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Every major messaging app on iOS 7 Messaging Apps You Can Use on Your Phone or Computer 7 Messaging Apps You Can Use on Your Phone or Computer Want to send messages from both your phone and your computer? Grab one of these options to continue the conversation wherever you go! Read More has a dedicated emoji button. Third party keyboard apps like Gboard Did Google Make the Best iPhone Keyboard Yet? Meet Gboard Did Google Make the Best iPhone Keyboard Yet? Meet Gboard Google recently launched a new keyboard for iPhones called Gboard, and it's exclusively available on iOS right now. It's also probably the best mobile keyboard you have ever used. Read More even have emoji suggestions built-in. When you’re used to these emoji features on your iPhone, continuing conversations on a Mac is sometimes a struggle.

How do you type an emoji when you’re quote retweeting on Twitter, or when you’re too busy to type an actual reply in your group chat? If you have a MacBook Pro with Touchbar How to Try the New MacBook Touch Bar for Free Right Now How to Try the New MacBook Touch Bar for Free Right Now Apple's fancy new Touch Bar is only available if you spend $1,800 or more on the new MacBook Pro. Here's how you can try it for free on your Mac or via your iPad instead. Read More , the emoji picker for the Messages app will show up automatically. But what about the rest of us?

There are multiple ways you can match iOS’s emoji game on your Mac — and in some cases, even surpass it using text shortcuts.

1. Search on Emojipedia

emojipedia emoji apps mac

As someone who didn’t grow up using emojis, Emojipedia is a life saver. As the name suggests, it’s the emoji encyclopedia. It lists every emoji known the mankind, with a handy shortcut to copy one.

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What I like the most about the website are the search and categorization features. It’s really easy to find the emoji I’m looking for (that I don’t know of) using descriptive search. Sometimes, when I’m writing something, or I’m in the middle of a conversation, searching on Emojipedia gets me better and faster results.

2. Use the Built-In Emoji Picker

If you’re a longtime Mac user, you might know about the built-in emoji picker. When your cursor is active in a text field, use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Ctrl + Space to bring up the emoji picker.

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It will show up as a popup (similar to the Dictionary function Expand Your Mac's Dictionary App by Adding Additional Languages Expand Your Mac's Dictionary App by Adding Additional Languages Whether you're bilingual or just learning a new language, adding more dictionaries to your Mac is easy. Read More ) and you’ll be able to browse and select emojis you want to enter. As you’d expect, they’re sorted in categories and you’ll find your frequently used section at the top. You can expand this section to view more categories and different symbols.

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Emoji Pro Tip: If you don’t want to (or can’t remember) the keyboard shortcut, enable the emoji viewer menu bar button. Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard and enable Show keyboard and emoji in menu bar. Click the newly added icon, select Show Emoji & Symbols and you’ll be looking at the familiar emoji picker.

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3. Use Rocket for Quick Emoji Typing

Rocket brings Slack-style emoji typing to your entire Mac. If you’re not a part of a Slack group Solid Tips to Master Slack & Be the Most Effective Employee Ever Solid Tips to Master Slack & Be the Most Effective Employee Ever Don't have a strategy for managing Slack? It's time you got one. You can't let Slack do all the work for you. Try these tips to make effective use of Slack. Read More , the app has a rather smart way of typing emojis. Instead of picking a single emoji from a list of hundreds, you type a colon and then the shortcut for the corresponding emoji (which is usually descriptive of the emoji itself).

For instance, “:thumbsup” gives you a like emoji. Now, once you’ve installed Rocket on your Mac, you can get the same treatment in any messaging app.

Rocket emoji app

The free version of the app is quite limited. But if you pay the $4.99 fee, you’ll unlock full emoji search, a GIF pack, and more importantly, the ability to add custom shortcuts for emojis and GIFs so you don’t have to adhere to Rocket’s nomenclature.

4. Use Text Expansion Shortcuts

If you don’t want to install a third party app like Rocket, we can use the built in Text Replacement feature to achieve the same effect. Text Replacement feature lets you expand shortcuts to long phrases of text What Is Text Expansion & How Can It Help You Save Time? What Is Text Expansion & How Can It Help You Save Time? If you could save yourself even a small fraction of the time you spend typing, you could save hours of your time every week. That's exactly what text expansion is for. Read More , which can be a huge time saver. We can use the same feature for emojis.

Open System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Text and click on the + button. In the Replace section, type in the shortcut text. In the With section, paste in the emoji (from Emojipedia, for example). Next time you type in that shortcut, it will be replaced by emoji. Do this for the couple of emojis you use frequently.

emoji text replacement mac

We can speed this process by adding a preconfigured database of emojis to the Text Replacement feature. Download Macmoji plist file, change the extension to .plist and drag it over to the Text tab in Keyboard section in System Preferences. You now have hundreds of emojis added here. And you’re free to change the shortcut.

macmoji mac emoji apps

If you’re a TextExpander user 7 Tips For Automating Your Mac With TextExpander 7 Tips For Automating Your Mac With TextExpander If you haven't gotten on the Mac automation spaceship by now, you're missing out. Applications like Keyboard Maestro, Hazel, and TextExpander can speed up your workflow and save you lots of clicking, copying, pasting and... Read More , you can do the same by subscribing to Emoji Cheat Sheet public group (or add individual emojis as snippets on your own). You’ll see a new section show up in the sidebar. You can browse through and change the abbreviations for emojis as well.

textexpander mac emoji apps

5. Create Custom Emojis for Slack

Now that your entire Mac is on the same level as Slack when it comes to emojis, it’s time to step up your Slack emoji game. Let’s add custom emojis to Slack. There’s already a repository where you can find new and interesting animated emojis in Slack compatible formats. Go to Slackmojis, look for the emojis you want to add and download them to your Mac.

slackmojis mac emoji apps

Next, open Slack, select your team and from the top-left, click on Customize Slack. From this page, and select the Emoji tab.

Slack custom emojis

Here, click on Choose File to upload your image and give it a name (which will be its shortcut). Save the emoji and you’re all set. If you have Chrome installed 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Chrome on a MacBook 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Chrome on a MacBook Chrome is, for many people, the first thing installed on a new Macbook. It makes sense: in its early days Chrome gained a reputation for being lightweight and fast. Read More , you can use the Slack Emoji Tools extension to upload emojis in bulk (just double-check the names before uploading as they’ll be the shortcuts).

And Now, GIFs!

Whether it’s subtweeting on Twitter or a fiery group chat with your friends, emojis and GIFs go hand in hand. Now that you’ve figured out the emoji part, let’s move on to GIFs. Want to make one? Use GIPHY’s Capture app, or GIF Brewery 3.

When it comes to sending them, try PopKey for Mac. It’s a simple menu bar utility that lets you search, copy and send GIFs no matter which app, website or service you’re using.

What does your emoji workflow on the Mac look like? What are your favorite emojis? Share with us in the comments below.

Image Credit: vectorfusionart via Shutterstock.com

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