Insert Graphical Gmail Emoticons in Your Messages

Using Gmail emoticons, you can add the fun and expressivity of emoji (and more) to your messages.

More than mere smileys, emoji have become so popular that new ones pop up every day. There are so many, in fact, that numerous emoji translators have been built to help you keep up. 

In Gmail, you can always type standard plain text smileys (say, :-| or ; ) ) in your any email's body, of course. You can also insert graphical emoticons, however, and select from quite a large assortment of colorful smileys and emoji, some of them animated even.

The instructions in this article apply to both the desktop version of Gmail that's accessed through a web browser, and the mobile app versions of Gmail.

Insert Graphical Gmail Emoticons in Your Messages

To add a colorful and possibly animated image emoticon (emoji) in an email with Gmail:

  1. Start a new message and position the text cursor where you want the insert the Gmail emoticon.

  2. Click the Insert emoji button in the formatting toolbar (it sports a smiling face).

    Smiley face for inserting emoticons in Gmail
  3. Now click the desired emoji to insert it.

    The default tab might be the search tab, so you'll need to select the tab next to it to find the list of them all.

    Grid of Gmail emoticons in new message
  4. Use the tabs at the top to browse different Gmail emoji categories.

    Tabs for emoticon categories in Gmail
  5. Gmail will remember the emojis you've used, and keep them in an extra tab for quick access. Also, you can highlight and move or copy graphical smileys just like text.

Graphical emoticons will not be represented by corresponding text smileys (such as :-) ) in the plain text alternative of your message. Gmail will insert the emoji using Unicode encoding, which may not display with email programs that only display ASCII text. This also means they will show fine in most current email programs and services.

Insert Graphical Gmail Emoticons in Your Emails on Mobile Devices

To add emojis using the mobile web versions of Gmail and Gmail apps for iOS and Android, you can use the emoji keyboards available on iOS and on Android.

  1. Launch the Gmail app on your mobile phone and create a new message.

  2. Tap the emoji button to bring up the emoji keyboard.

  3. Tap the emojis you want to add to your message. Send as usual.

    Emoji keyboard in Gmail on iPhone

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