How I Compress GIFs for Medium — Part 1

Compressing GIFs using open source tools

It’s pronounced GIF

A lot of websites have limits on the file size of GIFs that users can upload. In the case of this article we’re focusing on Medium, which has a limit of 5 MB. A smaller file size usually means lower quality, but sometimes you just really need a high quality GIF for your blogpost, whether it’s for aesthetic or functional purposes.

Some websites have created workarounds for this, like Imgur which uses the .gifv format, which is really just an h.264 file wrapped in a different container, which allows for GIFs to be viewed at much higher quality with smaller file sizes. Unfortunately Medium does not make use of this format, so if you want to upload a GIF that retains quality you’ll have to compress it.

I have a few main ways I prefer to compress GIFs, and in part 1 of this series I’m demonstrating using open source tools in the command line.

How To Compress a GIF (for free)

If you are comfortable using homebrew and working with the command line, simple install imagemagick and gifsicle using:

brew install imagemagickbrew install gifsicle

Next week I’ll be demonstrating how to do the same thing in Adobe Photoshop. Using Photoshop is more user friendly as it uses a GUI and is a popular tool, however it does cost money so I wanted to present the open source option first.

Click here to read part 2.



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Arthur Wilton

Arthur Wilton


Software Developer and Video/Post Production Professional. Recent graduate of Flatiron School.