Every major messaging app on iOS has a dedicated emoji button. Many third-party keyboards even have emoji suggestions built in. If you are used to these emoji features on your iPhone, it can sometimes be difficult to resume conversations on a Mac.
How do you type an emoji when you retweet a quote on Twitter? Or when you're too busy to enter an actual answer in your group chat? If you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, the Emoji picker for the Messages app will appear automatically. But what about the rest of us?
There are several ways you can match iOS emoji game on your Mac – and in some cases you can even top it off with text shortcuts.
1. Use the built-in emoji picker
If you've been a long-time Mac user, you might be familiar with the built-in emoji picker. When your cursor is active in a text field, use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Ctrl + Spacebar to bring up the emoji selection.
It will appear as a popup (similar to the dictionary feature) and you can browse and select emojis that you want to enter. As you'd expect, they're sorted by category and you can find your frequently used section above. You can expand this section to see more categories and different icons. It's the easiest way to insert and use emojis across multiple apps on your Mac.
MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY
Emoji Pro Tip: When you no longer want to use (or can't remember) the keyboard shortcut, you can use the globe (Fn) Key on your keyboard as a shortcut. Go to System Preferences> Keyboard and put Press globe (or Press Fn) to Show emojis & symbols. If you press now Fn Key that Show emoji & symbols A window will automatically open in which you can insert emojis.
If you'd prefer a screen shortcut instead of a dedicated button, go to System Preferences> Keyboard> Input Sources and activate Show input in the menu bar. Click on the newly added icon, select Show emoji & symbols and you check out the familiar emoji selection.
2. Search on Emojipedia
For someone who didn't grow up with emojis, emojipedia is a lifesaver. As the name suggests, it is the emoji encyclopedia. It lists all the emojis known to mankind with a handy shortcut to copy one.
What I like most about this website are the search and categorization features. It's really easy to find the emoji (which I don't know about) that you are looking for with a descriptive search. Sometimes when I'm writing something or in the middle of a conversation, searching on Emojipedia will get me better and faster results than any other option.
3. Use Rocket for quick emoji entry
Rocket brings Slack-style emoji typing to your entire Mac. When you're not part of a Slack group, the app offers a pretty clever way of entering emojis. Instead of picking a single emoji from a list of hundreds, enter a colon (:) and then enter the shortcut for the appropriate emoji (which usually describes the emoji itself).
For example, :Thumbs up gives you a "like" emoji. Once you've installed Rocket on your Mac, you can get the same treatment in any messaging app.
The free version of the app is quite limited. However, if you pay the $ 4.99 fee, you'll unlock full emoji search and a GIF pack. More importantly, you can also add custom shortcuts for emojis and GIFs so you don't have to stick to Rocket's nomenclature. You can also use the Rocket button on the menu bar on the paid version to easily find and paste emojis anywhere on your Mac.
4. Use shortcuts to expand text
If you don't want to install a third-party app like Rocket, you can use the built-in text replacement feature to get the same result. With the text replacement function, you can expand links to long sentences of text, which can save an enormous amount of time. We can use the same function for emojis.
Open minded System Preferences> Keyboard> Text and click on that plus (+) Button. By doing Substitute Section, enter the link text. By doing With insert the emoji (e.g. from Emojipedia). The next time you enter this shortcut, it will be replaced with the emoji. Do this for the few emojis that you use frequently.
We can speed up this process by adding a pre-configured database of emojis to the text replacement feature. Download this Macmoji plist file from GitHub, change the extension to .plist and drag it over to the text Tab in keyboard System settings. You have now added hundreds of emojis here. And you can change the shortcuts as you like.
If you're a TextExpander user, you can do the same thing by subscribing to the public emoji cheat sheet group (or by adding individual emojis as snippets yourself). A new section will appear in the sidebar. You can also browse and change the abbreviations for emojis.
5. Create custom emojis for Slack
Now that your entire Mac is on par with Slack in terms of emojis, it's time to step up your Slack emoji game. Let's add custom emojis to Slack. There is already a repository where you can find new and interesting animated emojis in Slack compatible formats. Go to Slackmojis, find the emojis you want to add and download them on your Mac.
Next open Relaxed, select your team and click in the top left Customize Slack. On this page, select the Emoji Tab.
Click here on Choose file to upload your picture and give it a name (which will be the abbreviation). Save the emoji and you are done. With Chrome installed, you can use the Slack Emoji Tools extension to upload emojis in bulk (just double-check the names before uploading as these are the shortcuts).
And now GIFs!
Whether you're posting on Twitter or commenting on a fiery group chat with your friends, emojis and GIFs go hand in hand. Now that you've figured out the emoji part, give GIFs a try, which can be even more interactive and healthier to send to friends.
6 best free GIF maker apps for Mac
Are you looking for Mac GIF creators to make the perfect GIF on your computer? Here are the best Mac apps for your GIF creation needs.
About the author
(114 published articles)
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer and user experience designer. When he's not helping people get the most out of their current technology, he's helping customers build better apps and websites. In his spare time he watches comedy specials on Netflix and tries one more time to read a long book. He's @pixendetective on Twitter.
From Khamosh Pathak
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter for tech tips, reviews, free e-books, and exclusive deals!
Click here to subscribe