From a dancing baby to David Bowie tributes to Michael Jackson eating popcorn, GIFs have been used for and inspired by all occasions.

Much beloved by web users, the Graphics Interchange Format turns 30 this year. We’ve rounded up what there's to know about this image file and sprinkled some famous GIFs in along the way. Let's get started! 

[Read more: How to create your own GIFs on Facebook]


What is a GIF ?

The first thing to know is that GIF is actually an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. Because it could compress colourful images down to small files it proved ideal for the fledgling Internet, and when an animated version was created in 1989, its use really took off. One of the most famous early GIF was the dancing baby below, which was created way back in 1996.


Who created the Gif?

All the way back in 1987, programmer Steve Wilhite created the GIF format while he was employed at pioneering US service provider CompuServe. 

Famous moment?

In 2012 'GIF' was made the US word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.

How do you pronounce 'GIF'?


GIF – Guh-If, not Jif. It's a debate that has raged online for decades. 

[Read more: From GIF to Asus - Have you been pronouncing these techy terms incorrectly?]

Famous GIFs that are out of this world

Space exploration has been a particularly rich source of inspiration for Gifs.

In July 2015, Nasa’s New Horizon’s fly-by of Pluto inspired this gif which touched people across the globe.

[Read more: This sad Pluto gif of NASA's New Horizons fly-by will break your heart]

You can also see the ExoMars spacecraft hurtling through space at over 20,000 mph in this GIF.


Can GIFs be used on Twitter?

Yes. And, since February 2016 it’s been possible to search for GIFs on the Twitter app on iOS, Android and desktop.


According to Twitter, more than 100 million GIFs were shared last year. So now to make them even easier to access, a GIF library – powered by Giphy and Riffsy – is becoming part of the Twitter interface.

When David Bowie died in January 2016, one GIF that swept across the internet was artist Helen Green's creation of Bowie's different personas.

Can GIFs be used on Facebook?

Yes, you can create your own GIFs here if you're one of a lucky trial or all can add them to comments. 

[Read more: You can now comment on Facebook using GIFs and here’s how]

GIFs and Tinder


Tinder now allows you to send GIFs to your lucky matches. 

The update will add GIF functionality to your keyboard when exchanging messages with a match, enabling users to spice up their Tinder game with short animations as well as the usual words and images.

[Read more: You can now send GIFs to your Tinder matches]

(Header image from Giphy)