How To Run Animated GIF images in Outlook 2007, 2010, & 2013

By Chris Newman •  Updated: 08/25/14 •  3 min read
How to view GIF images in Microsoft Outlook 2007 2010 2013

Microsoft's more recent versions of Outlook (2007 and later) seem to not want to run GIF images inside email messages.  This has proven to be a nuisance for my newsletter readers as I sometimes use brief GIF images to visualize one of my exclusive email tips.  The image will appear in your email messages, however only the first frame of the GIF will be displayed.

Why GIFs Won’t Work

The culprit to this problem seems to stem from the email editor that Microsoft uses for it's Outlook programs.  For Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, the application uses Microsoft Word to edit and display emails. Since you cannot run a GIF image in Microsoft Word, likewise you cannot run one inside Outlook.

Outlook 2013 uses an editor that is very similar to Word as its text editor and also does not have the ability to run GIF images.

Any version of Outlook PRIOR to 2007 can run GIF images and you should see them functioning within your email messages.

How To Display GIFs From Outlook

There are 3 very easy steps that you can take so you can view a particular email's GIF image(s) while still managing your emails via Outlook.  

  1. Double-click on the email message to open it in it's own window
  2. Select the Actions drop down menu (within the Message Ribbon tab)
  3. Click View in Browser
How to view GIF images in Microsoft Outlook 2007 2010 2013

Your web browser should be launched and your entire email should be displayed with any GIF images cycling through their image frames.  Until Microsoft decides to build Outlook's text editor with the ability to play GIFs this is the route you will most likely need to take in order to view them.

I Don’t See The “View in Browser” Option!

If you don't see the option to View in Browser, I'm going to take a wild guess and say that you may be using your work computer.  Your problem very well be that your company blocked this feature for security reasons.  This was the case for the company I am currently working for and I wasn't able to find any other alternative ways to run a GIF image.

Are There Others?

To my knowledge Microsoft Outlook is the only email client program that does not run GIF images from within it's application.  Since I have not even come close to using all the email applications out there, I wonder if you know of any other applications that are unable to run GIFs within an email message?  Are there workarounds?  Leave a comment below if you can think of any so others can be informed!

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Chris Newman

Chris Newman

Chris is a finance professional and Excel MVP recognized by Microsoft since 2016. With his expertise, he founded TheSpreadsheetGuru blog to help fellow Excel users, where he shares his vast creative solutions & expertise. In addition, he has developed over 7 widely-used Excel Add-ins that have been embraced by individuals and companies worldwide.