Insert Graphical Gmail Emoticons in Your Messages

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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.

Insert Graphical Gmail Emoticons in Your Messages

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

  1. Position the text cursor where you want the insert the Gmail emoticon.
  2. Click the Insert emoticon button in the formatting toolbar (it sports a smiling face).
  3. Now click the desired emoji to insert it.
    1. Use the tabs at the top to browse different Gmail emoji categories.
    2. Gmail will remember the emojis you've used, and keep them in an extra tab for quick access.

You can highlight and move or copy graphical smileys just like text—even to the Subject (see below).

Note that the 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.

Add Emoji to Email Subjects in Gmail

To add an emoji emoticon to the Subject line of an email you are composing in Gmail:

  1. Insert the desired graphical smiley to the email body. (See above.)
  2. Highlight just the emoticon using the mouse.
  3. Press Ctrl-X (Windows, Linux) or Command-X (Mac).
  4. Position the text cursor where you want the emoji to appear in the Subject line.
  5. Press Ctrl-V (Windows, Linux) or Command-V (Mac).

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

Insert Graphical Smileys in Inbox by Gmail

To add emoji or graphical emoticons to emails you are composing in Inbox by Gmail:

  1. Use your operating system's emoji keyboard or special characters dialog:
    1. Using macOS or OS X:
      1. Select Edit | Emoji & Symbols or Edit | Special Characters from the menu.
        1. You can typically also press Command-Control-Space.
      2. Find the desired smileys under Emoji.
    2. Using Windows:
      1. Click the Touch keyboard icon in the taskbar.
        1. If you do not see the icon, click in the taskbar with the right mouse button and select Show touch keyboard button from the menu that appears.
      2. Click or tap the emoticons () button.
      3. Select the desired emoji face, emoticon or symbol.
    3. Using Linux:
      1. Install and use a browser add-on such as
        1. ​​Emoji Helper or
        2. EmojiOne.