How to Insert Emoji in macOS Mail

Spice up your emails with this easy step-by-step guide

Inserting emoji in your Apple Mail messages is easy because a full emoji menu is just a few clicks away.

Emoji include symbols to express emotions and pictographs for common concepts and objects. Using emoji, you can add character, emotion, and life to otherwise bland messages. Adding emoji to an email is easy, and you can add them not only to the body message but also insert them into the Subject and To fields.

Instructions in this article apply to devices running Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and later.

How to Add Emojis to Mail in macOS Mojave (10.14) and Later

The latest versions of macOS have made it fast and easy to insert emojis. Here's how you do it.

  1. While composing an email, place the cursor where you want the emoji to go.

  2. Ensure the toolbar is visible by selecting Show Toolbar under the View menu.

    You can also press Option+Command+T on your keyboard.

    Show Toolbar command in Apple Mail
  3. Click the emoji button in the upper-right corner to open the menu.

    Emoji button in Mail
  4. Click and drag the emoji you want to add to your message.

    Dragging an emoji to a message in Mail

How to Add Emojis to Mail Using the Touch Bar

If you have a MacBook Pro from late 2016 or later, you probably have access to an even faster way to add emojis to email and other messages: the Touch Bar. Apple's touch-sensitive contextual menu performs a variety of functions, including an emoji keyboard.

  1. While composing a message in Mail, place the cursor where you want to insert the emoji.

  2. Tap the Emoji button on the Touch Bar.

  3. Drag to find the emoji you want to use.

    Emojis on a MacBook's Touch Bar


    Stephen Lam/Stringer / Getty Images 
  4. Tap the desired emoji to add it after the cursor.

  5. Repeat with any other emojis you want to add to your message.

How to Add Emojis to Mail in Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9)- macOS High Sierra (10.13)

In less recent versions of OS X and macOS, you can access the emoji keyboard via Mail's Edit menu. Here's what to do.

  1. While composing an email message, position the cursor where you want the emoji to go.

  2. Press Control+Command+Space on your keyboard, or go to Edit > Emoji & Symbols to open the built-in emoji keyboard.

    Alternatively, press Control+Command+Space on your keyboard.

  3. Search for or browse through the pop-up menu to find the emoji you want to insert into the email.

  4. Select one or more emoji to instantly insert it into the email. If the pop-up box doesn't close when you insert the emoji, use the exit button to close out of that menu and return to your email.

Emoji characters don't always look the same in every operating system, so the emoji you send over email from your Mac might not appear the same to a Windows user or someone on an Android tablet.

If you find the emoji menu too small, expand it to open the full Character Viewer menu using the small button at the top right corner of the emoji menu. Use the Emoji option on the left to find just emoji, or select any of the other menus for arrows, stars, currency symbols, math symbols, punctuation, music symbols, Latin, and other symbols and characters to insert into the email. If you go this route, you have to double-click the emoji to add it to the email.

How to Add Emojis to Mail in Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8)

The early implementation of emojis in Apple Mail used a different procedure to access the new characters. Follow these steps to insert them.

  1. Navigate to Edit > Special Characters... from within Mail.

  2. Choose the Emoji section.

  3. If you don't see the Emoji section, open the settings gear icon in the Characters window toolbar and go to Customize List... to make sure Emoji is selected under Symbols.