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How to type emoji on Windows

A person using a laptop with emoji symbols floating around the laptop, suggesting she is using emoji on her computer
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you're wondering why you need to learn how to use emoji on Windows, it really all comes down to the advantages of using them in the first place.

Emoji are so ubiquitous in today's culture that it's easy to forget the actual benefit they provide — allowing us to express emotion, context or dog faces in otherwise emotion-less, context-less and dog-less bodies of text. Adding a laughing face to an email can reveal the intention behind it, preventing your words inadvertently coming across as rude, abrupt or even aggressive. 

So although they may seem a superficial by-product of the age of social media, emoji actually provide very important social cues, which is why it's important to be able to use them on all platforms, including Windows PCs.

However, while many programs on Windows already have their own built-in emoji keyboards, not all do, which is why it's so handy that Windows has a global emoji keyboard shortcut which you can use on every single app. What's more, in using this shortcut every day, I've found it's often the fastest way to access emoji on Windows, even when using an app that has an emoji keyboard already. 

If all that sounds useful, here's how to type emoji on Windows.

How to type emoji on Windows

  • Open an app
  • Press WIN + . (Windows key and period key)
  • Choose and insert an emoji

Read on to see detailed instructions for each step.


1. Open an app. Here's we're using the default Mail app, but this will work on any Windows app where you can enter text.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Press WIN + . (so the Windows key and the period key). This will open up the global symbols keyboard.

(Image credit: Future)

3. On the emoji pane, click the emoji you want to insert.

(Image credit: Future)

4. Using the selection bar above the emoji pane, switch to the other panes to see kaomoji or symbols.

(Image credit: Future)

5. Click on the clock icon to see and insert previously used symbols for each pane — this is incredibly useful for quickly inserting symbols you need frequently.

(Image credit: Future)

Now you can quickly input emoji and symbols on a Windows PC. If you're looking for more tips and tricks like this one, then you should read our guide on how to type an em dash on Windows and Mac. We also have lots of other Windows computing guides, so consider getting to grips with how to password protect folders on Windows and how to open HEIC files on Windows.

Peter Wolinski
Peter Wolinski

Peter is the How to Editor at Tom's Guide, based in the UK. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, obsessively detailing his car, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.