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gifsicle - manipulates GIF images and animations


gifsicle [options, frames, and filenames]...


gifsicle is a powerful command-line program for creating, editing, manipulating, and
getting information about GIF images and animations.

Gifsicle normally processes input GIF files according to its command line options and
writes the result to the standard output. The -i option, for example, tells gifsicle to
interlace its inputs:

gifsicle -i < pic.gif > interlaced-pic.gif

Gifsicle is good at creating and manipulating GIF animations. By default, it combines two
or more input files into a “flipbook” animation:

gifsicle pic1.gif pic2.gif pic3.gif > animation.gif

Use options like --delay, --loopcount, and --optimize to tune your animations.

To modify GIF files in place, use the --batch option. With --batch, gifsicle will modify
the files you specify instead of writing a new file to the standard output. To interlace
all the GIFs in the current directory, you could say:

gifsicle --batch -i *.gif

New users may want to skip to the Examples section at the end.


Concepts are on the left, relevant gifsicle options are on the right.

Animations, changing frame selections, frame changes, etc.
disposal --disposal
looping --loopcount
portions of frame selections
smaller --optimize, --colors
speed --delay
Bad output --careful
Background color --background
Colors, changing --change-color, --use-colormap, --dither, --transform-colormap
reducing number --colors, --dither, --gamma
Comments --comment
Extensions --extension, --app-extension, --extension-info
File size --optimize, --unoptimize, --colors
Image transformations
cropping --crop, --crop-transparency
flipping --flip-*
resizing --resize, --scale
rotating --rotate-*
Grayscale --use-colormap
Interlacing --interlace
Positioning frames --position
Screen, logical --logical-screen
Selecting frames frame selections (like '#0')
Transparency --transparent
Warnings --no-warnings


gifsicle's command line consists of GIF input files and options. Most options start with a
dash (-) or plus (+); frame selections, a kind of option, start with a number sign (#).
Anything else is a GIF input file.

gifsicle reads and processes GIF input files in order. If no GIF input file is given, or
you give the special filename ‘-’, it reads from the standard input.

gifsicle exits with status 0 if there were no errors and status 1 otherwise.


Every option has a long form, ‘--long-descriptive-name’. You don't need to type the whole
long descriptive name, just enough to make it unambiguous.

Some options also have a short form, ‘-X’. You can combine short options if they don't
take arguments: ‘-IIb’ is the same as ‘-I -I -b’. But be careful with options that do
take arguments: ‘-cblah’ means ‘-c blah’, not ‘-c -b -l -a -h’.

Many options also have a converse, ‘--no-option’, which turns off the option. You can turn
off a short option ‘-X’ by saying ‘+X’ instead.

Mode Options
Mode options tell gifsicle what kind of output to generate. There can be at most one, and
it must precede any GIF inputs.

--merge, -m
Combine all GIF inputs into one file with multiple frames and write that file to the
standard output. This is the default mode.

--batch, -b
Modify each GIF input in place by reading and writing to the same filename. (GIFs
read from the standard input are written to the standard output.)

--explode, -e
Create an output GIF for each frame of each input file. The output GIFs are named
‘xxx.000’, ‘xxx.001’, and so on, where ‘xxx’ is the name of the input file (or
whatever you specified with ‘--output’) and the numeric extension is the frame

--explode-by-name, -E
Same as --explode, but write any named frames to files ‘xxx.name’ instead of
‘xxx.frame-number’. Frames are named using the ‘--name’ option.

General Options
General options control the information gifsicle prints and where it writes its output.
The info options and --verbose can be turned off with ‘--no-X’.

--info, -I
Print a human-readable description of each input GIF to the standard output, or
whatever file you specify with -o. This option suppresses normal output, and cannot
be combined with mode options like --batch. If you give two --info or -I options,
however, information is printed to standard error, and normal output takes place as

--color-info, --cinfo
Like --info, but also print information about input files' colormaps.

--extension-info, --xinfo
Like --info, but also print any unrecognized GIF extensions in a hexdump(1)-like

--size-info, --sinfo
Like --info, but also print information about compressed image sizes.

--help, -h
Print usage information and exit.

-o file
--output file
Send output to file. The special filename ‘-’ means the standard output.

--verbose, -V
Print progress information (files read and written) to standard error.

--no-warnings, -w
Suppress all warning messages.

Exit with status 1 when encountering a very erroneous GIF. Default is to muddle on.

Print the version number and some short non-warranty information and exit.

