Record the Screen as an Animated GIF in Mac OS X

Aug 23, 2013 - 2 Comments

Recorded screen capture exported as animated GIF in Mac OS X LICEcap is a screen recording app that captures a portion of the Mac OS X (or Windows) desktop and saves it directly as an animated GIF. Incredibly simple to use, the apps functionality should be familiar enough to anyone who has used screen recording with QuickTime before, except that rather than a movie being exported, you wind up with a GIF.

If you’re looking to record your screen and export the recording as an animated GIF with very little effort, give LICEcap a try, it’s quite good and being free means it’s just a matter of downloading it and seeing if the app is right for you.

Launch the app, then drag the recording window to the region of the screen you want to turn into a GIF, size the recording window appropriately, choose a frame rate (8FPS is the default and reasonable), then choose “Record” to start.

Screen recording to an animated gif

After you click “Record” you’ll be presented with a simple file save dialog of where to send the screen recording GIF to, which also provides some additional options for the recording, able to set an intro title frame, record mouse presses, show the elapsed time, and determine whether the GIF should repeat or not (the default is set to repeat).

Record the screen as an animated GIF

So what does a sample output of a screen recording gif look like? The one at the top of this post is one, and here’s another with a title frame and elapsed time shown:

GIF of screen recording

Here’s another with just a simple screen recording:

Sample animated GIF screen recording

The only real weakness of LICEcap is that it can’t access the menu bars, meaning it isn’t able to record the entire screen or menu actions.

By the way, if you do plan on recording animated GIFs for use on the web, be sure to grab ImageOptim as well to compress the file size considerably before uploading them to anywhere, it works just as well on gifs as it does on PNG and other formats.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. moira says:

    thank for sharing this amazing post! I’ve been struggling in looking for the pefrect tool to create GIF on Mac. That’s why I look for an online tool that works on both Mac and Windows.

  2. jeffcard says:

    This is perfect for what I was looking for. I used to capture screenshot as GIF with Acethinker Screen Grabber, free and works like a charm as well. Share it here as an alternative to LICEcap.

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