An animated GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) file is a graphic image on a Web page that moves - for example, a twirling icon or a banner with a hand that waves or letters that magically get larger. They are frequently used in Web advertisement banners.
All animated GIFs have the file extension ".gif". This means that, when the files are saved, the computer automatically adds ".gif" to the end of the file name. For example, if I named a file "bunnycarrot", it would be saved as "bunnycarrot.gif"
Still image files contain only one picture. Animated GIF files contain a set of images that are presented in a specified order. These images can either loop endlessly or they can have action that stops at the end of a picture sequence, telling a miniature story.
While Java, Flash, and other tools can be used to achieve the same effects as an animated GIF, animated GIFs are generally easier to create than comparable images with Java or Flash and usually smaller in size (thus faster to display).
Click on the still image above to see the animated GIF version. Press the back button to return to this page.