Write slightly larger GIFs that avoid bugs in some other GIF implementations. Some
Java and Internet Explorer versions cannot display the correct, minimal GIFs that
Gifsicle produces. Use the --careful option if you are having problems with a
particular image.

Conserve memory usage at the expense of processing time. This may be useful if you
are processing large GIFs on a computer without very much memory.

Allow input files to contain multiple concatenated GIF images. If a filename appears
multiple times on the command line, gifsicle will read a new image from the file each
time. This option can help scripts avoid the need for temporary files. For example,
to create an animated GIF with three frames with different delays, you might run
"gifsicle --nextfile -d10 - -d20 - -d30 - > out.gif" and write the three GIF images,
in sequence, to gifsicle's standard input.

Like --nextfile, but read as many GIF images as possible from each file. This option
is intended for scripts. For example, to merge an unknown number of GIF images into a
single animation, run "gifsicle --multifile - > out.gif" and write the GIF images, in
sequence, to gifsicle's standard input. Any frame selections apply only to the last
file in the concatenation.

Frame Selections
A frame selection tells gifsicle which frames to use from the current input file. They are
useful only for animations, as non-animated GIFs only have one frame. Here are the
acceptable forms for frame specifications.

#num Select frame num. (The first frame is ‘#0’. Negative numbers count backwards
from the last frame, which is ‘#-1’.)
#num1-num2 Select frames num1 through num2.
#num1- Select frames num1 through the last frame.
#name Select the frame named name.

The ‘#’ character has special meaning for many shells, so you generally need to quote it.

For example,
gifsicle happy.gif "#0"
uses the first frame from happy.gif;
gifsicle happy.gif "#0-2"
uses its first three frames; and
gifsicle happy.gif "#-1-0"
uses its frames in reverse order (starting from frame #-1 -- the last frame -- and ending
at frame #0 -- the first).

The action performed with the selected frames depends on the current mode. In merge mode,
only the selected frames are merged into the output GIF. In batch mode, only the selected
frames are modified; other frames remain unchanged. In explode mode, only the selected
frames are exploded into output GIFs.

Frame Change Options
Frame change options insert new frames into an animation or replace or delete frames that
already exist. Some things -- for example, changing one frame in an animation -- are
difficult to express with frame selections, but easy with frame changes.

--delete frames [frames...]
Delete frames from the input GIF.

--insert-before frame other-GIFs
Insert other-GIFs before frame in the input GIF.

--append other-GIFs
Append other-GIFs to the input GIF.

--replace frames other-GIFs
Replace frames from the input GIF with other-GIFs.

Complete the current set of frame changes.

The frames arguments are frame selections (see above). These arguments always refer to
frames from the original input GIF. So, if ‘a.gif’ has 3 frames and ‘b.gif’ has one, this
gifsicle a.gif --delete "#0" --replace "#2" b.gif
will produce an output animation with 2 frames: ‘a.gif’ frame 1, then ‘b.gif’.

The other-GIFs arguments are any number of GIF input files and frame selections. These
images are combined in merge mode and added to the input GIF. The other-GIFs last until
the next frame change option, so this command replaces the first frame of ‘in.gif’ with
the merge of ‘a.gif’ and ‘b.gif’:
gifsicle -b in.gif --replace "#0" a.gif b.gif

This command, however, replaces the first frame of ‘in.gif’ with ‘a.gif’ and then
processes ‘b.gif’ separately:
gifsicle -b in.gif --replace "#0" a.gif --done b.gif

Warning: You shouldn't use both frame selections and frame changes on the same input GIF.

Image Options
Image options modify input images -- by changing their interlacing, transparency, and
cropping, for example. Image options have three forms: ‘--X’, ‘--no-X’, and ‘--same-X’.
The ‘--X’ form selects a value for the feature, the ‘--no-X’ form turns off the feature,
and the ‘--same-X’ form means that the feature's value is copied from each input. The
default is always ‘--same-X’. For example, -background="#0000FF" sets the background
color to blue, --no-background turns the background color off (by setting it to 0), and
--same-background uses input images' existing background colors. You can give each option
multiple times; for example,
gifsicle -b -O2 -i a.gif --same-interlace b.gif c.gif
will make ‘a.gif’ interlaced, but leave ‘b.gif’ and ‘c.gif’ interlaced only if they were

-B color
--background color
Set the output GIF's background to color. The argument can have the same forms as in
the --transparent option below.

