Typing Emoji and Other Special Characters

It is easier than ever before to add special characters like emoji or symbols to anything you type on your Mac. But just using a simple keyboard shortcut, you can browse and search through different types of characters and add them to your text. Recently, Apple added the ability to set the skin color for many emojis.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On this episode let's take a look at how to type Emoji and other special characters on your Mac.

So typing Emoji in Mac OS 10 is pretty straight forward. Yosemite makes it really easy. It is just a keyboard combination. Control, Command, and space and it brings up this special little window here with an arrow showing you exactly where it is going to place it. All the different emoji. You can be scroll through very easily and see everything or you can jump to portions using the buttons at the bottom.

You can not only use standard emoji but you can access some symbols and special things very easily without having to know any special keyboard combinations to use them.

The first one over here is your Frequently Used. So as you start to use them a lot you will see the ones you use a lot at the top and you can just touch one to use it. So I'm going to touch one of these here and it will insert it there in my text. I can do it again to use another one. It is as easy as that if you want to add them.

But there is a little more that you can do. So I'm going to bring this up here. There are certain emoji now that have different skin tones. Not these standard circle faces here but the ones that look a little bit more like regular people. If I click and hold I will see different colors appear at the top. So here I can just choose one. It will tell me a little bit about it the first time I use it. Now I've got it in there and I can do it again and select a different one.

A lot of these have them but a lot of them don't as well. The ones that you expect to have them is anytime you can clearly see a face, for instance, you can do it. Other times you can't. So that one didn't have any but this one does. So there is a lot of different things. Even these hands here, thumbs up and thumbs down, have different colors that you can choose from.

Now if you are not sure which emoji to use or what they are for you can actually see names for them. So as I roll over them with the cursor I can see Face with tears of joy, Expressionless face, Pouting face, etc. I can search for these. So, for instance, say I'm looking through and there are some that are cats in here. Sure enough if I search for cat it will show me the ones that have anything to do with a cat. Like this one here and these over here.

Even just regional things. So, for instance, this flag here indicator, regional indicator cat is in there. So stuff like that will come up. But it does help you. It is very literal. So if I search for smile I only get these. But if I search for smiling, because the actual name has the word smiling not smile in it, I get these.

So you can search around and try to find them very easily without having to search through all of them or maybe you just have an idea of what you want to use in a text message or an email and you want to search to see if there is something there. Just keep trying different things.

The searches come in really useful when you want to do a symbol. For instance, say I need yen symbol, there it is. Say I want euro and there that one is. So there are a lot of different ways you can quickly find things. A lot easier than before and looking at charts or huge lists of keyboard combinations and different symbols. It is much easier to use this interface here.

If you click here on this button it expands to the full character palette where you can actually access a lot more things that are in here in different ways and you see all sorts of different things related to the characters that you are selecting.

So of course a word of warning. These emoji are kind of a standard now. So if you are sending these in a message or email or anything to somebody that has a Mac with the latest version they are going to see exactly the same emoji. You can also send them to somebody using Windows they should see something very similar if not the same if they are all up to date. But if somebody using an older Mac or older version of Windows they may not see these characters at all because their system is too old to even know about them.

Comments: 21 Responses to “Typing Emoji and Other Special Characters”

    7/9/15 @ 7:00 am

    i am going to try it today. Before I read this I failed at putting one in an e-mail. We will see if I have learned anything. Thanks.

    Christine Patch
    7/9/15 @ 7:35 am

    Thanks for this. Followed your instruction but the Emoji did not appear on my page. I was using the MAC mail programme. Any suggestions?


      7/9/15 @ 7:36 am

      Which version of OS X are you using? Is it Yosemite?

    Merrill Petrow
    7/9/15 @ 8:03 am

    It doesn’t work with Word 2008. I’m using Yosemite. Any ideas?

      7/9/15 @ 8:22 am

      I’d imagine not, since Yosemite didn’t exist in 2008. Can’t expect 7 year old software to support features that didn’t exist when it was released.

    Bill Locke
    7/9/15 @ 10:01 am

    Gary, thanks for your emoji tips. Very useful. I always enjoy your useful videos.
    Related to this: Mac users lost the easy way of inserting French and Spanish characters with accents with the newest OS versions. We used to just depress longer the keyboard letters we needed and the options appeared. Depress a and the รก option would appear for typing in Spanish, for example. Now one has to invoke the special keyboard and go from there. Any easy shortcuts that emulate the old way?

      7/9/15 @ 10:20 am

      Bill, that method is actually the “new” method and it works fine in Yosemite. Is it not working for you? Not sure what could be wrong. There are ways to disable it, but they are advanced and wouldn’t happen by accident.

    Kent Heaps
    7/9/15 @ 10:43 am

    Pressing control, command and space bar does not seem to bring up any emoji’s on my mac using the Lion os10 software. Am I doing something wrong?

      7/9/15 @ 10:44 am

      Lion is much too old. I can’t remember the exact version of OS X this was introduced, but it was newer than Lion. Mavericks, perhaps.

    7/9/15 @ 12:51 pm

    Nice! Hitting “control command space” inside Final Cut Pro X 10.2.1 while editing 3D text allows 3D manipulation of the installed symbols! Awesome! Thanks Gary.

    7/9/15 @ 1:13 pm

    Not working in gmail on MacBook Pro Yosemite 10.10.4 in Chrome; is there an extension? I will try another browser.

      7/9/15 @ 3:52 pm

      Chrome may not have this enabled. Try Safari.

    7/10/15 @ 1:36 am

    This doesn’t work in Gmail ๐Ÿ˜ž

      7/10/15 @ 1:37 am

      That’s Gmail using Safari….

        7/10/15 @ 6:23 am

        For me, it works in Gmail (web-based) for the Subject line, but not the body.

          7/10/15 @ 12:47 pm

          Thanks Gary, will have to put them all there then!

    7/10/15 @ 6:36 am

    Thanks for all your help!
    I have a new MacBook Air running Yosemite, but in Mail and TextEdit nothing happens with Control-Command-Space. Tried it several ways. I CAN get emoji by requesting it in Mail Help. It says to use the character viewer. My software is supposedly up to date… Baffled! But since I can get the viewer I can use that.

      7/10/15 @ 6:40 am

      Not sure why this doesn’t work for some people. Perhaps there is some software out there that is blocking or using that combination of keys.

        7/12/15 @ 5:18 am

        I FOUND it under Edit! But the keyboard command still doesn’t work. I think it says “shift + Command + T” … I tried that and variations — nothing worked. Must be a Yosemite glitch? but if it’s in the overhead menu that’s perfect. I now have emoji power!

    7/10/15 @ 1:51 pm

    Hi Gary! Thanks for all the many many hints and tips. I love using emojis, and this surely helps….but one at a time is what I have. If I wnat another, I have to go through the C-C-S again. Is there a way to keep the emoji board up?

      7/10/15 @ 3:56 pm

      Just click on the little bottom at the very top right, next to the search field.

Comments Closed.