How to export and print frames from an animated GIF file

You have the perfect animated GIF, but you would like to access and use the pictures that are trapped inside. If you try to print the animated GIF file, all you get is the last frame. To be able to print all the frames, you need to run an extraction process. While this sounds complicated, we show in this tutorial a simple and effective way to extract GIF frames from your animated file, so that you can then easily print them.

Install the applications needed to extract GIF frames

For the extraction process, we use the free image editor called GIMP on top of which we install an also free plugin called Export Layers. You can download GIMP from the GIMP official webpage. After you download it, run the setup file and follow the steps needed to install GIMP on your computer.

Install GIMP

Besides GIMP, you also need a free GIMP plugin called Export Layers. Download the latest release from the Export Layers README page, choosing the Windows executable file. Open it, and follow the installation process.

Install Export Layers plugin for GIMP

During installation for both GIMP and Export Layers, you might have to provide administrator permission. After installing GIMP and the Export Layers plugin, you are ready to start the extraction process.

How to extract gif frames from an animated GIF file

We have chosen for our guide a cool example from giphy.com. Let's find out how to catch every moment of the clip where the Mother of Dragons manages to steal the scene from her children:

GIF example with the Mother of Dragons

Begin by opening GIMP from the Start Menu.

Open GIMP

In GIMP's main window, open the File menu and select "Open…."

Open a GIF file in GIMP

Then, in the Open Image window, browse to the location where your animated GIF file is located, select it, and then click or tap Open.

Open a GIF file in GIMP

GIMP loads your animated GIF file. Next, open the File menu again, and click or tap the "Export Layers…" option.

Export Layers in GIMP

GIMP opens a new window, called Export Layers. In here, browse to the location where you want the frames from your animated GIF to be saved, select the file extension you want to use for the frames and, finally, click or tap Export.

Choose the file extension for Export Layers in GIMP

Depending on the image format you chose to use, GIMP displays additional saving options in the next dialog window. You can see below what you might be able to change if you choose to use the default PNG format. If you want to make any changes to the files you're about to save, make them. Then, click or tap the Export button.

Start the Export Layers in GIMP

Our work with GIMP is done, and you can close it now. Then, open the folder that you chose to save the extracted GIF frames. Inside you find all the frames from the original animated GIF file, saved as individual image files.

Extracted GIF frames from GIMP

How to print the frames from an animated GIF file

Now that you have all the frames saved as individual images, you can print them just like any other file from your computer. The easiest way is to navigate to the folder with the saved images using File Explorer, and right-click or tap and hold on the image or images that you want to print. From the context menu, choose Print.

Print extracted GIF frames in Windows

If you want to learn more ways to print in Windows, read 6 Ways to print from any Windows app or program.

Did you extract GIF frames from your animated GIF file?

As you have seen in this tutorial, extracting GIF frames is easy as long as you have the right tools. Fortunately, GIMP is both free and easy to use, and its plugin repository is quite large. Let us know your experience in extracting GIF frames by leaving a comment below.