and It has the option to export as SWF file format. You could use any swf to gif converter (will update soon)

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i know about Wink but i need direct screen to gif – metal gear solid Dec 11 '09 at 11:14

Not sure there is a truly portable program to do this, given the huge difference between the Windows windows manager & the X Windows server used in *nix and Mac. Irfanview is probably the best windows tool to do this.

NirCmd is a commandline tool that can import a sequence of images on windows. Imagemagick can do this on anything running an X Server, there are free X servers for windows.

All of these tools make individual gif's which you can them combine into a single animated gif.

I still recommend Imagemagick for it's conversion capabilities. It has many features you could use to make your animated gif's more efficient.

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Another way to create a GIF screencast is ShowMore. It can record the screen and save as a file in various video formats and even GIF. The best part is that you can add editings to make the GIF animation more vivid.

BTW, it's an online solution, but it does not require any plug-ins. You can directly click "Start Recording" to launch it and then make the animation.

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