--crop x1,y1-x2,y2
--crop x1,y1+widthxheight
Crop the following input frames to a smaller rectangular area. The top-left corner of
this rectangle is (x1,y1); you can give either the lower-right corner, (x2,y2), or
the width and height of the rectangle. In the x1,y1+widthxheight form, width and
height can be zero or negative. A zero dimension means the cropping area goes to the
edge of the image; a negative dimension brings the cropping area that many pixels
back from the image edge. For example, --crop 2,2+-2x-2 will shave 2 pixels off each
side of the input image. Cropping takes place before any rotation, flipping,
resizing, or positioning.

Crop any transparent borders off the following input frames. This happens after any
cropping due to the --crop option. It works on the raw input images; for example, any
transparency options have not yet been applied.

Flip the following frames horizontally or vertically.

Turn interlacing on.

-S widthxheight
--logical-screen widthxheight
Set the output logical screen to widthxheight. --no-logical-screen sets the output
logical screen to the size of the largest output frame, while --same-logical-screen
sets the output logical screen to the largest input logical screen. --screen is a
synonym for --logical-screen.

-p x,y
--position x,y
Set the following frames' positions to (x,y). --no-position means --position 0,0.
Normally, --position x,y places every succeeding frame exactly at x,y. However, if an
entire animation is input, x,y is treated as the position for the animation.

Rotate the following frames by 90, 180, or 270 degrees. --no-rotate turns off any

-t color
--transparent color
Make color transparent in the following frames. Color can be a colormap index
(0-255), a hexadecimal color specification (like "#FF00FF" for magenta), or slash- or
comma-separated red, green and blue values (each between 0 and 255).

Extension Options
Extension options add non-visual information to the output GIF. This includes names,
comments, and generic extensions.

--app-extension app-name extension
Add an application extension named app-name and with the value extension to the
output GIF. --no-app-extensions removes application extensions from the input

-c text
--comment text
Add a comment, text, to the output GIF. The comment will be placed before the next
frame in the stream. --no-comments removes comments from the input images.

--extension number extension
Add an extension numbered number and with the value extension to the output GIF.
Number can be in decimal, octal, hex, or it can be a single character like ‘n’, whose
ASCII value is used. --no-extensions (or +x) removes extensions from the input

-n text
--name text
Set the next frame's name to text. This name is stored as an extension in the output
GIF (extension number 0xCE, followed by the characters of the frame name).
--no-names removes name extensions from the input images.

Animation Options
Animation options apply to GIF animations, or to individual frames in GIF animations. As
with image options, most animation options have three forms, ‘--X’, ‘--no-X’, and
--same-X’, and you can give animation options multiple times; for example,
gifsicle -b a.gif -d50 "#0" "#1" -d100 "#2" "#3"
sets the delays of frames 0 and 1 to 50, and frames 2 and 3 to 100.

-d time
--delay time
Set the delay between frames to time in hundredths of a second.

-D method
--disposal method
Set the disposal method for the following frames to method. A frame's disposal
method determines how a viewer should remove the frame when it's time to display the
next. Method can be a number between 0 and 7 (although only 0 through 3 are
generally meaningful), or one of these names: none (leave the frame visible for
future frames to build upon), asis (same as "none"), background (or bg) (replace the
frame with the background), or previous (replace the frame with the area from the
previous displayed frame). --no-disposal means --disposal=none.

Set the Netscape loop extension to count. Count is an integer, or forever to loop
endlessly. If you supply a --loopcount option without specifying count, Gifsicle will
use forever. --no-loopcount (the default) turns off looping.

Set the loop count to one less than the number of times you want the animation to
run. An animation with --no-loopcount will show every frame once; --loopcount=1 will
loop once, thus showing every frame twice; and so forth. Note that --loopcount=0 is
equivalent to --loopcount=forever, not --no-loopcount.

Optimize output GIF animations for space. Level determines how much optimization is
done; higher levels take longer, but may have better results. There are currently
three levels:

-O1 Stores only the changed portion of each image. This is the default.
-O2 Also uses transparency to shrink the file further.
-O3 Try several optimization methods (usually slower, sometimes better results).

Other optimization flags provide finer-grained control.

Preserve empty transparent frames (they are dropped by default).

You may also be interested in other options for shrinking GIFs, such as -k and

Unoptimize GIF animations into an easy-to-edit form.

GIF animations are often optimized (see --optimize) to make them smaller and faster
to load, which unfortunately makes them difficult to edit. --unoptimize changes
optimized input GIFs into unoptimized GIFs, where each frame is a faithful
representation of what a user would see at that point in the animation.

