How to Set Up an Emoji Keyboard on Linux
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fix that. Just pick and choose the one you like best! Follow what works best for you, and you’ll be able to type out emojis in no time.
Emoji Input: Keyboard
On Windows, the emoji panel is triggered by a keystroke, and used with a mouse click. If you prefer to type them out for easy use, then there’s a very easy solution on Linux. It combines software to let you type in foreign languages , with an input method that gives it the ability to type in emojis. This is called UniEmoji (for a specific input framework called IBus).
When everything is set up, you should be able to type whatever emoji you like, either by inputting them, or searching. This can be much faster and easier than something like a popup window, but takes a little more setting up.
Getting the Program
Firstly, you need to make sure you have a program called IBus installed. It lets you type in different languages, even if your keyboard isn’t designed for it. By default, it comes with Linux operating systems that run the GNOME desktop , such as the latest version of Ubuntu. If that’s not the case, this command will install it.
sudo apt install ibus
IBus works by installing different modules for different languages. In this case, you’ll need UniEmoji to allow it to type out emoticons. You’ll need to install it from source to get things working. This is easy enough to do with these commands:
sudo add-apt-repository universe && sudo apt update sudo apt install git make git clone https://github.com/salty-horse/ibus-uniemoji.git cd ibus-uniemoji sudo make install ibus restart
This should install everything you need to get emoticons working with IBus, finally restarting the program if it’s running (so it can see the new module). If you find that the program isn’t working properly, try installing these prerequisites:
sudo apt install python gir1.2-ibus-1.0
These are two pieces of software that UniEmoji relies on to work. They’re usually included by default in Ubuntu, so you shouldn’t have to do this. If you want, you can also install a piece of software which will make searching up emojis faster, using these commands:
sudo add-apt-repository universe && sudo apt update sudo apt install python-levenshtein
The first line is only needed if the second line doesn’t work. That is to say, if APT can’t find the package you’re looking for.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to do some extra setup to make things work properly. After installing a language, IBus needs to add it as an active input method. In this case, you’ll need to add UniEmoji first.
Your steps will be slightly easier if you use the GNOME desktop , since it integrates IBus in its system. If you followed the instructions above, all you need to do is open up your system settings, and navigate to the relevant place. Do this by entering in the command below:
From there, go to Region & Language > Input Sources. You should see an option to add new sources (the plus button). Select this, and click on the More button (the stack of three squares at the bottom). From here, click on Other > Other (uniemoji). You should be able to select this by double clicking, or selecting the Add button.
For desktops other than GNOME, you might have to start IBus first. To do this, run this command:
This should create an icon in your system tray. Right click on it, and select the Preferences button. You’ll be presented with a window to configure IBus with.
From there, select Input Method > Add. The steps to find the UniEmoji option are the same as GNOME’s: Other > Other (uniemoji).
You’ll know if the steps worked or not if you can click on the IBus tray icon. UniEmoji should be an option for you to select. By default, you can also switch to it by pressing the Super + Space keys.
Once you’re done, you should be able to type whatever emoji you wish, either by searching for it, or typing in the equivalent symbol.
Emoji Input: Mouse
If you’d prefer to select your emojis by mouse, there’s an easy solution called Emoji Keyboard. It resides in your system tray as a panel you can show and hide, which provides you with a way to copy or insert the emoji of your choice.
Getting it is quite easy if you’re using a Debian-based Linux operating system . All you need to do is head to the program’s Github page and install the provided DEB file. This should be as easy as double clicking it. Any required programs should be installed along with it, no other steps required. If this is not the case, you may have to run these commands below first, which should fix these problems:
sudo add-apt-repository universe && sudo apt update sudo apt install xclip
From here, you should be able to launch the program from your application menu (or from the terminal using the command emoji-keyboard). This should create an icon in your system tray. You can click on this, to bring up a set of options, including settings to adjust its behavior, and a virtual keyboard to enter emojis.
On future reboots , you shouldn’t have to worry about manually starting the program. By default, it will run on startup.
If you’re using the GNOME desktop , you have a few extra ways to input emojis, which you might prefer. They’re a little more integrated into the environment, so they’re worth looking at.
The first option comes as a GNOME Shell extension , which acts like a system tray icon. Once installed, all you need to do to is click on it, to bring up a panel of emojis to select things from. Another plus about this solution is that it’s all you need to do — there’s no fiddling with other required programs and the like.
The easiest way to install this extension is to open up GNOME’s default browser and to visit the extension’s page. There should be a button that allows you to install Emoji Selector. After being extra confirmation, you’ll find the app in your system tray.
Having done this, you can click on the icon it provides to bring up a selection of emojis. By default, it’s also possible to bring up this panel using the Super + E shortcut. You also have the option to search for them, if you like. Selecting one copies it to your clipboard — you still need to paste it to see the result.
This final emoji input method is actually written by GNOME developers. It’s a bit like the Windows character map , but geared towards special glyphs (specifically emojis). Installing it is quite simple: all you need to do is enter these commands.
sudo add-apt-repository universe && sudo apt update sudo apt install gnome-characters
Once you’ve done this, you should find a program called Characters in your application list. On start up, you’ll be greeted with a list of different emoticons to choose from. Clicking on one of them will bring up a menu, which shows its Unicode translation , and a button to copy it for later use.
If you like, you can even set up a keyboard shortcut to launch this on command. All you need to do is attach the keystroke of your liking to the program gnome-characters.
Linux Has Emojis Too
There are many ways of going about doing something on Linux. This includes your choice of desktop environment , to the file manager you use, and even, as shown, your means of inserting emojis. They all have their pros and cons, but the nice thing is you get to choose which ones you’ll have.
How will you end up typing out your emojis? Will you even consider it?