Why record a screencast when you can use a gif?

Benefits of Animated Gifs

  • Gifs are smaller in filesize. All of the images on this page add up to less than one megabyte.

  • Gifs can be shared, embedded in iMessages, embedded in emails, and generally posted everywhere.

  • Gifs are bitesized, which lends them to be a) highly useful, and b) able to be autoplayed without being very annoying.

I really think the latter point is key though. When I see a screencast I roll my eyes. I know it has audio, and welcome screens, and tons of other stuff. I'd rather just read text. But a gif shows me before I have even processed what it is. It just works.

Previously, creating an animated gif to demonstrate your product wasn't really that much less work than simply recording a fancy screencast.

However, this is no longer the case with a fantastic (albeit ancient looking - it is still under development!) application called LICEcap.

Capturing a gif with LICEcap:


Launch the application and drag the window to encapsulate what you wish to animate.


Click record, choose a file name, and then use your application! anything in the window (that persists in the foreground) will be saved as an animated gif video. When you're finished, just tap Stop.

For example, the video we just recorded (uhm, the video in the video) looks like this:

capture userfox

And you're done! Simply upload the image to an image provider of your choice, and share away! I'd capture this action too (using the how-did-i-live-without-you application, CloudApp) but a technical limitation of Licecap prevents you from dragging the recording window over the menu bar.

You can download LICEcap here.

And discuss this on Hacker News!