An easy guide to GIFs – graphics that catch attention

I love to learn new things.  I like posts that seem fun.  This fit the bill for me!  I get asked how I create these sort of posts more than anything else – and with Canva they are very easy to do!

What is a gif?

A GIF, or Graphical Interchange Format, is a bitmap image format that was invented on June 15 1987 by a US software writer called Steve Wilhite for CompuServe.

Gifs are highly compressed images that typically allow up to 8 bits per pixel for each image, which in total allow up to 256 colours across the image.

For comparison, a JPEG image can display up to 16 million colours and pretty much reaches the limits of the human eye.

Back when the internet was new, gifs were used extensively because they didn’t require much bandwidth.


How do I create these fun and eye-catching posts for Instagram and Facebook?

1. Create your final scene of the gif in canva.

Here’s mine asking for volunteers for Annual Sessions:

Note it is complete.  This is what the final frame of the picture will look like.

2. Make a copy in canva (you’ll want to have a copy in Canva of the final version in case something goes wrong and you have to start over).

3. Using the original final picture, remove each element in the reverse order that you want them to appear.  So, if you are writing out a sentence, remove the last words first. Each time you remove one element, download that picture.

Here’s some of those pictures, with various parts (the speech bubbles) removed:



4.  Now you will need to use a gif maker.  I use Giphy.  Create an account – and then click on “create a gif”.  Follow the instructions for uploading pictures.  I upload all of them at once (do not worry about the order yet).

5.  Take a look at the order of your pictures. They most likely are backwards, depending on how you uploaded them.  You will need to change the order, so words are added in order (or pictures in whatever order you like that makes sense).

6.  Take a look at the speed.  Can folks read it easily?  You want to make it fast enough to be seen quickly and not lose interest – but slow enough to read any words easily.

7.  Create the final gif.  Giphy will give you buttons for sharing, and you can also download the file (as a gif file) and upload yourself.


I mark all mine as “favorites” so I can find them later.  I often can reshare them from my phone.  Creating these is more time intensive – so I often create gifs with more “evergreen” content to use often.

Too many words are hard to read.  Short, simple Quaker quotes seem to work best in this format.

These are often the most shared post I create – especially if they are fun or silly.  I tend to use them for promoting events, or for noting special days like Quaker birthdays.

What gifs do you find most fun and popular in your news feed?  How might you use these to share news of your meeting’s ministries and message?


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