Open .ani Animated Cursors Online

Nov 18, 2021

TL;DR: I made a simple website where you can instantly open and view any .ani file for free. You can find it here:

A year ago, as part of another project, I wrote an NPM module that can convert Windows animated cursor files (.ani) into CSS animations so that they can be used in the browser.

Recently it occurred to me that I could use that module to build a tiny website that would let people open/view their .ani files online. Given that .ani is a relatively obscure file format, this seemed like a potentially useful tool. I can imagine that people occasionally come across an .ani file and would like to view it, but don't have any software installed which can do that.

Having a website that can let you view the file instantly without installing any software seemed valuable. So, I checked to see if anything like this already exists. I was able to find two websites that claim to do this job but sadly neither one really worked.

Below is a description of the two existing sites, and finally — by way of contrast — a description of the one I built:

This site greets you with a full page takeover ad, plus a GDPR cookies notification. When you close the ad it spawns an extra tab taking you to some SEO spam site. After closing that, I'm able to upload my .ani file via a file picker, drag and drop is not supported. I can then scroll down past some more ads to the "View ANI file now" button which takes me to a page which is cluttered with ads and informs me that there is "No preview available". showing just one frame of an animated .ani file

This site is at least a bit better. You can drag in the .ani file to view it. However, the site is a bit slow. It took ~4 seconds on my very fast internet to open the file once I dropped it. Once it does open the file, it only shows you one frame at a time and takes another ~4 seconds (and a network round trip) to view each subsequent frame. There's no way to view actual animation. failing to show an .ani animated cursor. It's just the next "No preview avaliable" with two popups overlapping it

My Solution

My simple solution allows you to drag in, or select, any local .ani file and instantly view it as an actual animated cursor inside the drop area. No ads, no waiting. In fact, the file never leaves your browser.