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?


9 Answers 9


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.)

  • 2
    licecap is indeed simple and awesome. One more tip - if you are using windows and don't want to install it, you can just unzip it with 7zip.
    – Kay
    Mar 25, 2015 at 18:28
  • 28
    wait, how did you get the screencast of yourself using licecap to record the screencast? Oct 10, 2016 at 17:21
  • 31
    @JacobKrall a second instance of licecap.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jan 3, 2017 at 15:42
  • 2
    Not sure how that works. Can you post a screencast of how to use licecap to record a screencap of using licecap?
    – Sneftel
    Apr 16, 2021 at 8:51
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    Not sure how that works. Can you post a screencast of how to use licecap to record a screencap of using licecap to record a screencap of using licecap? ;)
    – Burgi
    Apr 16, 2021 at 15:49

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.

  • 1
    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, 2015 at 23:35
  • @JourneymanGeek Done. I'm not sure how it compares to licecap. Jul 24, 2015 at 1:35
  • I prefer licecap for captures, cause the UI is roughly as basic it can be. The editor is useful for crops, and such even if you've made the gif with something else. Quality looks a little worse than licecap in many situations but still good enough for most things
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jan 31, 2017 at 11:04
  • The image output is low quality, nothing like licecap.
    – Oliver
    Apr 22, 2022 at 23:17

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.

  • 1
    One downside is that it requires the Net Framework >= 4.6.1. Jun 29, 2019 at 8:56
  • Download an earlier version which does not. screentogif.com/downloads.html
    – smdrager
    Jul 6, 2019 at 14:01
  • 7
    @FranckDernoncourt Why is that a downside?
    – Neo
    Feb 26, 2021 at 10:02
  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.

  • 1
    thx for reply but i wanto record in gif like video not in 10 second screenshots Dec 23, 2009 at 21:20
  • 2
    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, 2009 at 23:36
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    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, 2009 at 23:46
  • Worked well for me.. Updated the link to CamStudio Portable. Mar 26, 2012 at 13:33

I would like to offer my software recommendation.

It is called ShareX.

I am recommending a review of ShareX on [2].

1: https://github.com/ShareX/ShareX/releases

2: https://filmora.wondershare.com/screen-recorder/sharex-review-and-alternatives.html

  • ShareX all the way! You can setup custom tasks after capturing (like uploading to an image sharing website), and also capture mp4 instead of gif (for better quality and lower size)
    – rbntd
    Apr 21, 2022 at 9:20

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.


Just one more solution that is usually ignored. You can actually use MS PowerPoint alone to record the screen and create GIFs. This could be useful if extra software installations are not allowed, such as on public computers.


  1. Create a new PowerPoint file.
  2. In 'Insert', choose 'Screen Recording' and record the screen however you want.
  3. Edit the slide and make the best use of space. Change the slide ratio if necessary.
  4. You can actually insert multiple slides and record multiple clips by repeating steps 2-3.
  5. Go to 'File' -> 'Export' and choose 'GIF'.

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)

  • 1
    i know about Wink but i need direct screen to gif Dec 11, 2009 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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