Image Transformation Options
Image transformation options apply to entire GIFs as they are read or written. They can be
turned off with ‘--no-option’.

--resize widthxheight
Resize the output GIF to widthxheight. Either width or height may be an underscore
‘_’. If the argument is widthx_, then the output GIF is scaled to width pixels wide
without changing its aspect ratio. An analogous operation is performed for _xheight.
Resizing happens after all input frames have been combined and before optimization.
Resizing uses logical screen dimensions; if the input stream has an unusual logical
screen (many GIF displayers ignore logical screens), you may want to provide
--no-logical-screen (or +S) to reset it so gifsicle uses image dimensions instead.
See also --resize-method.

--resize-width width
--resize-height height
Like --resize widthx_ and --resize _xheight respectively.

--resize-fit widthxheight
Like --resize, but resizes the output GIF to fit within a rectangle with dimensions
widthxheight. The GIF's aspect ratio remains unchanged. No resize is performed if
the GIF already fits within the given rectangle. Either width or height may be an
underscore ‘_’, which is treated as infinity.

--resize-fit-width width
--resize-fit-height height
Like --resize-fit widthx_ and --resize-fit _xheight respectively.

--scale Xfactor[xYfactor]
Scale the output GIF's width and height by Xfactor and Yfactor. If Yfactor is not
given, it defaults to Xfactor. Scaling happens after all input frames have been
combined and before optimization.

--resize-method method
Set the method used to resize images. The ‘sample’ method runs very quickly, but when
shrinking images, it produces noisy results. The ‘mix’ method is somewhat slower,
but produces better-looking results. The default method is currently ‘mix’.

Details: The resize methods differ most when shrinking images. The ‘sample’ method is
a point sampler. Each pixel position in the output image maps to exactly one pixel
position in the input, so when shrinking, full rows and columns from the input are
dropped. The other methods use all input pixels, which generally produces better-
looking images. The ‘box’ method, a box sampler, is faster than the more complex
filters and produces somewhat sharper results, but there will be anomalies when
shrinking images by a small amount in one dimension. (Some output pixels will
correspond to exactly 1 input row or column, while others will correspond to exactly
2 input rows or columns.) The ‘mix’ method is a full bilinear interpolator. This is
slower and produces somewhat blurrier results, but avoids such anomalies.

Gifsicle also supports several complex resamplers, including Catmull-Rom cubic
resampling (‘catrom’), the Mitchell-Netravali filter (‘mitchell’), a 2-lobed Lanczos
filter (‘lanczos2’), and a 3-lobed Lanczos filter (‘lanczos3’). These filters are
slower still, but can give sharper, better results.

--resize-colors n
Allow Gifsicle to add intermediate colors when resizing images. Normally, Gifsicle's
resize algorithms use input images' color palettes without changes. When shrinking
images with very few colors (e.g., pure black-and-white images), adding intermediate
colors can improve the results. Example: --resize-colors 64 allows Gifsicle to add
intermediate colors for images that have fewer than 64 input colors.

Color Options
Color options apply to entire GIFs as they are read or written. They can be turned off
with ‘--no-option’.

-k num
--colors num
Reduce the number of distinct colors in each output GIF to num or less. Num must be
between 2 and 256. This can be used to shrink output GIFs or eliminate any local
color tables.

Normally, an adaptive group of colors is chosen from the existing color table. You
can affect this process with the --color-method option or by giving your own colormap
with --use-colormap. Gifsicle may need to add an additional color (making num+1 in
all) if there is transparency in the image.

--color-method method
Determine how a smaller colormap is chosen. ‘diversity’, the default, is xv(1)'s
diversity algorithm, which uses a strict subset of the existing colors and generally
produces good results. ‘blend-diversity’ is a modification of this: some color
values are blended from groups of existing colors. ‘median-cut’ is the median cut
algorithm described by Heckbert. --method is a synonym for --color-method.

When --dither is on and the colormap is changed, combinations of colors are used to
approximate missing colors. This looks better, but makes bigger files and can cause
animation artifacts, so it is off by default.

Specify a dithering algorithm with the optional method argument. The default,
floyd-steinberg’, uses Floyd-Steinberg error diffusion. This usually looks best, but
can cause animation artifacts, because dithering choices will vary from frame to
frame. Gifsicle also supports ordered dithering algorithms that avoid animation
artifacts. The ‘ro64’ mode uses a large, random-looking pattern and generally
produces good results. The ‘o3’, ‘o4’, and ‘o8’ modes use smaller, more regular
patterns. The ‘ordered’ mode chooses a good ordered dithering algorithm. For special
effects, try the halftone modes ‘halftone’, ‘squarehalftone’, and ‘diagonal’. Some
modes take optional parameters using commas. The halftone modes take a cell size and
a color limit: ‘halftone,10,3’ creates 10-pixel wide halftone cells where each cell
uses up to 3 colors.

