Twitter just caught up with the times.

The company has announced a GIF search feature is coming to tweets and direct messages. It is rolling out an honest-to-goodness GIF button. So, when you're composing a tweet or direct message, you can search and browse for the perfect animated image to go along with your text. Keep in mind Twitter has long allowed its users to upload and share GIFs. Last year, people on Twitter shared over 100 million GIFs.

But each one of those GIFs had to be found somewhere on the deep web, then saved to a user's device, and uploaded and posted to Twitter, where any user of the service could then retweet the heck out of it. While all that's cool, Twitter never allowed its users to have direct access to a repository of GIFs, nor did it let them directly find and share those GIFS without first leaving Twitter.

All that has now changed. GIF search will be enabled in phases across Twitter around the globe. We've explained everything you need to know about this new feature - which is powered by GIF search engines Riffsy and Giphy - below.

Here's how to use the new GIF search feature on Twitter:

iOS

  • Tap the Compose Tweet button
  • Tap the GIF button (between the buttons for adding photos and polls)
  • Use your keyboard to enter a keyword/search term
  • Browse through the results from Riffsy and Giphy

Android

  • Tap on What’s happening?
  • Tap the GIF button (between the buttons for adding photos and polls)
  • Use your keyboard to enter a keyword/search term
  • Browse through the results from Riffsy and Giphy

You can also tap the camera button in the Twitter app to choose a GIF from your gallery.

To tweet a GIF, first do the above steps and then the following:

iOS and Android

  • Tap any GIF to select it
  • The image will attach to your tweet in full size
  • Tap Tweet to post

You can select one GIF per tweet, but it cannot be included in tweets with multiple images.

To send a GIF in a direct message on Twitter, follow these steps:

iOS and Android

  • Tap the Envelope tab for Messages.
  • Tap the New message button to create a new message.
  • Enter the name(s) or @username(s) of the recipient(s)
  • Add your message
  • Tap the GIF button to search for and select a file from the media library
  • Tap Send

Twitter said GIF search will roll out over the coming weeks to everyone around the world on iOS, Android, and Twitter.com. The company has yet to provide instructions on how GIF search will work on the web, but we imagine it'll work similarly to how it does in the iOS and Android apps.

To learn more, check out Twitter's Help Center.