Emoji key

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An Emoji key (not to be confused with U+1F511) opens a menu for picking Emoji characters for inserting into text.

They are most common on touch-screen keyboards for changing into an emoji layer, but are also available on some physical keyboards where they launch a separate picker on the screen.

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft introduced a physical Emoji key on the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard and Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard in 2019, together with their proprietary Office key. It does officially require Microsoft Windows 10, version 1903 (May 2019 Update) or later. The dedicated key sends the USB usage codes for Ctrl, Shift, Alt, Control and Space all at once (in effect the Office key+Space).

The Emoji Picker can also be launched with Windows+. (period) or Windows+; (semicolon).

Apple Macintosh

An emoji picker is sometimes visible in the touch bar on some keyboards.

On macOS 10.9 and later, an emoji picker is launched on screen with Control ^+Command ⌘+Space. That shortcut could however also be mapped by an application program to do something else.


Compose key

Some sequences with the Compose key produce a symbol: for instance Compose:).


The GTK+ toolkit is the base for several desktop environments such as Mate, Cinnamon and Gnome.

There is an emoji selector built-into the text fields. It is enabled with Control+.. It is not available in a terminal.

Control+ Shift+u produces a unicode prompt. It works also in the terminal.

Control+ Shift+e produces an emoji prompt, but it has been deprecated and will be removed in a future version.

External links