Stupid Simple Mac Tips #68 – The Value of GIFs (and how to make ‘em!)

by | Mar 1, 2021

We’ve already explored CloudApp’s intuitive utilities for quickly sharing annotated images and personal videos, but this all-purpose program has another simple trick that enhances communication: GIFs.

If you’ve ever struggled to describe to someone how to follow steps on a computer, such as finding a file, changing a setting, or navigating a menu — wishing you could simply SHOW the way and save everyone some time, then learning how to create and share GIFs will be valuable to you.

Brief, animated, and perpetually looping – GIFs are ideal inserts for sharing screen actions or visually demonstrating step-by-step tasks, and CloudApp makes this easy.

Open your CloudApp menu, click on the GIF icon, select the relevant portion of your screen and hit “Start”. Perform the action(s) you wish to illustrate, hit “Finish” and a shareable cloud link is automatically copied to your clipboard for forwarding or insertion into another message. 

You can even use a GIF to demonstrate the making of a GIF:

The files can be up to 60 seconds long (requires a paid account), allowing you to record individual steps or whole processes – and if you’re using a Mac, you can add text to the clip for additional clarity.

I use them all the time to answer client emails, provide guidance in team messages, and illustrate blog posts (obviously)…these handy snippets are useful for much more than Internet memes. Consider using this feature in asynchronous communication where you find yourself typing outnumbered steps explaining something from your screen.

Whether you pronounce them with a hard “G” (GIF-t) or soft (Jif), you’ll let out a sigh of relief the next time you need to walk a client or colleague through an operation and you’re able to do this quickly and clearly with a GIF.