It’s not going to win them a Noble Prize, but the creators of a new web app called have done something that has lots of web geeks marveling: they came up with a drop-dead simple way to create an animated GIF from a short clip of a YouTube video. How simple? Anyone who knows how to type three letters can do it. As we’ve explained before, lightweight animated GIFs don’t all have to be about cats doing crazy things. For example, you can use them to create short, lightweight animations for a how-to blog post.

Come to think of it, that’s what I’m doing in this post. Here’s how it works.

1. Find a YouTube video

For this example, I’ve found a video that a bicycle shop might share on its website about adjusting a back derailleur (a fancy name for the part that shifts gears on a bike). Note where I’ve placed the arrow in the web page’s URL. That’s related to the next point.


2. Insert the three letters “GIF” at the beginning of the YouTube URL and tap or click the “enter” or “return” key

Trust me, this little hack is as brilliant as it gets. As long as Google doesn’t claim the domain name is a trademark infringement, the creator of the tool has done something that is making developers ooh and ahh.


3. Set the start point and length of your desired GIF

Move the scroll bar to the location you want to start the animation and choose how many seconds from that location you would to include (the shorter the better as you want to keep the gif lightweight. Name it and click or tap the submit button.


4. Copy the GIF to your desktop

Once you see the GIF in the next screen, drag it to your desktop (or do whatever your browser or operating system does to handle downloading web photos to your computer). The file on your desktop is an animated GIF. You’re a genius!


(Create some GIFs that spotlight your business and we may include them in a future post. Upload them to Twitter and let us know by including the username @SmallBusiness.)

(For the record, as we’ve explained, recommends you pronounce the term GIF like the first part of the word Gift, not like the peanut butter.)