How to Insert Emojis and Symbols in Mac?

Emojis are the small icons used to show your expressions on chats and other applications. They are also referred as smileys or emoticons in general. Nowadays, using emojis is a common practice even on a formal office documents. On a Mac, the emojis and symbols are inserted on documents and other places using a tool called “Character Viewer”. In this article we will explain how to insert emojis and symbols in macOS using character viewer. Learn also how to insert emojis in Windows.

How to Insert Emojis and Symbols in Mac

Open any applications like Pages, Numbers or Keynote on your Mac. Simply press “Control + Command + Space” keys. This will open the “Character Viewer” as shown below:

Viewing Character Viewer in Mac with Keyboard Shortcut
Viewing Character Viewer in Mac with Keyboard Shortcut

You can click on any of the emoji icons to insert on your document. The icons are categorized into large number of groups for the ease of use.

Viewing Complete Character Viewer

The small popup window is difficult to search for the icons. Click on the “Character Viewer” icon on the top right corner.

View Larger Character Viewer
View Larger Character Viewer

This will open the larger view of the character viewer like below:

Viewing Larger Character Viewer
Viewing Larger Character Viewer

If you feel difficult to look for the icon then use the search box to search for specific icon.

Using Character Viewer

There are large number of categories available for you to look for.

  • Frequently used section will show you the recently used icons for quick insertion of symbols
  • Emoji section has plenty of subsections
    • Smileys & People, Animals & Nature, Food & Drink, Activity, Travel & Places, Objects, Symbols and Flags
  • Arrows
  • Bullets / Stars
  • Currency Symbols
  • Latin
  • Letterlike Symbols
  • Math Symbols
  • Parenthesis
  • Pictographs
  • Punctuation
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These categories are shown in the right sidebar of the character viewer. The middle section shows the actual icons and the preview of the selected icon is shown in the left pane. For each selected icon, there are also related characters and font variation shows under the preview. You can also easily add the icons to your favorites for quick use.

When you add an icon using “Add to Favorites” button, there will be a new category created with the name “Favorites”. View all favorite icons under this category. Also the icons can be removed from favorite any point of time.

Open Character Viewer Using Menu

When you are inside the apps like Pages, Numbers and Keynote, navigate to “Edit > Emoji & Symbols”. This will open the same character viewer and you can choose the icons to insert on your documents.

Inserting Smileys and Symbols

Double click on any of the icon you like to insert it in your document. Most of the smileys offer skin tone variations which can be seen when you click on the icon.

Viewing Variations
Viewing Variations

Choose any of the variation you want to insert, this will also change the icons in the character viewer to that skin tone. If you want to choose variation or go back to the default one then just click on the icon and hold for sometime to view the variations in popup like above picture.

Below are some of the example icons inserted using character viewer directly on the WordPress post editor.

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😅😇😍🥥🥅🏏🏹🚖🎛☯️🎾🐯🦊😝😋

Limitations of Character Viewer

Though character viewer works on most of the default Mac applications, it does not work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint on Mac. If you are using one of these Microsoft Office app then go to “Insert > Symbols” menu and use either “Symbol Browser…” or “Advanced Symbol…” option to insert clip art, symbols and special characters.

Symbol Browser for Microsoft Mac Apps
Symbol Browser for Microsoft Mac Apps

But there will be no smileys available in the symbol browser. So you should use keyboard shortcuts like : – ) to insert smileys.

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