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I'm looking for a screen capture tool working on MacOSX that will export the capture to animated gif.

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12 Answers 12

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LICEcap is free (GPL), works on MacOSX, and capture animated GIF directly.

http://www.cockos.com/licecap/

It's never too late ;-)

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  • Reconsidered and gave it a trial run...this is perfect! Works great on my Mac but now would like to see it on RedHat ;-) It's always something.
    – Kyle Hayes
    Jun 18, 2013 at 15:01
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    @Phil as of version 1.31 big sur / M1 is supported Nov 4, 2021 at 10:56
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    I couldn't make it work with my Dell D6000 Docking station (multiple monitor using DisplayLink). All I see is black screen in the captured GIFs. Apr 11, 2022 at 7:11
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    It works on Big Sur now Jun 7, 2022 at 10:25
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    And you can install it with brew: brew install licecap
    – Kramer
    Feb 2, 2023 at 17:33
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Starting with macOS Mojave, and later, simply press โ‡งโŒ˜5 (Shift-Command-5) and you can choose from the following:

  • Capture Entire Screen
  • Capture Selected Window
  • Capture Selected Portion
  • Record Entire Screen
  • Record Selected Portion

Afterwards, if you want to convert the MOV file into a GIF, you can use Gifski (free at the time of this update) or GIF Brewery 3, which is 4.99 (sorry, it used to be free) on the Mac App Store.

Note that GIF Brewery 3 can do screen recording directly to create animated GIF files.

Gifski can also be installed via Homebrew: https://github.com/ImageOptim/gifski

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Using built-in Screen Recording and Shortcuts app from macOS 12+

Step 1: Record screen using the built-in Screen Recorder of Mac OS: Cmd + Shift + 5

Step 2: Using the Shortcuts app which comes with Mac OS Monterey(12.0.1). Use the Video to GIF convertor Shortcut to get the intended GIF file.

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Semi-automated process:

If you need to capture video and convert it to GIF, or a very long involved sequence of steps, then you'll need to combine two separate programs. A video screen capture tool, and a movie to gif conversion tool.

Look at these two questions for possible solutions:

Screen video capture application

How can I convert a .mov into a .gif (or a .apng)?

There don't seem to be that many apps that do the movie --> gif conversion on OS X, though. A lot of people use VLC to capture frames and imagemagick to collect them back together into an animated gif. This is probably why the only answer to the conversion question above used an online service.

Manual process:

There is a way to do it in OS X without an additional tool, and this works well if, for instance, you just want to show someone the sequence of steps to disable a particular system preference. The basic process is this:

  1. Use Cmd-shift-4-spacebar to capture a screenshot of the window for each frame.
  2. Convert the images to gif (or set your screenshot preferences to gif prior to capturing the screenshots)
  3. Open the last screenshot in preview.
  4. Open the sidebar in preview
  5. Show the screenshots in finder, ordered by date
  6. Select the remainder to the screenshots, drag and drop them directly on top of the icon in the sidebar of preview for the file already opened. If you drop them elsewhere it won't add them properly.
  7. Preview the animation by selecting the top icon in the sidebar, then using the down arrow. Rearrange any that are out of order using the sidebar to drag and drop.
  8. Save the document as gif, and then preview using a browser, or another app that shows animated gifs.

This technique is somewhat limited in that you can't easily capture video frames without pausing the video before each capture (for that you should get a video screencapture program and then convert the resulting mov or avi to animated gif), and you can't readily adjust the frame time for each frame.

There's a more detailed tutorial with example here:

http://ipliance.com/index.php/eng/Blog/Howto-Animated-GIF-s-Creation-and-Display-in-OS-X

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  • Yeah I saw this process mentioned quite a few times across my search results. I don't like it as it would be much too tedious. Thanks for the answer though.
    – Kyle Hayes
    Mar 26, 2012 at 17:00
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    Impossibly tedious for anything other than a super simple animation. The "typing text in a TextEdit" window example that accompanies this approach on all the web pages that talk about it is about as complicated as you'd want to get with this.
    – Ian C.
    Mar 26, 2012 at 17:07
  • Ok @Adam, thank you for expanding on your answer. The semi-automated seems to be a lot better than the manual process, however, I'm still surprised it's not already in existence as a feature in some of the larger screen capture tools.
    – Kyle Hayes
    Mar 26, 2012 at 17:28
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    @KyleHayes Camtasia for PC captures and can export as an animated gif, but Camtasia for Mac doesn't export to gif (yet?). It's probably worthwhile calling them and finding out if they have plans to release that feature in the future.
    – Adam Davis
    Mar 26, 2012 at 18:29
  • Tutorial link is dead. Feb 5, 2013 at 23:31
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I am using a utility called Claquette. It can be used to convert video files to GIFs and it also comes with an integrated screen recorder.
The app is a free download on the Mac App Store.
It's editing capabilities are very limited (just crop & trim), but usually that's enough for me.

To compare the results, I replicated the GIF in your question. My version came up as a ~35s long animation with a file size of 511KB: brew

There are plenty of other tools out there - I went with this one because it provided the best quality/size trade-offs in the exported GIFs (which I usually attach to a newsletter service with size limitations).

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I just used www.convert-image.com to convert a Keynote-export QuickTime movie file in to an animated GIF and it worked great. The process was relatively painless and the end results was a animation I used to answer a question here on AskDifferent: How to partially uncover bullet points in Keynote

The End Result

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    I just used that site to convert a ScreenFlow capture to an animated .gif for my IT how-to wiki, worked great - thanks.
    – da4
    May 23, 2012 at 20:18
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There is a really fantastic guide at http://opensourcehacker.com/2012/11/21/creating-animated-gif-screen-captures-on-osx/

In summary

  1. Record video using QuickTime Player
  2. Converting the screen capture video to animated GIF (with GIF Brewery)
  3. Crop and shrink the capture area
  4. Use low FPS
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Cleanshot X has support for this feature (Available through SetApp, otherwise you can buy the base tier for $29, or subscribe for $8 a month). While it's pricey for what essentially amounts to "screenshots/recordings but better", it includes a quick image editor, ability to upload to their cloud storage, and all sorts of other features.

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Was also looking for a good, no-data-shared, screen recorder which could record and convert that recording into gif.

This is the only website you'll need: gifcap.dev

It's not only free, client-side and runs in-browser only, but it's also open-source, check it out: github.com/joaomoreno/gifcap

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Kap works well for me, so maybe for others too.

https://getkap.co/

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I use an app called GIPHY CAPTURE, which is free on the Mac App Store.

https://giphy.com/apps/giphycapture

It lets you size an area of the screen, specify animation rate, and then saves the file when you're happy with what you've done.

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I use Filmage Screen. It can export as GIF

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