Reader Question: Using Animated GIFs with Apple Keynote 6.x

I had a reader recently ask how to use animated GIFs with Apple's new Keynote 6.0. For those who may not know, an animated GIF is a series of images that make up a very short (and usually very low-resolution) video. Animated GIFs became wildly popular in the 90's as the use of public web sites began to catch on. In most cases, these GIF files are meant to be goofy animations (borderline obnoxious). However, there are some real uses for them.

Problem: if you drag and drop an animated GIF onto a slide in Apple's latest version of Keynote (version 6.x), Keynote assumes that it's a non-animated (static) GIF image. In other words, the result is a still picture, not the animated GIF that you would expect to see. Even worse, because Keynote thinks that it's a static image, we don't have access to the video controls to make changes.

While animated GIFs are still supported in Keynote 6.0 and higher, it isn't exactly obvious how to use them. Fortunately, it actually is simple (once you see how it's done the first time).

To use an animated GIF, you first must change the file extension of the file from ".gif" to ".mov". This will trick Keynote into thinking that it's working with a movie file (which is technically true, since an animated GIF is a form of a movie file). To change the file extension, right-click on the file and choose "Rename file" (or you can highlight the file, wait a second, then select it again). Remove "gif" as the file extension and replace it with "mov". At this point, OS X will ask you to confirm the change.

Next, we just drag and drop the file into our Keynote slide. Because Keynote thinks that we are using a movie file, we will now have access to the movie controls (this is where we can set the looping option and whether it equines a click to begin playing the animation or not).

For those who learn better visually (like me), I've created a short video that will walk you through the process, step-by-step.

Posted on April 17, 2015 and filed under Design, How To, Mac.