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Instagram Stories gain GIF stickers — and soon, horizontal video

Hillary Grigonis
Instagram's Stories tool can now share the theme song to your day along with photos and video. The feature, called music stickers, enables people to search via genres, moods, and trending tracks, which they can add to their Story in a tap.

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After testing GIFs inside Stories last fall, Instagram is officially rolling out animated stickers. On Tuesday, January 23, Instagram announced the addition of a sticker library powered by Giphy that allows users to add moving stickers to their stories. The announcement also comes with news that the platform is working on allowing videos and photos to maintain their original dimensions on Stories, a big perk for users that hate the vertical video format.

The familiar sticker option inside stories now has a GIF option alongside existing choices like location, time, and weather-based graphics. Tapping on the GIF icon will take users to a searchable GIF sticker library without leaving the Instagram app. From there, users can find an animated sticker by looking at trending graphics or using the search tool to find something more specific.

“From bouncing letters and twirling hearts to dancing cats and pizza in space, these animated stickers help make any photo or video funny, interesting or creative,” Instagram wrote in its announcement post.

While users can already use GIFs on Instagram if the file is first converted to an MP4 video file, the new feature brings GIF integration directly to Instagram Stories. The change eliminates the need to use Giphy’s separate app to convert a GIF to video — at least for sharing inside of Stories, anyway. The platform has been testing the option for using GIFs inside of Stories since at least November.

The moving stickers are rolling out now, but Instagram will soon be bringing another feature to stories — sharing content in the original aspect ratio. Like when sharing a non-square image to the Instagram feed or inside Instagram Direct, soon, inside Stories, users can pinch and pull out to return the photo or video to the original aspect ratio, rather than conforming all shots to the stories vertical format. When uploading a horizontal image or video, the empty space will be filled with a colored background.

“In the coming weeks, we’re also rolling out the ability to upload photos and videos of any size to your story — so you never have to lose part of a photo or cut a friend out of a group video,” Instagram said.

The GIF stickers are available with Instagram version 29 for both iOS and Android users while Instagram doesn’t yet have an exact date for the multiple aspect ratio compatibilities.