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How to Use Emojis on Windows

Richard Bennett
Richard Bennett
Originally published Dec 07, 21, updated Jul 17, 24

If you ever wondered how to use emojis on Windows, or since when the emojis are around and what is their significance, you will find all your answers here. Because Windows 10 offers a great range of emojis that help you express your feelings and reactions in fewer words, they have recently gained a decent level of popularity, mostly amongst youngsters and millennials.

With that said, in the following sections, you will learn how to use emojis on Windows 10 using both keyboard shortcuts and touch keyboard, how to get emojis on Windows 10 to make your text or conversation look more versatile, and what new has been added to the latest operating system released by Microsoft, i.e., Windows 11.

Part 1: The History of Emojis in Windows

Although emojis are present in some form or the other since the mid-‘90s, they were not quite popular back then. With the evolution of smartphones, these iconic characters got attention from the then-teenagers. Seeing this, in 2012, Microsoft introduced the first-ever set of black-and-white emojis with the release of Windows 8, and after some time, the company also added the same to Windows 7 that was rolled out along with the updates for the OS.

With the release of Windows 10 in 2015, a wide range of full-fledged colored emojis was introduced and received a large number of positive reactions from the users. As of today, emojis have become an integral part of everyone’s day-to-day text conversation, be it on Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, or any other such platform.

Part 2: How to Use Emojis with Keyboard Shortcuts

A keyboard shortcut is a combination of two or more keys that are pressed simultaneously to trigger a pre-assigned event or action. A good example of a keyboard shortcut is ‘Ctrl + S’ which, when pressed, saves the document you’re working on.

While learning the process of how to use emoji in Windows 10, it is equally imperative to memorize the shortcut keys to insert those icons without taking your hands off the keyboard. This not only saves your time, but it also prevents you from going through the lengthy process of opening the emojis keyboard, navigating through all the available icons to choose the one you’re looking for, and then clicking it to insert in the document or conversation.

Nevertheless, it would be a good idea to learn how to launch the emojis keyboard, and the process is simple. All you need to do is:

  • Make sure that your keyboard cursor is in an app that can accept text inputs. A text editor like MS Word or WordPad could be a good example
  • Press the Windows + ; (semicolon) or Windows + . (period) keys together to open the emojis keyboard
use emojis on windows shortcuts

Once the keyboard is open, you can click any of the available emojis to insert it in your conversion or text content.

As for the shortcuts, depending on the type of expression you want to convey, there could be thousands of them. Some of the commonly used emojis and their universal shortcut keys for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 include:

: (colon) + ) (right brace) will create a smiley face

: (colon) + ( (left brace) will create a sad face

: (colon) + ; (semicolon) will create a wink face

…and so on. You can conduct a quick online search to get the entire list of keyboard shortcuts and the emojis that they will create. For your convenience, a link from the Microsoft official website is given below:


Part 3: How to Use Emojis on Windows PC with Touch Keyboard

If you have Microsoft Surface or any other device that has Windows 10 or Windows 11 installed on it, and can accept inputs via touch keyboard, you can enable the feature in the operating system, and then use the touch keyboard to add emojis to your conversion or content. You can follow the instructions given below to enable touch keyboard, and then learn how to use emojis on Windows 11 or Windows 10 via touch:

  • Right-click anywhere on the taskbar (Windows 11 is used here for demonstration), and then click Taskbar settings
windows taskbar settings option
  • From the right area of the Settings window that opens next, scroll down to the Taskbar corner icons section, and then turn on the Touch keyboard switch
turn on touch keyboard windows
  • Launch an app that can accept text inputs, e.g., a text editor, chatting app, etc. Click or tap the Touch keyboard icon from the notification area that is present at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
use emojis on windows with touch keyboard
  • Click or tap the Emojis icon from the upper-left corner of the touch keyboard that opens up, and then touch your preferred emoji to add it to your text or conversation.
choose emojis from touch keyboard

Part 4: What’s New in Emojis in Windows 11

In addition to learning how to use emojis on Windows 10, it is also important to know what’s new with them or the emojis panel in Windows 11, the latest operating system released by Microsoft this year, i.e., 2021.

In Windows 11, although you can launch the emojis keyboard using the same shortcuts, i.e., ‘Windows + .’ or ‘Windows + ;’ keys as mentioned earlier, the emojis keyboard itself has four sections, namely:

  • Emojis – Contains various emojis and smileys
  • GIF – Gives you access to various animated GIFs from Tenor
  • Kamojis – Lets you add the ASCII characters for emojis, e.g., :-) or :-(
  • Symbols – To add important symbols to your text, e.g., ©, ®, etc.

In addition to this, the 2D Clippy emoji has also been introduced with Windows 11, and can be located by launching the emojis keyboard, and typing ‘Clippy’.

Part 5: How to Get More Emojis in Windows 11

If the built-in emoji library doesn’t contain your favorite expressions, you can always get several more by following the instructions given below:

  • Launch your favorite web browser on Windows 11, and then go to
  • Click an emoji from the available options or copy one from your favorite portal, and paste it in the Paste Emoji here field
select emoji from iemoji windows
  • Review the emoji in the MESSAGE PREVIEW field, and click Create from the Options section to generate the emoji that can be sent as a message or image
create emojis on windows iemoji
  • Alternatively, click Copy from the Options section itself, and then go to the text editor or any other portal you want to use the emoji in, and press Ctrl + V to paste and insert the emoji in your conversation or text without any hassle.
copy emojis on iemoji


While the emojis were introduced to Windows as late as 2012, Windows 11 has a wide range of these virtual objects or faces for various occasions and to convey different expressions respectively. Furthermore, Windows 11 also gives you access to Tenor’s GIFs, and ASCII characters with particular combinations to represent the emojis, as it was done back in the days of button-operated cellphones.

Also, if the built-in emoji keyboard doesn’t have your favorite expressions and smileys, you can always generate your custom ones by going to, and using the options that the website offers. All in all, it’s easy to learn how to use emojis on Windows as long as you have access to the correct tutorial that explains the process in an easy manner.

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