Patrick Sheppard Patrick is a Java developer. He has been passionate about programming for many years (mostly self-taught). He also enjoys skiing, cooking, and learning new things.

How to read GIF files in Java

1 min read

GIF icon

In this article, I will show you how to read GIF files in Java.

GIF files can be read directly by Java’s own ImageIO class and I will also show you how to read them in JDeli.

What is a GIF?

GIF iconPNG stands for Graphics Interchange Format. It is a lossless, bitmap image format which became popular on the world wide web because it supports transparency and simple animations in browsers. It can support up to 256 different colours from a 24bit range of RGB values. It uses LZW compression (which was subject to patents owned by Unisys). Issues over this in 1990s, led it to be largely replaced by the PNG format in modern usage.

The file name extension for PNG files is: .gif

How to read a GIF image in Java with ImageIO

Step 1 Create a File handle, InputStream, or URL pointing to the raw GIF image.
Step 2 ImageIO will now be able to read a GIF file into a BufferedImage. This syntax is like so:

BufferedImage image = ImageIO.read(gifFileOrInputStreamOrURL)

How to read a GIF image in Java with JDeli

Step 1 Add JDeli to your class or module path. (download the trial jar).
Step 2 Create a File handle or InputStream pointing to the raw GIF image. You can also use a byte[] containing the image data.
Step 3 Read the GIF image into a BufferedImage

BufferedImage image = JDeli.read(gifFile);

Why use JDeli to read GIF images?

JDeli offers a range of advantages over ImageIO and alternatives, including:

  • prevents heap related JVM crashes
  • implements unsupported image formats
  • improve read performance
  • supports threading
  • superior image scaling algorithms

Learn more about JDeli, or download to try it yourself.



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Patrick Sheppard Patrick is a Java developer. He has been passionate about programming for many years (mostly self-taught). He also enjoys skiing, cooking, and learning new things.

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