How to Enable and Use Emoji in Windows 10 and macOS

Desktop operating system’s like Windows 10 and macOS include system-wide support for Emoji if you know how to enable them. Here’s how to do it.

Emoticons or Emoji icons have become the pop icons of Internet culture in recent times. Our previous article showed you how to utilize them in your everyday communications on popular mobile operating systems such as iOS. The interesting thing about using emoticons on mobile operating systems, the option is available system wide. Desktop operating system’s like Windows 10 and macOS  include system-wide support, but finding how to insert them requires a little tweaking and the activation of hidden commands. In this article, we show how to do just that.

Enable System-Wide Access to Emoji Emoticons in Windows 10

Windows 10 includes a large library of emoticons you can use in popular communication apps such as Skype and Outlook; but what if you want to insert them in say, a Microsoft Word document? You will first need to enable the on-screen keyboard.

Yes, I know, it’s awkward you have to do this. Hopefully, a future release Windows 10 adds a more efficient way to insert emoticons; maybe an emoticon tab from the Action Center. For now, you will need to enable the on-screen keyboard. To do that, right-click the Taskbar then click Show touch keyboard button.

enable emoji windows 10 keyboard

This will add an icon the Notification Area.

enable emoji windows 10 keyboard

When you click on it, this will bring up a soft keyboard. Next to left of the space key, is a smiley face icon; click on it to view the library of emotions available.

enable emoji windows 10 keyboard

The emoji keyboard displays your frequently used emoticons, along with popular categories such as smileys, people, events and occasions, food, transportation, hearts, and emotions.

enable emoji windows 10 keyboard

Now that you know how to activate the on-screen keyboard, go ahead and launch your favorite program then insert any of your favorite emoji. Please note, the appearance of emoticons might be inconsistent across programs. I noticed when I inserted them in Wordpad, they appeared as the old style character map emoticons.

enable emoji windows 10 keyboard microsoft word

Enable System-Wide Access to Emoji Emoticons in macOS

For macOS users, Apple also provides a system-wide library of emojis you can use anywhere. Press Command + Control + Spacebar; this will bring up a small window with a huge collection of emojis. What I immediately like about the emoticon library in macOS, you can search for whatever you like, instead of manually looking through each category. The categories are extensive too, which include: Animals & Nature, Sporting Activities, miscellaneous objects and endless flags. MacOS certainly gives Windows 10 a run for its money.

enable emoji macos keyboard enable emoji macos keyboard

You can also enable the emoji sidebar at the top right of the window; revealing more information along with different categories such as math symbols, pictographs, and punctuation. You can even choose your favorite emoticons.

enable emoji macos keyboard

When you want to use them in a program, just call up the emoji dialog using Command + Control + Spacebar then insert your favorite emoticons.

enable emoji macos keyboard microsoft word

That’s it! Tell us what you think. Remember to check out our previous article for more information about Emoji icons.



  1. David Raynes

    When I put an emoji into a word document, It did not put it in color. What did I not do?

    • Andre Da Costa

      Are you using “Microsoft Word” or “WordPad”?

      They remain black and white in WordPad.

  2. Joseph Michael Carrigan

    I may as well tell you, the emojis in Win 10 s**k. I get very little.

    • Andre Da Costa

      I agree, they could be better. The emoji trend seems to be something the Windows 10 folks just caught on to. They aren’t any better in the Creators Update, hopefully a future revision will do a better job.

  3. Cayte

    Well this is October 2018 and there is no emoji icon on the keyboard screen at all.

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