Preview: Extracting Frames from Animated GIFs

If you’ve spent any time at all on Reddit, Tumblr, or other such sites, you’re probably familiar with animated GIFs. 

You may have wondered, though, how you could break one apart into its individual frames (or even just view the frames separately if there happened to be a detail that you’d like to focus on). Your Mac actually has a built-in way to do that using Preview, which is pretty darned awesome.

So to check it out, first find the GIF you’d like to use on the Web. When you do, right- or Control-click it and pick either “Save Image As” or “Save Image to the Desktop.”

This is using Safari, but Firefox and Chrome have similar commands available when you right-click an image.

Then find the file you’ve just saved and double-click it to open it into Preview. If for some reason your GIF is opening into another program, you can right-click it, choose “Open With,” and pick Preview from the list. Anyway, when you've got it open, you should see a series of thumbnails down the left-hand side of the window.

It's like you can see the moment that the bothers stop being given.

Press Option-Command-2 (which is the shortcut for View> Thumbnails) if you don't see them, or select the proper option from the toolbar’s "View" drop-down.

And that’s it! Each of those thumbnails represents a frame of the animated GIF, so you can drag a frame out to the Desktop to create a separate file of it…

…or you can right-click one of the thumbnails and pick “Export As” if you wanna make sure you’ve got it in a specific format. 

Neat! Now you can be sure to save all of your favorite frames from those cat GIFs you love so much. C'mon, now, I know that ain't just me. I think the Internet is practically powered by images of cats.