Windows 11 users are getting a new batch of emoji this week via an optional OS update. One of the nearly 2,000 modernized emoji is none other than Microsoft’s (infamous) office assistant, Clippy. The emoji won’t help you when you’re writing a word document, but his return is welcome — at least, for those who liked Clippy’s animated hijinks.
This update is part of Microsoft’s push to bring Microsoft 365 products like Office and Teams more in line with its Fluent Design System. Windows 11’s softer, rounder look is a clear example of Microsoft's Fluent design language, and the 1,800 updated emoji — Clippy included — certainly fit into that design philosophy.
Though the abundance of updated 2D emoji is welcome, they aren’t exactly what Microsoft promised. Back in July, Microsoft showcased 3D emoji as a new feature coming to Office, Teams, Skype and various other Microsoft products and services with Windows 11. Many fans assumed this meant that the 3D emoji would be available as a core feature of Windows 11 itself. However, when Microsoft began testing the new emoji in Windows 11 last month, the 3D designs the company originally unveiled were nowhere in sight.
As reported by Windows Central (opens in new tab), Microsoft spokespeople have acknowledged that the company didn’t properly communicate where the 3D emoji would actually appear in the original announcement post (opens in new tab), which went live on Medium in July. It has since been updated to clarify that the 3D emoji will only be accessible in Windows 11 apps that support them, and there are no plans to make them available across Windows 11.
Will we ever see 3D emoji in Windows 11? It's yet unclear, though as The Verge (opens in new tab) points out, it’s possible that the absence of 3D emoji could be related to the technical limitations of the color font format the company uses to show emojis within Windows. If this is indeed the case, Microsoft would need to devise a way to circumvent this hurdle.
If you’re a Windows 11 user and want to install the November 2021 Windows 11 preview update to check out the new emoji, you can do so by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and choosing “Check for updates.” After that, press the Windows key + period to pull up the emoji picker and be reunited with Clippy. Note that this update is only available on Windows 11. If you’re a Windows 10 user, you’ll have to make do with the old emoji.
We've now also got information on Windows 11's first major update which will include several requested taskbar enchantments as well as much-needed Android app support.