‘Tis the Season for #ArchivesGIFgiving

It’s almost time for the December Archives Hashtag Party on Friday, December 14! Pour yourself some eggnog and get in the festive mood with #ArchivesGIFgiving.

In the spirit of the season, we’ll  be “giving” GIFs to other GLAM institutions. We hope you’ll share a GIF from your holdings, tag a fellow organization with a GIF they’ll love, or just give people something to smile about. You can window-shop for premade GIFs on the National Archives’ GIPHY channel or get creative and make your own. (And don’t be afraid to re-GIFt our GIFs!)

Christmas Tree Obama GIF by US National Archives - Find & Share on GIPHY
White House Christmas Tree, 2016. GIF via USNationalArchives on GIPHY

Boomerangs, video clips, and any other moving images are also great for #ArchivesGIFgiving. We’d love to see your collections, your staff, or buildings—anything that brings you holiday joy.

Make Your Own GIFS

Never made a GIF? Not to worry—we’ve put together a variety of easy GIF-making hacks here. We’re going to look at GIPHY, SnagIt, Photoshop, and Boomerang tips in this post, but a quick web search for “making animated gifs” will give you lots of other options, depending on what works for you. (Please note, the National Archives does not endorse any non-Federal entities, products, or services mentioned in this blog.)


One way to start checking items off your GIFt list is via GIPHY. If you have a short YouTube video that’s 15 minutes or less, you can enter the link into GIPHY’s GIF Maker to trim it into a short animated GIF. To start, click on the purple “Create” button at the top of GIPHY. Copy and paste the URL to a YouTube video, and use the trimming tool to clip the video for your GIF. Once you have a clip that you like, you can add tags to make your GIF easier to find. Select “Upload” and you’re done!


Photoshop and the image-capture software, SnagIt, are both used to create GIFs either separately or in tandem. Later versions of SnagIt have GIF-making built right in. If you’re working with an older edition you’ll need to start by taking a screencast of your video (there are plenty of handy tutorials online). Once you’ve saved your video file as an MP4, you can transform it into an animated GIF using Photoshop or other image editing tools.


Instagram’s Boomerang feature is another way to create quick, four-second moving clips. You can create boomerangs in Instagram itself by opening up a story and swiping left to the boomerang option.

Or, you can download a standalone Boomerang app from the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store. Instagram has some easy-to-follow instructions on how to create a Boomerang, but did you know you can use Boomerang to create a quick historic film gif?

First you need to open the film on your computer. For National Archives films, we suggest using the Catalog or our YouTube channel. You’ll want to make sure the film is as large as possible on your screen, and then navigate to the clip you want to record.

Next, open Boomerang on your phone. Line your phone up to capture just the film in the frame (you’ll want to make sure that only the film is visible and you’re not getting a piece of the computer monitor in there too). Capture the clip you want to create, and then save it to your phone!

Here’s a historic gif (from this film) that we mixed up using this Boomerang hack.

Still looking for GIF how-tos and ideas? Feel free to shop around these additional resources:

Using Premade GIFs

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the DIY approach? There are lots of pre-wrapped GIFs on GIPHY! The National Archives channel has over 400 GIFs uploaded and ready to share in tweets and Instagram posts.

In Twitter you can pull a GIF directly into your tweet by searching “ArchivesGIF” in the Add a GIF search box. Or, if you prefer, you can search GIPHY and download your favorites to make sure you’ve found the perfect GIFt for everyone on your list.

To use a Giphy GIF on Instagram, you’ll want to search in Giphy, then click on the Instagram icon under Share It! Giphy will convert the GIF to an .mp4 file and email it to you so it can be used in an Instagram post.

If you have other hacks you’d like to share with the community, let us know in the comments or email socialmedia@nara.gov.

DIY or off-the-shelf, regardless of how you celebrate, we can’t wait to see you at the #ArchivesGIFgiving party on December 14!

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