I love sending animated GIF images to my friends and family. On Facebook it’s easy, but Gmail makes it a pain. Is there any shortcut or easy way to include animated GIF images in my Gmail mail??
As our culture continues to move into the Social Age, it feels like each of us is picking up a favorite element. You’re into animated GIF images. I really like meme images, and I have plenty of friends – and family! – who seem to be obsessed with not just obscure emoji, but in creating sequences of emoji that let them express more complicated thoughts and ideas. Which means, of course, we’ve come full circle from the earliest caveman pictographs back to 3D animated emoji that, well, express complex ideas like “fire” and “lightning”. 🙂
See? I just did it. I added a smiley!
Whatever the case, you’re lucky that your thing is animated GIF images, because there’s actually an add-on from the Web site Gfycat that lets you easily explore their library of millions of animated GIFs and drag-and-drop the perfect one into any email, all from within Gmail! Of course, it’s not quite as smooth as you might wish, but… it works. So let’s have a look!
The main task is going to be installing an add-on to your Gmail account, so we’ll have to start there. In Google Mail, click on the gear icon on the top right to bring up the main menu:
As you can see, you’ll want to choose “Get add-ons”. Almost all of the add-ons for Gmail seem to be about digital signatures and shared document access – not much fun there at all, really – but if you search for GIF you’ll find the add-on desired:
The plug-in is called GFYCAT and it’s a lot more popular than GroupCamp right next to it, as you can see. Then again, it’s quite a different type of plug-in so the comparison is probably fairly pointless. Hey! I’m sure there’s an animated GIF for that.
Click on it to learn more about the plug-in and install it…
Who wouldn’t want their email to stand out with the perfect GIF, right?
Turns out that it’s a bit confusing to use, however, but that’s likely more because of the Gmail architecture than anything else. To install gfycat, click on the blue INSTALL button on the top right.
You’ll need to give the add-on program permission to install – and remember you can always delete it later if you don’t like it! – so click on “CONTINUE” to… continue. A few additional permissions screens later and you’ll see this:
Once installed, you’ll notice (above) that the screen reminds you where you’ll find the gfycat link: All the way to the right of the Gmail main window. Not within a compose window. I know, you’ll forget and you will be in the middle of an email and suddenly wonder where the gfycat add-on went:
Turns out that it really is “all the way to the right”. Look on the main Gmail window all the way to the right…
See it? “gif” in blue. Really hard to see, but once you realize where it is, you can then click on the ‘gif’ button and you’ll get this rather confusing window to pop up:
Turns out that rather than show information directly, Gfycat needs you to choose an email message before it can start showing off its huge library of animated GIF images. No worries, click on an email in your inbox. Any email. You don’t even have to be in a compose window or have a new message open and ready to start writing. As soon as you do that, the “Open an Email” is replaced with something much more fun:
In the actual add-on, these are all actually animated images, which makes them much more fun. Notice you can search for GIF images too right in the window. Or you can scroll and spend a lot of time being distracted 🙂
The above graphic should be animated, of course, but you’ll just have to trust me – or check gyfcat! – to see what it does.
In any case, that’s how you can hook gyfcat’s neat add-on to your Gmail account and after a trial or two you’ll find it’s fun and easy to access their huge animated GIF library and drag them onto whatever email you’re composing. Now go be creative!
Pro Tip: We have lots of Gmail help and tutorial content on the site. Please take a few minutes to check it out.