Create animated GIF from images on Mac

You may already know how to convert image file types using Preview on Mac. Open any photos, pictures in Preview, go to File > Export, then click the Format pop-up menu to choose an output file type including JPEG, JPEG 2000, PDF, PNG, PSD, TIFF, and others. But there are some hidden features you may not know yet.

How to save an image as GIF in Preview?

When you open the Format drop-down menu in the Save As or Export As dialog, you can only access and choose one of the following image formats: HEIC, JPEG, JPEG-2000, OpenEXR, PDF, PNG, TIFF. So how can we save an image as GIF or convert images to animated GIF file in Preview?

The key to unlocking supplementary image format choices entails press the Option key while clicking the Format list within the Save or Export dialog box. Go to File > Export…, the Export As window pops up, press and hold the Option key on your keyboard and click on the Format menu to expose all image file types. You can now find more additional image formats such as GIF, ICNS, KTX, Microsoft BMP, Microsoft Icon, Photoshop, PBM/PGM/PPM, PostScript, PVRTC, and TGA.

Choose GIF as the output format and follow on-screen tips to export an image as GIF from Preview onto your Mac.

Is it possible to create animated GIF from images with Preview on Mac?

You can use above method to turn an image from other format, say JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, HEIC, into GIF format on Mac. But they would be individual GIFs, meaning you can’t combine multiple images and turn them into a single GIF file.

The trick we have found is to convert all images to one PDF file first; then export the PDF file as GIF so as to create animated GIF file from several still photos or pictures on Mac.

Step 1. Convert several images to a PDF

Import the first image into Preview on Mac, go to File > Export as PDF, the Save As dialog pops up where you can choose a file name, select a location and folder, then hit the Save button to export the selected image as PDF file from Preview to your Mac.

After that open the newly created PDF file in Preview. Go to Edit > Insert > Page from File…, choose the rest image files and insert them as pages into the PDF file. Finally go to save the PDF file. In this way, all images, photos, pictures are converted into pages in a single PDF file.

preview mac edit pdf - insert page

Bonus tips:

  • You can show the Thumbnails panel on the right sidebar of Preview from Preview > View > Thumbnails menu.
  • You can opt to drag images from Finder to the Preview Thumbnails panel to insert additional photos, pictures into PDF file as individual PDF pages.
  • In fact, you can make use of one of the quick actions in Finder to create PDF from several images on Mac. It is probably the easiest way you can make a PDF from multiple photos, pictures on Mac.

Step 2. Export PDF as GIF

Open the new PDF file which consists of all your image files in Preview. Go to File > Export…. When the Export As window pops up, press and hold the Option key on your keyboard and click on the Format menu to expose all image file types, and choose GIF. Hit Save button to export a PDF as GIF from Preview to your Mac.

export PDF as GIF, convert pdf to gif using Preview app on Mac

Preview animated GIF on Mac

Once the GIF file generated, we can use Preview to open it, but we will lose the animation in Preview. Check out these two methods to play animated GIF files on Mac for other easy solutions.

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