How to type emoji characters in any Windows program

Use the Windows onscreen keyboard to enter emoji characters into Word

Emoji, those funny characters like smiley, sad, happy and crying faces, are often used in social media applications and are easy to insert when you are using a mobile phone or tablet, but how do you type them on a Windows PC?

Emoji characters

How do you insert emoji characters in Microsoft Word? How do you use them in Notepad? How do you include them in an email? It is not obvious how to type emoji using a standard PC keyboard.

If you are using Windows 10 and probably Windows 8 too, but I haven’t tried it on that, you can easily insert emoji characters wherever you can type in text. It does not matter which application you use and the secret is to make use of the onscreen keyboard.

Windows 10 and 8 are designed with touch screens in mind and the operating systems can be used on tablets and mobile phones that do not have a keyboard.

To enter text using a tablet or phone, and to get around the lack of a physical keyboard, one appears at the bottom of the screen and you can tap the characters to enter text.

You knew that of course, but did you know that Windows on the PC is exactly the same? Right click an empty part of the taskbar and make sure that Show touch keyboard button is ticked. Click it if it is not.

 Show the Windows keyboard

Now click the keyboard icon at the right side of the taskbar. The onscreen keyboard appears.

 Windows touch keyboard

The keyboard has an emoji key immediately to the left of the spacebar at the bottom and tapping it replaces the letters and numbers with emoji characters. Load an application, such as WordPad, bring up the keyboard and click those emoji with the mouse.

 Type emoji into WordPad

The bottom row of buttons is used to select the emoji collection and there are faces, people, transport, occasions, weather and more. Select the emoji collection, click the characters you want and they appear in whatever app you are typing into.

The left and right arrow buttons on the left below the tab key are for displaying extra emoji characters. There are more than will fit on the keyboard, so use the arrow keys to scroll left and right to see them all.

The emoji characters entered into WordPad are black and white line drawings and it seems that what you get depends on the application being used. The more powerful Word displays full colour emoji like this:

 Enter emoji in Word

They are obviously not suited to every type of document, but if you are creating something that is designed to be fun, then feel free to use them.

Emoji characters are really small in a normal font. For these screenshots the font size was set to 72 point.


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