Microsoft Expands Animated GIF Support with Outlook 365

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Animated GIF support—or the lack thereof—in Microsoft Outlook has long been a thorn in the sides of email marketers. A favorite of email geeks and subscribers alike, animated GIFs allow for movement and excitement in an otherwise static medium. But desktop Outlook users have always been left in the dark when it comes to animated GIFs. That is until now.

The team at Microsoft announced that desktop Outlook will be getting an update to enable animated GIFs for Office 365 users starting in early February. It’s a long-awaited—and very welcome—change that will delight marketers and subscribers alike.

Outlook is committed to creating experiences that delight our customers and the new support for GIFs in Outlook for Windows fits just perfectly with this goal. Outlook is the one place people go to stay connected to people and businesses.  Now marketers can be confident that their email campaigns can carry on conversations with animation all the way through to their targeted audiences.

—Matthew McFadden, PM at Microsoft

The Details

Although Microsoft’s announcement focused on animated GIF usage in personal emails, marketers will be able to take advantage of the update, too. In our discussions with the team at Microsoft, we’ve discovered a few details worth noting:

  • GIF support will be for Office 365 subscribers using the desktop Outlook client.
  • Animated GIFs are already supported in Outlook’s mobile apps as well as the webmail client. Outlook 2019, however, is not supporting animated GIFs.
  • Support will roll out to Office Insider subscribers first, starting in early February.
  • GIFs will automatically play. Looping GIFs will play three times, after which they will pause (but can be played again manually by users).
  • There are no file size limitations for animated GIFs.
  • Animations will be enabled by default but can be turned off in Outlook settings.

We’re happy to see such a prominent email client support one of email marketers’ favorite tools. On top of more recent changes like adding media query support to Outlook apps, SVG support, and fixing web font issues, the addition of animated GIFs to desktop Outlook showcases Microsoft’s determination to make the Outlook family of apps first-class email clients.

Get Your GIF On

Excited to take advantage of the impending Outlook update? Check out our article on using animated GIFs in email campaigns and learn the methods and tools you need to know to put animated GIFs to work for your email program.

Learn how to use GIFs in email →