If you want to extract a gif from any video without having a lot of video editing expertise, Peek should be your go-to tool. It is a very simple screen recorder with an easy to use interface. Peek makes it easy to create short screencasts of a screen area. It was built for the specific use case of recording screen areas, e.g. for easily showing UI features of your own apps or for showing a bug in bug reports. With Peek, you simply place the Peek window over the area you want to record and press “Record”. Peek is optimized for generating animated GIFs, but you can also directly record to WebM or MP4 if you prefer. Peek is not a general-purpose screencast app with extended features but rather focuses on the single task of creating small, silent screencasts of an area of the screen for creating GIF animations or silent WebM or MP4 videos.

In this article, we will describe two ways to install/uninstall Peek on Debian.

  • Through the UI using Debian Software Manager
  • Through the Debian Command Line, the Terminal

We will also explain how you can record a gif file through Peek on your system.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 Buster system.

Installation through the Command Line

First, please open the Terminal either through the Application Launcher Search bar as follows:

Debian Terminal

The next step is to update your system’s repository index through the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

This helps you in installing the latest available version of a software from the Internet.

Update packages

Please note that only an authorized user can add, remove and configure software on Debian.

Next, run the following command to install Peek:

$ sudo apt-get install peek

Install Peek

The system might prompt you with a y/n option to continue installation. Please enter Y if you want to continue with the installation. The process might take some time, depending on your Internet speed, after which Peek will be installed on your system.

The following command will let you check the version number of your installed package and also ensure that the software is indeed installed on your system.

$ peek -v

Check Peek version

Launch Peek

You can launch the Peek application through the command line by entering the following command:

$ peek

Remove Peek

You can use the following command in your Terminal in order to uninstall Peek from your system:

$ sudo apt-get remove peek

Remove Peek

Enter y on the y/n prompt and the software will be completely removed from your system.

Installation through Debian Software Manager

For a person who does not want to open the Command Line much, installing a software present in the official Debian repository through the UI is very simple.

On your Debian desktop Activities toolbar/dock, click the Debian Software icon.

Debian software manager

Click the search icon in Software Manager and enter Peek in the search bar. The search results will list the relevant entries as follows:

Select Peek Package

The Peek entry listed here is the one maintained by the Debian Stable Main repository. Click on this search entry to open the following view:

Install Peek

Click the Install button to begin the installation process. The following authentication dialog will appear for you to provide your authentication details as only an authorized user can install software on Debian.

Admin authentication

Enter your password and click the Authenticate button. After that, the installation process will begin, displaying a progress bar as follows:

Installing Peek

Peek will then be installed on your system and you will get the following message after a successful installation:

Launch Peek

Through the above dialog, you can choose to directly launch Peek and even Remove it immediately for whatever reason.

Launch Peek

You can access Peek from the Debian application launcher bar as follows, or directly access it from the applications listing:

Peek Icon

Remove Peek

If you want to remove Peek that was installed using the above method, you can remove it from your system as follows:

Open the Debian Software Manager and search for Peek. You will see the “Installed” status in the search entry. Click this entry and then click Remove from the following view:

Peek removal

The system will prompt you with an Authentication dialog. The software will be removed when you provide the password for sudo user and click Authenticate on the dialog.

Recording an animated gif with Peek

When you open Peek, it will display the previously in-view application for recording as follows:

Record as GIF

In the above image, you can see that Peek is ready to record my web-browser. However, this is not what I want to record. I want to create a gif from a video running on youtube. I will first open that Video and then open Peek so that this video is in-view for recording.

Animated GIF recording

You can use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+R to start/stop recording a small video. Otherwise you can also use the Record as GIF button to start recording a gif of the current view. Other formats that you can record include:

  • APNG
  • WebM
  • MP4

Once you have recorded a video, you can save it through the following dialogue in your required location:

Save GIF

This was all you needed to know about installing/uninstalling Peek and recording gifs on Debian.

Recording animated Gifs with Peek on Debian 10 Buster
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Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. He blogs at LinuxWays.