CG4: Animated GIFs Only Animate in Web Browsers

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Article ID: 191440 - View products that this article applies to.
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If you insert an animated GIF (CompuServe Graphics Interchange Format) image into a client application's document such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft Publisher 98, only the first frame of the animated GIF is displayed. However, once the document is converted to HyperText Markup Language (HTML) format and displayed in a Web browser capable of playing the animation, the frames that comprise the animated GIF play and appear animated.

You can view the animation sequence of an animated GIF by clicking the Play button when you are viewing the animated GIF in Clip Gallery 4.0. Although Clip Gallery 4.0 allows you to play the animated GIF, Clip Gallery does not provide any play capability for the client application.


The animated GIF is intended for use within a Web browser capable of displaying each frame that comprises the animation sequence. Microsoft Clip Gallery 4.0 provides the capability for displaying the animation to allow you to preview how the animation sequence will appear when the GIF is displayed in a Web browser capable of playing the frame sequence.

Client applications that provide web authoring capabilities do not contain functionality that allows the frames of an animated GIF to be played. Hence, they display the first frame of the animated GIF only. Client applications, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Publisher as well as other programs, are designed to display a static image, which is the first frame of an animated GIF.


Clip Gallery 4.0 is a media cataloging program that works with any application that allows the use of an Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) server. However, Clip Gallery is intended to provide a means of cataloging clip art, motion, and audio content for use within client applications rather than as a mechanism for playing animated GIFs or movie formats, such as Audio Video Interleave (AVI).

The CompuServe Graphics Interchange Format version 89a allows a single GIF file to contain multiple pictures. If a GIF file contains several pictures, and there are only slight changes between each picture, that file is often called an "animated GIF."

Many Internet browsers (such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator) are specially designed so that when they display a GIF file that contains multiple pictures, they display the individual pictures in sequence.

Unlike the Microsoft Video for Windows (.avi) and Apple QuickTime Movie formats, the GIF format is primarily designed to display static pictures, not for animation. The most common reason to create an animated GIF is to provide multimedia effects to HTML documents on the World Wide Web. For this reason, the only types of programs that display the animation effects fall into one of these categories:

  • Web browsers
  • Animated GIF editing programs (such as Microsoft GIF Animator, which ships with Microsoft FrontPage 98)
  • Media cataloging programs (such as Microsoft Clip Gallery 4.0, which ships with Microsoft Publisher 98.)
Very few programs not in one of these categories display animated GIF files as animated.

Although Help within the various Microsoft programs discusses the animated GIF to some degree, the behavior of the animated GIF within a client program may not be specific. For example, there may exist certain computer configurations that allow you to preview the animation sequence of a GIF within a client application. However, the intended behavior of an animated GIF within a client program is to display the first frame of the image rather then playing the sequenced frame set.

Please refer to the client program's online documentation to determine how to export or save the file as HTML to ensure the animation sequence of an animated GIF will display within a Web browser capable of displaying the animation.

For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
191396 PUB98: Animated GIFs Animate in Programs Supporting Animation

154814 PUB97: Animated GIFs Don't Animate After Exporting as HTML
Please refer to your Web browser documentation to determine if your browser is capable of playing the animated GIF.


Article ID: 191440 - Last Review: September 11, 2002 - Revision: 1.0
  • Microsoft Clip Gallery 4.0
kbgraphic kbhtml kbprb KB191440
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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