It's easy to use emoji when typing on a Mac.
  • You can use emoji in nearly any Mac app through the "Emoji & Symbols" menu.
  • To open your Mac's Emoji menu, you can use a keyboard shortcut, or find it by clicking "Menu" at the top of the screen.
  • The Emoji menu will let you insert any emoji, along with a number of other symbols, punctuation marks, and accented letters.
  • Once opened, you can change the size of the emoji, as well as mark your favourites.
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Emoji are available on nearly every platform - and Macs are no exception. Although it's not as easy to find them as it is on an iPhone, most macOS apps let you type emojis wherever you have the ability to type.

Here's how to type with emojis on any Mac computer, using the emoji menu.

How to use emojis on a Mac

First open nearly anyMac application - the only notable apps that don't allow emoji are Adobe products, like Photoshop. Here, we'll use "Text Edit."

1. Click a spot where you can type.

2. You can open the emoji menu in two ways:

  • At the top of the screen, click "Edit," and then select "Emoji & Symbols." It should be the last option on the list. If you don't see this option, the app likely doesn't support emoji.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Control + Command + Spacebar.
By default, there are two ways to open the emoji menu.

3. A scrolling screen displaying emojis will appear - this is the "Character Viewer." It might look familiar to iPhone users.

4. Before anything, click the icon in the top-right corner that looks like a little box. This will open the full Character Viewer, with more options, symbols, and settings.

You'll have to click to open the full Character Viewer, as it's not the default.

5. Scroll to find an emoji, or type in what you're looking for in the search bar in the top-right. You can also click any of the categories on the left to find other symbols that aren't emoji, including currency symbols, accented characters, arrows, and more. If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can also browse emoji there.

6. To add an emoji or symbol to your text, double-click it. If you do this and nothing happens, make sure that you've clicked a space where you're actually able to type.

You can add the emoji or symbol you want in a few ways.

You can also click-and-drag the emoji into the text, or if yourMac has a Touch Bar, you can also tap the emoji there to add it.

Some emoji will offer you a choice in skin colour when you click on them. If an emoji that's supposed to offer skin colour doesn't, or you want to change the colour later, click and hold on the emoji until the skin colour menu appears.

Emoji based on humans tend to have multiple skin colors available.

To switch back to the simple Character Viewer, click the box icon in the top-right again.

How to customise the Character Viewer with your favourite emoji

Although you can't change the emoji or symbols in the Character Viewer, you can change how they're displayed.

Firstly, you can change their size. This can make them easier to see, which is great, since you can't change the size of the Character Viewer menu itself.

1. Open the Character Viewer and click the gear icon in the top-left.

2. Under "Character Size," click one of the three size options. The emoji and symbols will change size immediately.

You can pick between "Small," "Medium," and "Large" sizes.

If there are certain emoji or symbols that you always want to have on hand, you can add them to a list of "Favourites." To do this:

1. Open the Character Viewer and find the emoji or symbol that you want to save.

2. Under its picture on the right, click "Add to Favourites."

3. As soon as you favourite your first emoji, a new category will appear in the list on the left, titled "Favourites."

There's no limit to how many favorites you can save.

4. Click "Favourites" on the left to see all the emoji and symbols you've saved.

5. To remove one from your favourites, click it again, and then click "Remove from Favourites" under its picture on the right.

You can also change your Mac's settings to give yourself another way to open the Character Viewer, but have it automatically open in expanded mode.

1. Click the Apple symbol in your toolbar and click "System Preferences" in the drop-down menu.

2. Click "Keyboard," then click "Input Sources" at the top.

3. Check the box next to "Show Input menu in the menu bar." Once checked, you should see a new, rectangular icon in the menu bar. If you've already added multiple keyboard languages, this will look like the flag for whatever country's language you've set as the default.

Add the "Input menu" to your menu bar.

4. Click the icon, and then select "Show Emoji & Symbol." The Character Viewer will open in expanded mode.