Tech Tip: Making Your Messages Really Move

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Q. What’s the fastest way to get animated GIFs into text messages?

A. Top speeds depend on various factors, like the hardware, software and user involvement. However, using a dedicated keyboard that taps into a ready library of GIF files is often a speedy way to send a visual response in a text message, a Twitter post or a conversation in the Slack communications service. Animated GIFs — those looping bits of video often taken from movies, TV shows or viral clips circulating around the web — can also be found in online libraries with links for easy sharing in messages or to social media sites.


The Facebook Messenger app can send GIF files with Google’s Gboard keyboard. Credit The New York Times

Keyboard apps with shortcuts to animated image collections (alongside the traditional QWERTY keys) are one way to share your visual responses more quickly because you do not have to jump out to a website to find a GIF and its link to share. Apps in this category include the GIF Keyboard app for Android and iOS, but you can find other by searching. The site, which houses one of the most-used libraries of animated images on the web, has several GIF-related apps, including Giphy Keys for iOS and its Giphy app for Android and iOS.

Google’s Gboard keyboard app for Android and iOS devices has shortcuts to animated GIF files and emoji characters — tap the emoji icon at the bottom of the screen and then tap GIF to get to the image repository. Apple’s Messages app for iOS 10 can save and send GIF files when you are composing a message. Tap the gray arrow next to the message-input field, then on the App Store icon to see the available collection.

The PopKey app for Mac and Windows brings quick access to animated GIFs to the computer; an iOS version is also available. Copying and pasting an image’s URL from a website specializing in animated images into messages is another way to share.

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