Email, Messaging, & Video Calls Texting & Messaging 178 178 people found this article helpful What Exactly Is Bitmoji? Create your own avatar and add some fun to texts and Snapchat by Sarah Silbert Writer Sarah Lawrence is a consumer technology writer whose work has appeared in Fortune and MIT Technology Review. She's also a previous senior editor at Engadget. our editorial process LinkedIn Sarah Silbert Updated on November 14, 2019 Texting & Messaging Email Texting & Messaging Video Calls Tweet Share Email If you spend time on Facebook, Slack, Snapchat, Gmail, or the countless other apps and services available online, chances are you've come across a friend or colleague's personalized cartoon avatar: a Bitmoji. Lifewire / Daniel Fishel The Basics of Bitmoji Bitmoji is a brand from the company Bitstrips, which was originally known for letting you create your own comic strips using a personalized cartoon avatar of yourself. Snapchat acquired the company in 2016. The basic premise of Bitmoji is that you create a cartoon version of yourself that you can use across a variety of web-based services from Snapchat to Gmail and beyond. It's all about adding some fun to your communications. You'll find no real productivity-minded features here. The brand uses the slogan "Your personal emoji." In addition to letting you create a cute, surprisingly accurate digital version of yourself, Bitmoji offers lots of versions of your avatar, with different captions and emotions. Some of the top apps and services that offer integration with Bitmoji include: FacebookFacebook MessengerGmailSnapchatSlack This list is hardly exhaustive; the Bitmoji keyboard works with any app that supports copy and paste, so you'll be able to take your avatar pretty much anywhere you go virtually. Getting Started With Bitmoji You might come across the option to create a Bitmoji avatar within the Snapchat app, but you must download the Bitmoji app to get started. The Android app requires Android 4.3 or later, and the iPhone app requires iOS 9.0 or later. You can use Bitmoji with the Chrome web browser, too, and you also can add it as an extension. No matter which option you choose, it's free to download. After you download the Bitmoji app for your smartphone operating system or Chrome, you create a login. You can sign up via email or Snapchat. After you sign up and are logged in, you get to the fun part: creating your own Bitmoji. You go through several screens, customizing your avatar along the way by choosing a hairstyle, eye color, nose shape, and much more. You can always go back if you don't like what you've come up with — and even if you're satisfied with what you've made, you can still go back and change things later. Bitmoji Keyboard When you're happy with the Bitmoji version of yourself that you created, set up the Bitmoji keyboard on your smartphone so you can share your avatar in texts and compatible apps. The Bitmoji app provides instructions on how to do this on your specific device after you save your first Bitmoji. The instructions are also in the settings if you decide to set up the keyboard later. Customizing Things Further One of the cool things about Bitmoji is that the customization options for your avatar don't end after you've finalized your digital character. You can change your Bitmoji's clothing by heading to the Dress Your Avatar section of the app, where you'll find plenty of wardrobe options. You'll find seasonal options, too; for example, during the NBA playoffs, the app usually offers jerseys for every team. There are also plenty of themed choices (such as job-related outfits for everything from a chef to a firefighter). Snapchat owns Bitmoji now, so you can expect to see some brand collaborations. You also can purchase paid theme packs if you want even more Bitmoji options. Most clothing packs cost $0.99, but prices can fluctuate, so check before getting your heart set on an outfit. Bitmoji in Snapchat You need to enable Bitmoji in Snapchat even if you went through the Snapchat app to download Bitmoji. To do this: Open Snapchat.Tap the ghost icon on the top of the camera screen.Click the gear icon to open Settings.Tap Bitmoji > Link Bitmoji. You don't have to enable Bitmoji in Snapchat for it to work in other chat apps, but you might want to. Bottom Line Bitmoji is a fun — and for the most part, free — way to jazz up your texts and messages, and getting the hang of it is easy. Now that you understand the ins and outs of using this avatar, go forth and share silly versions of yourself.