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

There Are 17 Comments

  1. This is pretty sweet. I never knew this…..

  2. Don’t feel bad…I just learned about it yesterday. ;)

  3. It is much easier in Opera using the quick preferences which are available since some years now. The magic key is F12 for quick preferences. You can not only disable gif + svg animations there but also JS, plugins and more. And reactivate them equally quick (although you need a reload to reactivate stuff).
    If you want to allow animations on a specific URL you can globally disable animations and select Site specific preferences with right click on the page and enable animations just for this site (and there you can enable / disable much more things of course).

  4. I was going to clarify a few points concerning Opera’s virtually unlimited ability to control web-page content, but I see ResearchWizard has already done so.
    I’ll just add that you can also put custom check-boxes on your toolbars to activate or inactivate content such as GIF animations with a simple click. Oh, you’re allergic to mice? Then program a keyboard shortcut of your choice to control content in Opera.
    Opera; if you haven’t tried it lately, you don’t know what you’re missing :D

  5. ResearchWizard wrote:
    It is much easier in Opera using the quick preferences which are available since some years now. The magic key is F12 for quick preferences. You can not only disable gif + svg animations there but also JS, plugins and more. And reactivate them equally quick (although you need a reload to reactivate stuff).

    Ahh, yes. I forgot about that. I was trying to focus a bit on globally disabling them though, but that is a good trick.

    Wandering electrons wrote:
    Opera; if you haven’t tried it lately, you don’t know what you’re missing :D

    I use Opera all of the time, in particular the latest 9.5 Beta. So I’m not missing anything. ;)

  6. Thanks, this is a very helpful tip.

  7. Another trick that I use in Firefox is simply to click and drag the image, it stops the animation for a while.

  8. Jyaire wrote:
    Another trick that I use in Firefox is simply to click and drag the image, it stops the animation for a while.

    That is actually a cool trick because once you stop dragging the image it will resume playing.

  9. In firefox 3, clicking in the url bar and hitting enter restarts from the point of pause.

  10. To pause, save them AND PLAY IN QUICK TIME VIEWER. This is the best solution I have found.

  11. In Firefox, continue just by pressing F5.

  12. Gähn !! it is as long as i know nown by all

  13. If you don’t want to use the ESC key or change settings in about:config then left click and hold the Windows Minimize button. You can also move the cursor off the minimize button as long as you keep the left mouse button held down. You should do this anyway before releasing the button in order to avoid actually minimizing the window. Once you release the button the animation will continue as normal.

  14. This doesn’t work for me (Firefox v23). Probably an obsolete function?

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