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How to make a gif from YouTube: a step-by-step guide

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GIFs are everywhere these days, from social media posts to memes and even in text messages between friends. But have you ever wondered how to make a gif...

GIFs are everywhere these days, from social media posts to memes and even in text messages between friends. But have you ever wondered how to make a gif from a YouTube video? YouTube is a treasure trove of content, making it an ideal platform to create gifs that you can share across various platforms. Whether you're looking to make memes, reaction gifs, or educational snippets, YouTube has got you covered.

What you'll need to get started

Embarking on the journey to create gifs from YouTube videos is an exciting endeavor, but it's essential to be well-prepared. First and foremost, you'll need a device to work on. While most people might opt for a computer, given its larger screen and more robust processing power, smartphones are increasingly capable. Whether you're using an Android device or an iPhone, there are apps and mobile-friendly websites designed to help you make gifs. However, the type of device you choose may influence the tools you can use. For instance, some software solutions are available only for Mac or Windows computers, while certain apps are exclusive to iOS or Android platforms.

Next, you'll need a reliable internet connection. This is particularly important if you're using an online tool to create your gif. A stable and fast internet connection ensures that you can easily upload the YouTube video URL and download the finished gif file without any hiccups. If you're using an online service, you'll be relying on cloud-based processing, so a good internet connection is crucial for a smooth experience.

Lastly, you'll need the YouTube video URL that you want to convert into a gif. This is essentially the raw material for your project. You'll paste this URL into the gif maker or gif converter tool you're using, whether it's an online service or software. Make sure to choose a video that aligns with what you're trying to convey with your gif. The video's content will be the foundation upon which you'll build your animated masterpiece.

Understanding YouTube's terms of service

Before you jump into the actual process of video editing or converting a YouTube video into a gif, it's crucial to take a moment to understand YouTube's terms of service. This is not just a legal formality but a necessary step to ensure you're respecting content creators and copyright laws. YouTube's terms explicitly state that you shouldn't download content unless a download button or link is clearly provided by YouTube.

So, if you're planning to convert a YouTube video into a gif, make sure it's either your own content or content you have explicit permission to use. This is especially important if you intend to share your gif on social media platforms, blogs, or any other public forum. Unauthorized use of copyrighted material can lead to legal consequences, so it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Using YouTube's built-in gif maker

If you're new to the world of gifs, you'll be pleased to know that YouTube itself offers a built-in gif maker for some videos. To access this feature, you'll need to open your chosen YouTube video in a Chrome browser window. Once the video is playing, locate the 'Share' button right below the video window. Clicking on this will reveal a drop-down menu with various sharing options, including email, social media platforms, and more.

If the video's uploader has enabled it, you'll find an option labeled 'Create GIF.' Clicking on this will open a new window where you can set the start time and end time for your gif by dragging sliders along a timeline. It's a straightforward and user-friendly way to make a gif, especially if you're not looking for advanced customization options.

Limitations of YouTube's built-in feature

While YouTube's built-in gif maker is a convenient tool, it does come with its own set of limitations that you should be aware of. First, you're restricted to creating a gif that's no longer than 6 seconds. This might be sufficient for a quick reaction gif but could be limiting if you're looking to capture a more extended moment or sequence. Second, the customization options are quite limited. Unlike third-party tools that allow you to add stickers, fonts, and even subtitles, YouTube's built-in feature offers none of these.

You're essentially stuck with the raw video clip, with no options to embellish or add your personal touch. Lastly, gifs created using this feature come with a watermark. While this might not be a significant concern for casual or personal use, it could be a deal-breaker if you're looking to use the gif for professional or commercial purposes. Therefore, while the built-in feature is a quick and easy way to create a gif, if you're looking for more control and customization, you might want to explore other options.

Third-party tools for making gifs

If you're looking for more customization options, third-party tools are the way to go. These tools often offer high-quality gifs with more control over frame rate, start time, and end time.

Online services

Websites like and Giphy offer online tools that are easy to use. All you need to do is paste the YouTube URL into the gif converter, and you can start editing. You can drag sliders to choose the start and end time, add stickers, and even add subtitles. allows you to continue to decorate your gif with various options.

Software solutions

If you're comfortable with video editing software like Photoshop, you can convert YouTube videos into gifs with even more customization. You'll need to download the YouTube video file, usually in MP4 or AVI format, and then import it into Photoshop. From there, you can resize the video, adjust the frame rate, and add any additional elements you want.

Mobile options: Making gifs on the go

Creating gifs isn't limited to computers. You can also make a gif from a YouTube video right on your mobile device, whether it's Android or iOS.

Android apps

For Android users, apps like 'Video & GIF Memes' allow you to create gifs easily. You can paste the YouTube URL or upload a video file from your gallery. The app also allows you to add text and stickers.

iOS apps

For iPhone users, apps like 'Giphy Cam' offer a simple way to create gifs. You can either use a video clip from your gallery or paste a YouTube URL. The app also offers various customization options, including adding text and stickers.

Tips for creating engaging gifs

Creating a gif is more than just selecting a random video clip. You want your gif to be engaging, especially if you're sharing it on social media.

Choosing the right clip

The first step in making an engaging gif is choosing the right video clip. Look for parts of the video that are interesting, funny, or informative. The clip should be able to stand alone and make sense to viewers.

Optimizing file size

Nobody likes a gif that takes forever to load. Use online tools or software to resize your gif file without losing quality. Websites like offer options to optimize your gif for different platforms.

Adding text and effects

Adding text or effects can make your gif more engaging. You can use fonts and stickers to add a message or even subtitles to make it more informative.

Troubleshooting common issues

Even with the best tools, you might run into some issues when trying to make a gif from a YouTube video.

GIF is not animating

If your gif is not animating, it could be due to a low frame rate. Make sure to check the frame rate settings in your gif maker or video editor.

Quality loss in the final gif

If you notice a loss in quality, try using a high-quality video source. Also, some online tools offer high-quality gif options; make sure to select those when converting your YouTube video.

Copyright issues

Again, always respect copyright laws. If you're using someone else's content, make sure you have permission, especially if you're planning to share the gif on social media or TikTok.

And there you have it—a complete tutorial on how to make a gif from a YouTube video. Whether you're using online services, software, or mobile apps, creating your own gif has never been easier. So go ahead, find that perfect YouTube video, and start creating your own gifs today!

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Can I make a GIF from a YouTube video that's set to private or unlisted?

No, you generally can't make a GIF from a YouTube video that's set to private or unlisted unless you are the owner of the video or have explicit permission from the owner. Most third-party tools and YouTube's built-in GIF maker require the video to be publicly accessible to convert it into a GIF.

Are there any time limits on how long my GIF can be?

The time limits for your GIF can vary depending on the tool you're using. YouTube's built-in GIF maker usually limits you to a 6-second clip. However, third-party tools and software like Photoshop may allow for longer durations. Always check the specifications of the tool you're using to understand its limitations.

Can I add music or sound to my GIF?

GIFs are inherently mute; they don't support audio. If you want to create a short video clip with sound, you'll need to use a different format, like MOV or MP4. Some social media platforms allow you to upload short video clips that function similarly to GIFs but include audio.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.