How to search for GIF images for your Tumblr posts

The popular blogging platform now offers a search tool through which you can spice up your posts with animated GIF files from other users. Here's how to do it.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

You can now search for GIFs directly in Tumblr to animate your posts. screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Tumblr users now don't have to look far to find the perfect GIF file to animate their posts.

On Thursday, the blogging site unveiled a new GIF search tool that lets you track down animated images to add some action to your posts beyond just static text and pictures. You can browse through a gallery of popular GIFs displayed by Tumblr or type a specific search term to see a gallery of GIFs that match your topic. The idea is that you don't have to find or create your own GIF files. You can just use one that already exists in Tumblr.

Why a GIF search tool? The GIF file format (and I'm not going to get into the debate as to whether it's a hard G or a soft G) may not be as popular on the Web as other image file formats. But they have one cool feature. GIFs can be animated to appear as short video clips that will loop over and over again. Though watching a looping GIF file can get dizzying after a while, the right type of GIF can add some humor and fun to your Tumblr post.

On May 30, Facebook introduced the ability to embed GIF files into your news feed. Tumblr, a Yahoo-owned social media site where you can post and follow short blogs and comments, has also decided to embrace the GIF format.

So how can you search for and embed a GIF into your Tumblr post? Very easily.

  • At the Tumblr Dashboard section where you can add a new post, click the Text icon from the toolbar. The small window appears where you can type your blog.
  • Click the + sign under your photo. In addition to the usual icons to add a file -- add a video, add a horizontal line and add a read more link -- you'll now find an icon to add a GIF.
  • Click the icon to insert GIF. Tumblr displays a random selection of animated GIF files that you can browse and insert. But if you're looking for a specific type of GIF, you'll want to run a search.
  • Type your search word or phrase in the Find a GIF field and wait a moment. A gallery of GIFs that match your term will start to pop up.
  • Browse through the selection of GIFs. You can tweak or change your search term to look for more GIFs.
  • Once you find the GIF you want to insert, just click it, and it appears in your post. You can then add a title, text and any other content you wish.
  • After your post is complete, just click the Post button, and your post with the animated GIF goes live for other Tumblrs to check out.

A post from the folks at Tumblr late Thursday described the whys and hows of the new tool:

Since GIFs have replaced written language, we're making it easier to turn your obsolete verbiage into modern moving pictures. When you're making a post on the web: Just click the + button, click the GIF button, then search for whatever it is you're trying to express.

Pick the GIF you want and it slinks right in, properly credited and everything. Whoever originally posted the GIF will be notified accordingly. On their dashboard, on their phone, all the regular places notifications go.

This might be a little crazy. This will definitely be fun.