Access and Use Emoji in Mac OS X
Emoji are extremely popular picture characters and emoticons that are an integral part of Japanese tech culture and communication, and now with OS X Lion onward (yes, Mountain Lion and 10.9 too), the Emoji character set is available to everyone on a Mac regardless of your localization settings. They’re quickly taking the world by storm with their inclusion on the iPhone and iPad keyboards as well, and using them on the Mac is a fun way to emphasize dialog and messaging between people. Some of the characters are pretty funny so even if you have no intention on using them they’re fun to browse through.
- From almost any Mac OS X app, select the “Edit” menu and pull down to “Special Characters”, or hit Command+Option+T
- From the character choices, click on “Emoji” and then choose a set: People, Nature, Objects, Places, Symbols
- Select the character you want to use and either drag and drop the Emoji character into a text field, or double-click on the icon in the “Font Variation” menu on the right
You’ll notice that not all third-party applications will accept or recognize Emoji characters, but all of the OS X compatible apps that come from Apple do and most apps updated for Lion & Mountain Lion and beyond should too.
If the app doesn’t support Emoji display, nothing will be shown, and similarly if an emoji icon is sent to a user who doesn’t have a Mac or iOS device that supports emoji, nothing will be shown for them either, at best it will be a boring old square box instead of the color icon. Keep that in mind if you’re sending messages or posting the emoticons to the web, since a lot of other people using older Macs and Windows machines won’t be able to see them the same way as you do.
Outside of the Mac and onto the mobile side of things, Emoji is included from iOS 5 onward for everyone too, meaning any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will be able to see and send the icons the same.