Mandarin, Spanish, and English are some of the most commonly spoken languages, but there’s perhaps only one that unites us all: the language of the emoji. The majority of us use them on our smartphones, but it’s possible to use them on the desktop, too.
That’s because Windows 10 has built-in support for emojis. No longer do you have to express things through words; now you can drop in an eggplant, frog face, or pumpkin emoji with ease. Let’s find out how to enable and use them in Windows 10.
After reading, please be sure to pop into the comments section to let us know if you’re using emojis on Windows 10 and how you find the experience.
History of Emojis in Windows
Emojis, which literally mean picture character, have been around in some form since the late 90s, originating in Japan. However, it’s only in recent years that they’ve become mainstream popular worldwide, mostly thanks to their implementation in modern smartphones.
When Windows 7 was released in 2009, emojis hadn’t found their widespread appeal and they weren’t built into the operating system. However, that same year they were included in the Unicode Standard, which is a system designed to achieve consistent encoding and display of written texts.
Come 2012 and Windows 8 hits the scene. Emojis are available here, but only in black and white, not in full color as could be found elsewhere. This came courtesy of a font called Segoe UI Symbol, which was also added to Windows 7 via an update. A year later and Windows 8.1 arrives, which introduces the Segoe UI Emoji font, allowing for color emojis.
And now we’re in the present with Windows 10. It still supports emojis, but a lot has changed in two years. Firstly, there’s been the introduction of new emojis like the Middle Finger, Vulcan Salute, and Slightly Frowning Face. Some emojis have also had their design changed, like the Face Screaming In Fear having hands added in, or the Relieved Face losing the beads of sweat.
Support for diversity modifiers has also been accounted for. Emojis are meant to be generic, but have been commonly represented with white-skinned characters. With Unicode Version 8, five different skin tones have been added, meaning some emojis can have their skin color customized. If you use WhatsApp, you’ll notice that yellow is their now default color; Windows, on the other hand, opts for grey.
How to Use Emojis in Windows 10
It’s easy to begin using emojis in Windows 10. Firstly, we need to enable the touch keyboard. To do so, right click your taskbar and select Show touch keyboard button (if it isn’t already ticked). This will place a new keyboard icon within your taskbar’s notification area.
Click this new icon and a keyboard will appear on your screen. Note that, confusingly, this is actually different to the on-screen keyboard which can be enabled within Settings. On this keyboard, next to space and Ctrl, you’ll see a smiling face. Click this to access the emoji selection.
Along the bottom are the different categories, like recently used, food, and travel, which you can click to explore all the different types of emojis. The arrows on the left-hand side can be used to scroll back and forth between the various pages. To input an emoji, whether it be on Twitter or in a comments section, simply click your cursor within the relevant text box and then select the emoji.
Bear in mind that although the operating system supports emojis, not all programs within it will. One notable exception is Google Chrome, which currently lacks emoji support in its Windows version.
You’ll also find that not all supported emojis are actually accessible from this keyboard. For example, you can’t actually select skin tone nor the Middle Finger emoji, despite Windows 10 supporting it. For these emojis and some others, you’ll have to copy and paste them from a website like Get Emoji. Hopefully a future update of Windows 10 will patch in support for these within the touch keyboard.
Some Emojis Explained
Let’s take a look at some of the Windows 10 emojis available and try to work out exactly what they represent.
Information Desk Person
While this emoji is technically meant to be someone offering help at an information desk, it took on a whole different meaning when Apple chose to display it as a woman with her hand to her side on iOS. It’s often used to show sassiness, which Microsoft is very clearly aware of as they’ve decided to make the woman wink in their latest update.
Raised Hand with Part Between Middle and Ring Fingers
That’s the proper name for it, but this new emoji is really just the Vulcan salute. If you’re not aware, though I’m sure you are, this is the hand gesture that Leonard Nimoy devised for his character Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series. Live long and prosper.
Reversed Hand with Middle Finger Extended
Sure, you can send someone an annoyed face or a pile of poo, but nothing really expresses your anger or disdain like a middle finger. This emoji was recommended by Unicode 7 in 2014, so it’s taken a little while to be supported, but it’s definitely been worth the wait. This is likely to become a very popular emoji.
For more analysis of emoji meaning, be sure to check out our Emoji to English dictionary.
Emote with Emojis
Everyone has their own favorite emoji! Their great fun to send and they’re not just limited to your handheld device. Get using them in Windows 10 – how else will you quickly communicate a shocked cat, ghost, or a plate of pasta?
With Windows 10 updates being compulsory, you can be sure that all the latest and greatest emojis will be pushed to your system when Microsoft adds in support for them.
Do you use emojis within Windows 10? Do you think anything could be improved with the experience?