Without a doubt, one of the most popular apps on smartphones – any smartphones, really – is the messaging app. Billions of sentence long messages go back and forth between our iPhones and device’s running Google’s Android operating system every year. Though a smaller number for sure, millions of additional messages are traded through chat apps, things like iMessage, Hangouts and Skype. Emoji aren’t just for your smartphone; there are Emojii on Windows desktops, notebooks and tablets too.
You likely know what an Emoji is, even if you aren’t familiar with what they’re called. The tiny characters come in different colors, with different expressions to let you display a full range of emotions. In a way, they’re a special kind of code, a short-hand for letting people know how you feel and what you’re thinking of at that moment.
Software makers began adding support for Emoji directly to their products years ago. They noticed how popular dedicated Emoji keyboards for iPhone and Android had become. Since then, their use has spread quickly. Microsoft added support for the tiny characters into Windows with an update to Windows 7. Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile boast the best Emoji support Microsoft has ever offered. Both include a dedicated Emoji keyboard that supports the latest standards.
Here’s how to use Emoji on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.
Using Emoji on Windows 10
Using Emoji on Windows 10 is incredibly easy. You don’t need to purchase a special software keyboard from the Windows Store or install a dedicated app.
If you’re on a device with a touch display – like a tablet or 2-in-1 – then you should have access to the Windows touch keyboard on your Taskbar. Look for the icon in the bottom-right corner of your display, just to the left of your clock and today’s date. It even looks like a tiny keyboard.
Unfortunately, devices without a touch display don’t have an icon for the Windows touch keyboard on their Taskbar. It needs to be added manually. You can do that by right-clicking on the arrow in the Taskbar and selecting the option that says “Show touch keyboard button” in the pop-up menu.
Go to the messaging or email app where you’d like to send your Emoji. Tap or click on the place you’d you like the Emoji to appear.
Tap or click on that Touch Keyboard button.
The Windows Touch Keyboard should float out from the bottom edge of your display. Despite its name, you can interact with the touch keyboard with a mouse too. When the Touch Keyboard is open, remember to not type on your physical keyboard. If you do, Windows will automatically shut the touch keyboard since it thinks you don’t need it.
Tap or click on the face to the left of the space bar and to the right of the Ctrl button in the Windows Touch Keyboard.
Now you can select the Emoji that you’d like to use.
Take your time. There are hundreds of Emoji on Windows 10. The arrows along the left edge of the touch keyboard are for navigating the different pages of characters. Some of the Emoji will look similar but include a slight alteration or two.
The symbols along the bottom edge of the keyboard underscore just how many characters there are in the operating system. The first page holds faces. The second holds characters hinting at time and dates. The third is all about facial expressions. The fourth focuses on enhanced characters. The fifth category is for world events, outings and celebrations. Windows 10 has 9 different categories of Emoji altogether.
Clicking or tapping on the squiggly frame allows you to decide what color some Emoji appear as. By default, people-centered Emojis are yellow, but you can change their skin tone with this option. There are six different skin tones in all.
When you’ve added all the Emoji that you want, simply close the Windows touch keyboard. You can manually do this by tapping or clicking on the X at the top-right of the keyboard. You can have the keyboard automatically close itself by tapping a letter on your keyboard too.
Things to Know About Using Emoji on Windows 10
Emojis sent to two devices of the same kind shouldn’t have any issues being displayed, but keep in mind that you could run into issues if you’re using Windows 10 and the person you are sending the message to isn’t. That’s because both the sender and receiver need to support the same expression. Otherwise, the receiver will only see a black box or a question mark. As Emojis have matured, this has become less of a problem.
Windows 10 became the first operating system in Microsoft’s line-up to support the middle finger at launch. Some older operating systems on devices running Android still don’t support that Emoji.
Using Emoji on Windows 7
Using Emoji on Windows 7 is very different from other versions of Windows. That’s because Microsoft didn’t initially launch the operating system with support for them. Instead, it added them with a later update. You’ll need to go to the Control Panel and make sure that you’ve installed every pending upgrade in Windows Update.
After you’ve installed every update, you should be able to see and use Emoji in Windows 7 just fine. To get a look at the characters Windows 7 supports, use Internet Explorer to browse here.
Windows 7 doesn’t have Emoji built into its Touch Keyboard, but you can still see them.
Keep in mind when using these Emoji on Windows 7 that you won’t have access to some of the newer characters that more modern operating systems do.
Using Emoji on Windows 8
Using Emoji on Windows 8 is very similar to using them on Windows 10. The difference is in how you access the Touch Keyboard. Windows 8 didn’t dynamically change how things work and look based on whether you have a touchscreen or not.
You’ll want to add a keyboard button to your Taskbar by right-clicking anywhere on it and hovering over Toolbars. Next select, Touch Keyboard in the menu. When trying to send Emoji, remember to use Internet Explorer.
Now you should have a Touch Keyboard button in your Taskbar. Just click on that button and you can access Emoji on Windows 8.
Note that this also works with the Windows 8.1 Update.
Good luck using Emoji on Windows.