Killing the Animated GIF

I’m unsure when I entered the TARDIS but at some point recently animated GIFs (and the newer SVG format and others) made a strong resurgence on-line. I’ve seen them from the Atlantic On-line, Gizmodo, and an ever growing cadre of sites.

Basically these animated files are the modern equivalent of the flip book you or more likely your parents played with as a kid.

Animated GIFs were very popular in earlier days on the Internet. These digital flip books have many advantages, not the least of which are that they are relatively small and no extra software is needed to see them.

The major drawback is that they are incredibly distracting. Some browsers will let you hit the Esc key to stop them, but that doesn’t always work. If you’re like me, you’d just assume never see them animate. You’ll still see a picture but it will only be the first image in the file.

In Firefox there’s an easy fix to turn these pictures off.

  1. Open a new tab (File – New Tab)
  2. Type “about:config” in the location bar without the quotes
  3. Type “image.animation_mode” into the search field, again without quotes
  4. Double click on the “image.animation_mode” entry.
  5. In the dialog box that appears, delete the current value and type “none” in the field, again without quotes
  6. Click OK

In the Opera browser, open the Quick Preference (File – Quick Preferences). Remove the check mark from the “Enable GIF/SVG animation” or “Enable animated images” option.

In Internet Explorer go to Tools – Internet Options. Click the Advanced tab. Scroll down to the Multimedia section and deselect “Play Animations in webpages”. Click OK, then restart IE.

Any new animated graphics files won’t play in your browser.

Unfortunately there isn’t a similar fix for Google Chrome. You’ll have to install an extension like Stop Animations or Pause! Pause! Pause! or Paused!

What do you think about animated images in web pages? Let me know about that and if this page helped you out.