--gamma gamma
Set the gamma correction to gamma, which can be a real number or ‘srgb’. Roughly
speaking, higher numbers exaggerate shadows and lower numbers exaggerate highlights.
The default is the function defined by the standard sRGB color space, which usually
works well. (Its effects are similar to --gamma=2.2.) Gifsicle uses gamma correction
when choosing a color palette (--colors) and when dithering (--dither).

--change-color color1 color2
Change color1 to color2 in the following input GIFs. (The color arguments have the
same forms as in the -t option.) Change multiple colors by giving the option multiple
times. Color changes don't interfere with one another, so you can safely swap two
colors with ‘--change-color color1 color2 --change-color color2 color1’. They all
take effect as an input GIF is read. --no-change-color cancels all color changes.

--transform-colormap command
Command should be a shell command that reads from standard input and writes to
standard output. Each colormap in the output GIF is translated into text colormap
format (see --use-colormap below) and piped to the command. The output that command
generates (which should also be in text colormap format) will replace the input
colormap. The replacement doesn't consider color matching, so pixels that used color
slot n in the input will still use color slot n in the output.

--use-colormap colormap
Change the image to use colormap. Each pixel in the image is changed to the closest
match in colormap (or, if --dither is on, to a dithered combination of colors in
colormap). Colormap can be web for the 216-color “Web-safe palette”; gray for
grayscale; bw for black-and-white; or the name of a file. That file should either be
a text file (the format is described below) or a GIF file, whose global colormap will
be used. If --colors=N is also given, an N-sized subset of colormap will be used.

Text colormap files use this format:

; each non-comment line represents one color, "red green blue"
; each component should be between 0 and 255
0 0 0 ; like this
255 255 255
; or use web hex notation
#ffffff ; like this


First, let's create an animation, ‘anim.gif’:

gifsicle a.gif b.gif c.gif d.gif > anim.gif

This animation will move very quickly: since we didn't specify a delay, a browser will
cycle through the frames as fast as it can. Let's slow it down and pause .5 seconds
between frames, using the --delay option.

gifsicle --delay 50 a.gif b.gif c.gif d.gif > anim.gif

If we also want the GIF to loop three times, we can use --loopcount:

gifsicle -d 50 --loop=3 a.gif b.gif c.gif d.gif > anim.gif

(Rather than type --delay again, we used its short form, -d. Many options have short
forms; you can see them by running ‘gifsicle --help’. We also abbreviated --loopcount to
--loop, which is OK since no other option starts with ‘loop’.)

To explode ‘anim.gif’ into its component frames:

gifsicle --explode anim.gif
ls anim.gif*
anim.gif anim.gif.000 anim.gif.001 anim.gif.002 anim.gif.003

To optimize ‘anim.gif’:

gifsicle -b -O2 anim.gif

To change the second frame of ‘anim.gif’ to ‘x.gif’:

gifsicle -b --unoptimize -O2 anim.gif --replace "#1" x.gif

--unoptimize is used since ‘anim.gif’ was optimized in the last step. Editing individual
frames in optimized GIFs is dangerous without --unoptimize; frames following the changed
frame could be corrupted by the change. Of course, this might be what you want.

Note that --unoptimize and --optimize can be on simultaneously. --unoptimize affects
input GIF files, while --optimize affects output GIF files.

To print information about the first and fourth frames of ‘anim.gif’:

gifsicle -I "#0" "#3" < anim.gif

To make black the transparent color in all the GIFs in the current directory, and also
print information about each:

gifsicle -bII --trans "#000000" *.gif

Giving -I twice forces normal output to occur. With only one -I, the GIFs would not be

To change ‘anim.gif’ to use a 64-color subset of the Web-safe palette:

gifsicle -b --colors=64 --use-col=web anim.gif

To make a dithered black-and-white version of ‘anim.gif’:

gifsicle --dither --use-col=bw anim.gif > anim-bw.gif

To overlay one GIF atop another -- producing a one-frame output GIF that looks like the
superposition of the two inputs -- use gifsicle twice:

gifsicle bottom.gif top.gif | gifsicle -U "#1" > result.gif

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