Short for “Graphics Interchange Format”, GIFs are short animated videos that loop over and over. They’ve become a fun shorthand on the web, allowing you to share an inside joke, reference current events and pop culture, or promote your own projects. Many of the best Internet memes pair a funny clip with a short phrase, and learning how to add text to a GIF is easy. Whether you’re looking to share a silly pun or an upcoming event, it’s a great medium for getting the word out. Below, we’ve outlined how to add text to a GIF using Photoshop and free online services.
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Adding Text with Photoshop
1. First, find the GIF that you want to edit. One of the best resources for GIFs is Giphy.com, which allows you to search different categories, facial reactions, celebrities, and more. All of the GIFs are free to download and reuse, but just make sure to cite the original creator. If you’ve made your own GIF, this won’t apply to you.
2. To save a GIF onto your hard drive, right click it and select “Save Image As…” Choose a location that is easy to remember, like your Desktop or Downloads folder. Then, open the GIF with Photoshop.
3. You should now see the GIF split up into separate layers, but they’re still sequenced as an animation. To view it, select the Window tab on the top bar and choose “Timeline”. This will open a new panel at the bottom of your screen, with the full animation. Select any frame in this panel and press space bar to view the GIF.
4. Now, select the top layer in the Layers panel so that text is visible throughout the animation. Choose the Text tool from the left toolbar, and then draw a box in the area where you want the text to go. Photoshop gives you full control over the font, size, color, and alignment of your text.
5. When you’ve finished editing the text box, a new text layer should appear above your GIF layers. If it’s somewhere in the middle, just drag it to the top. Click on the Timeline and press spacebar to watch your new GIF. If you’re happy with how it looks, save it by choosing “Save for Web…” from the File tab. Now spread your GIF across the web!
Adding Text with an Online Service
Although free online services like GifGifs and EZGifs offer a much faster way to add text, they don’t provide much control over the final product. Still, they’re fine if you’re looking for a quick fix.
Simply upload a GIF from your hard drive, or paste in a link to a GIF that is currently accessible on the web. Depending on the site, you might be able to customize the font or size, as well as drag the text box where you want it on the clip. When you’re happy with how the text looks, the service will allow you to download an updated GIF file.