It’s just a click to a wink: How to get emojis on your Mac

How to get emojis on your Mac
Are you missing emojis on your favorite Mac app, email, or messaging service? If you are used to emojis supplementing your witty banter, it can be tough to give them up! Fortunately, Macs have their own built-in emojis that you can tap into at any time. They’re waiting in the Character Viewer, and we’ll show you just how to get emojis on your Mac with this simple tool.

Accessing and using the Character Viewer

The Character Viewer is a small window of emojis that is built into the latest MacOS. The advantage of this little window (compared to emoji options within many individual apps) is that the same emoji options are available everywhere you want to use them on your Mac, including places you may have never tried them before. Accessing this Character Viewer is very simple. Place your cursor where you want the emoji (such as a messaging service), and then follow these steps.

Character Viewer SmallPress the Control, Command (⌘), and spacebar keys on your keyboard. You only need to hold them down for a moment. This should bring up the Character Viewer in the window in which you are working. The Viewer pop-up will stay connected to that program even if you navigate to another app and return. You can also move it between windows of the app or browser you are using.

Alternatively, you can usually find the Character Viewer by going to the Edit tab at the top left of the screen. The last option in the Edit drop-down menu will say “Emoji and Symbols,” and will open the Viewer when you click on. It’s not always as reliable as the key shortcut, but it’s a lot easier to see where you’re going for the first few times.

Now you will see a list of emojis you can use. At the bottom of the window are several icons that allow you to pick specific emoji categories like sports, light bulbs, and so on. Select the emoji that you want, and the Character Viewer will tell you how popular that emoji is, then paste it into the character field that you are currently using.

Character ViewerNote: If the Character window is too small for you, select the icon in the upper right corner of the window. This will expand it to a larger version that has text-based lists of the categories, allows you to search for specific emoji types, and lets you pick out favorite emoji. It’s a good way to search the limits of Mac emojis when you are first beginning to use the Character Viewer. An even larger version of the Character Viewer is available in System Preferences for more detailed customization.

You can take advantage of the expanded window to choose several favorite emojis, the ones that you tend to use frequently with social apps like Facebook or Instagram. Simply choose an emoji and select “Add to Favorites.” These will appear on a Favorites bar at the top of the window whenever you open it, even in its smaller version. This can help you save a whole lot of time after you find the emojis that you really look.

Macs with Touch Bars

MacBook Pro Touch Bar

If you have a newer MacBook that includes a Touch Bar, you have additional emoji options. The standard setup of the Touch Bar will offer an emoji icon when you are in text-friendly apps like Mail or Messages, etc. Touch the emoji, and it should pop up a mini version of the Character Viewer on the Touch Bar showing popular emoji.

Emoji Touch BarAs you choose emoji across your Mac apps, the Touch Bar will start to show your favorite options more frequently. This method is a little hit or miss, but when it works it can help you save a lot of time if you aren’t used to the keyboard shortcut.

Limitations of the Character Viewer

Character Viewer is particularly handy in situations where another emoji option isn’t available, or when you are switching between different apps/conversations and want the same emojis for everything. However, this does not make the Viewer entirely universal. There are still instances where you will not be able to use it, such as:

  • Older software, or apps that don’t support many Mac functions.
  • Text boxes that don’t support much formatting, such as search fields.
  • Browsers that aren’t compatible or have plugins that interfere with Character Viewer.

When in doubt, update your OS to the latest version, browser, and apps to see if this helps. Otherwise, you may need to find another emoji option for these cases.

And if you were curious about mobile options, there are ways to access an emoji keyboard on iOS as well.

Gaming

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will take your skills to a new level

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save more time!
Computing

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.
Computing

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Mobile

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.
Computing

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

Speed up your system by tweaking the startup application in Windows and MacOS

Bothered by programs that automatically start when you boot your computer, or want to add a new one to the list? Here's how to change your startup programs in Windows 7, 8, and 10, along with Apple's MacOS.
Mobile

Flip from portrait to landscape as we reveal how to rotate a video on iPhone

If you've accidentally shot a video in portrait orientation and you want to flip to landscape, then this is the guide for you. We'll explain how to use iMovie to rotate a video on your iPhone or iPad for free and suggest alternative apps.
Gaming

Get the most life out of your Xbox One controller with these tips

The Xbox One controller has fantastic battery life, but eventually your batteries will still die. To make it even better and ensure you never have to stop gaming, follow these tips.
Gaming

A beginner’s guide to Far Cry New Dawn’s postapocalyptic Hope County

Far Cry New Dawn is yet another entry in Ubisoft's popular open world shooter franchise. But while it may feel quite similar in motion, the progression system is changed in a lot of ways. Our beginner's guide is here to help.
Gaming

Learn to scavenge like a pro with our Far Cry New Dawn crafting guide

Far Cry New Dawn revolves around the hunt -- the hunt for materials to craft new weapons, vehicles, and other useful items. It's easy to miss out on great opportunities to find new materials if you don't go off the beaten path.
Gaming

Here’s how to set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your Xbox One

Online privacy is more important now than it's ever been, and gaming is happening online more than ever before. Here's a quick guide on how to set up a VPN for your Xbox One so you game in safe anonymity.
Smart Home

Your office is a mess, and it’s making Marie Kondo cry. Here’s how to tidy it up

Here's how to "Marie Kondo" your office. If you've been inspired to remove clutter and create a minimalistic workspace that makes you happy and helps you focus on what matters, then we have ideas that you'll want to try.