Have you ever been on a page with a ton of animated GIF’s, and all you’re trying to do is read the content? It can get quite distracting, but if you’re using Firefox or Internet Explorer just hit the ESC key. Doing so will immediately pause all of the animated GIF images on the page. Go ahead, try it with this image:

Stick Figure Animated GIF

The only bad part about pausing the images using the ESC key is that there’s no way to have them resume without refreshing the page. :(

One thing that I’ve never understood about browsers is why they don’t have a play, pause, and restart options on the right-click menu for GIF animations. That would be a really nice feature to have, but Firefox and Opera users do have a few advanced settings for GIF animations:

–Firefox Users Only–

In Firefox you can also completely disable GIF animations, or only allow them to play through one time. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. In the Location Bar type about:config and hit Enter
  2. Type “animation” in the Filter field (to quickly find the needed preference)
  3. Double-click the image.animation_mode line and edit it to one of the following:
    • none — will prevent image animation
    • once — will let the image animate once
    • normal (default) — will allow it to play over and over

–Opera Users Only–

If you want to completely disable GIF animations in Opera here’s what you have to do:

  1. In the Location Bar type opera:config#Multimedia|ShowAnimation and hit Enter
  2. Uncheck the box next to Show Animation, and then save the settings