Browse, play and control animated GIFs with 7GIF

They may be just about the most primitive form of computer animation there is, but animated GIFs can still be fun, and genuinely useful, so it’s a shame they’re not more widely supported on the PC. Most programs will just display the opening frame, at best, leaving you to guess at everything else.

There are ways around this, to some extent. Right-click a GIF in Explorer, for instance, select Open With > Internet Explorer, and a browser window will open and play the animation. This is a long way from being convenient, though, so if you’d like easier playback -- and a lot more besides -- then you’re sure to prefer 7GIF.

The program is lightweight, portable and entirely free. It’s also extremely easy to use, courtesy of a trimmed down interface which makes it look much like a part of Windows. And so, at a minimum, all you have to do is drag and drop an animated GIF onto the 7GIF window, then watch as it’s played back immediately.

You also get full control of the animation view. You can freely zoom in and out, for instance, or resize the animation to suit your needs. And Back and Next buttons step you through the images in your current folder, making 7GIF useful as a simple animated GIF browser.

Better still, the program provides plenty of frame-level options. At its simplest this means you can step backwards or forwards through an animation, one frame at a time. But you can also print the current frame at any time, while there are options to save the current, or all frames as separate images.

And a host of configuration options means the package can further be customized to suit your needs, perhaps associating it with GIF files, for instance, or setting its window to stay on top of others.

7GIF could be improved still further with a few minor tweaks, in particular relating to the interface. We would add tooltips to the toolbar, for instance, and maybe include a button to access the main menu (right now you’ll only see that if you think to right-click in the playback area).

These are fairly trivial issues, though, and for the most part 7GIF does its job very well. If you need an easier way to play back or explore animated GIFs then the program deserves a closer look.

© 1998-2014 BetaNews, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy.