If you want to remove endless looping behavior from GIFs then read on. I recently had to insert several dozen videos into a PowerPoint presentation, and despite having written an article on how to package embedded videos in PowerPoint as a single file, I decided that the best way to do it would be to create and embed my videos as GIFs.
This seemed like an ideal solution because the videos in question had no sound, and were very short at under 6 seconds each. The problem, however, was that once inserted into PowerPoint my GIFs looped endlessly, which I did not want, and which I quickly realized had everything to do with the GIFs and nothing to do with PowerPoint. The program I used to convert my videos to GIF did not offer the option to deactivate endless loops, and I had no appetite to find another one that did (not to mention redo the video to GIF conversion for about 70 files). Which is how this article was born, to show a relatively simple and easy way to remove looping from a GIF on the fly.
As you may have guessed, the solution involves loading your GIF into a GIF editor (or an image editor that supports GIFs), removing the endless loop option, and re-saving it. While there are a handful of freeware GIF editors that can do it, I would recommend the following (in order of preference). Please note: if you remove the loop and still see a repeating GIF, it may be your image player or browser that is responsible, so make sure to check for that.
A simple program that will let you load up your GIF, change it, and save it.
Instructions: open your GIF using the program, uncheck the ‘repeat forever’ box in the bottom right (see screenshot above), and then ‘save as’ from the file menu.
Pros: I recommend this freeware because it opens large GIFs without problems (something which some other GIF editors have trouble with), and is simple and straightforward. Also, has a lot of useful GIF editing functions that you will like if you need to work with GIFs in general.
Cons: the installer tries to piggyback crapware with the main program. Make sure to uncheck anything you don’t want and you should have no problems.
Gimp is the world’s best known open source image editor and Photoshop alternative, and supports editing GIFs.
Instructions: open your GIF, then ‘save as’ GIF again. You will be presented with a number of screens during the saving process; make sure to ‘save as animation’ and then uncheck ‘loop forever’ as shown in the screenshots above.
Pros: It opens large GIFs without problems, is a very powerful image editor generally, and offers a portable version.
Cons: a rather huge download if you just want to quickly tweak your GIF; white spaces in the GIFs I tested it with would often strangely change their color and get a bluish tint (which seemed inexplicable as I did nothing except ‘save as’).
The smallest GIF editor mentioned here. Very simple and straightforward.
Instructions: again, open your GIF, uncheck the ‘loop’ box in the bottom left (see screenshot above) and save.
Pros: a very small program that can get the job done.
Cons: this program would crash when I tested it with large GIFs (4-5 megs+ or so), which made it unusable for my purposes. Still, for most GIFs on the internet it will work just fine.
If you (a) know of any other freeware GIF editors that you like (and that I missed), or (b) know of a simpler way to remove loops or (c) a way to remove them in batch, please let us know in the comments.