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LICEcap: Simple Animated Screen Captures

3 min read

simple animated screen captures


LICEcap can capture an area of your desktop and save it directly to .GIF (for viewing in web browsers, etc) or .LCF (see below).

LICEcap is an intuitive but flexible application (for Windows and now OSX), that is designed to be
lightweight and function with high performance.

LICEcap is easy to use: view a demo (output is here).

In addition to .GIF, LICEcap supports its own native lossless .LCF file format, which allows for higher compression ratios than .GIF, higher quality (more than 256 colors per frame), and more accurate timestamping. If you record to .LCF, you can play back the .LCF files within REAPER (and/or use it to convert to .gif or another video format).

LICEcap is GPL free software, each download package includes the source.

Features and options:

  • Record directly to .GIF or .LCF.
  • Move the screen capture frame while recording.
  • Pause and restart recording, with optional inserted text messages.
  • Global hotkey (shift+space) to toggle pausing while recording
  • Adjustable maximum recording framerate, to allow throttling CPU usage.
  • Basic title frame, with or without text.
  • Record mouse button presses.
  • Display elapsed time in the recording.


  • Windows: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 (might work with reduced functionality on older versions)
  • OSX: macOS 10.4+ (10.6+ for full feature support), PPC or Intel
  • Linux: apparently works with WINE
  • A reasonably fast CPU
  • A healthy amount of RAM (1GB+, especially when encoding to LCF)

Discuss LICEcap in the
Cockos Forums.


LICEcap v1.29 for macOS (Feb 18 2019) (864kb DMG)

  • macOS: 64/32-bit Intel UB (removed PPC support), compiled with Xcode8/ICC18

LICEcap v1.28 for Windows (December 2 2017) (230kb installer)

  • new icon (thanks White_Tie!)
  • LCF: fix crash when error opening output file
  • gif: use WDL_FileWrite to write to disk rather than fopen()/_wfopen(), lock files while writing

Source code
Send GPL patches to

Old versions

    LICEcap v1.28 for Windows (updated 12/2/17) (230kb installer)
    LICEcap v1.28 for OSX (12/2/17) (730kb DMG)

    • new icon (thanks White_Tie!)
    • LCF: fix crash when error opening output file
    • gif: use WDL_FileWrite to write to disk rather than fopen()/_wfopen(), lock files while writing
    • various WDL updates (should have improved performance on macOS)

    LICEcap v1.26 for Windows (updated 12/28/15) (230kb installer)
    LICEcap v1.25 for OSX (12/21/14) (700kb DMG)

    • Windows 8.1+ high-DPI fix, thanks to Betsegaw Tadele / https://github.com/betsegaw
    • v1.26 updated 12/28/15 with NSIS 2.5.0
    • (otherwise identical to 1.25, no need for an OSX update)

    LICEcap v1.25 for Windows (12/21/14) (220kb installer)
    LICEcap v1.25 for OSX (12/21/14) (700kb DMG)

    • OSX: improved window position detection
    • OSX: 10.9+ signed .app file (if we remember)
    • GIF: optimizations to update/palette generation logic, smaller results
    • GIF: support writing .gifs with transparency per-frame, for smaller file sizes (limited old-IE compat)
    • Added option to automatically stop after X seconds (X can be 0 for a static screenshot)
    • Title configuration is stored across sessions

    LICEcap v1.24 for Windows (12/29/13) (300kb installer)
    LICEcap v1.24 for OSX (12/29/13) (800kb DMG)

    • Windows: use licecap.ini in same path as executable if it exists (portable mode) — (was in 1.23 but did not work)
    • Fixed excess-newline-in-config-file bug

    LICEcap v1.23 for Windows (4/28/13) (300kb installer)
    LICEcap v1.23 for OSX (4/28/13) (800kb DMG)

    • Support for choosing number of loop iterations of GIF files
    • Removed licecap_cli.exe from installer

    LICEcap v1.22 for OSX (12/4/12) (800kb DMG)

    • OSX: cursor support for 10.6+ (10.4 and 10.5 do not get actual cursor used)
    • OSX: mouse click detection (may require “enable access for assistive devices” on some OS versions)
    • OSX: fixed time text artifacts

    LICEcap v1.21 for OSX (Note: alpha version) (11/30/12) (800kb DMG)

    • OSX: fixes support for 10.7+, improved performance on 10.6

    LICEcap v1.2 for Windows (8/4/11) (432kb installer)
    LICEcap v1.2 for OSX (Note: alpha version) (8/4/11) (800kb DMG)

    • Allow user to set capture dimensions before recording
    • Insert text frames (when paused) – via JeffOS, thanks JeffOS!
    • OSX version: first alpha version doesn’t support proper cursors or mouse status or hotkeys, but somewhat usable

    LICEcap v1.1 (6/9/10) (389kb installer)

    • Fixed LCF export for widths not multiples of 4
    • Added hotkey for pause (shift+space)

    LICEcap v1.0 (6/7/10) (389kb installer)

* Note: inspiration for the image near the top comes from the wonderful ollie

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