Apple Blush Smiley Emoji Hero

Your Mac has a quick hotkey that will open an emoji picker in any app. You can quickly insert an emoji anywhere on macOS—in a messaging app, in an email, or even in a document you’re editing. Here’s how to use it.

First, open the app you’d like to insert the emoji into. Click on any text input area, and when you see a cursor, press Control+Command+Space. An emoji panel will pop up.

Mac Emoji Picker Window

In the emoji panel, click the emoji you want to use, and it will appear in the app.

Emoji inserted into Mac app.

You can also search for emoji using the search box. Click the box and type a description of whatever you’d like. For example, you could type “fire” and see all fire-related emoji.

Type a word in the search box to search for emoji on Mac.

When you find the one you want, click it, and it will appear in the app.

You can also drag the emoji panel pop-up off into its own independent window that stays open even after you pick an emoji. That way you can click an emoji any time you’d like, and it will be inserted into the app you’re using.

Drag the emoji pop-up to turn it into an independent window on Mac.


And finally, if you’d like to browse through emojis by category or see each one in more detail, press the tiny “Emoji & Symbols” button in the emoji window. (The button looks like an icon of a tiny window with a “Command” symbol inside it.)

Press the "character viewer" button in the emoji window on Mac.

The emoji window will expand into the Character Viewer, and you will see more options for browsing, searching, and choosing emoji.

Examining the Character Viewer window on Mac.

To return to the small emoji picker window, click the “Emoji & Symbols” button that’s located just beside the search bar.

If you find yourself using emojis frequently, you can also add an emoji panel button to your menu bar. To do so, open “System Preferences,” and click “Keyboard.” Then click the keyboard tab and put a check in the box beside, โ€œShow keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar.”

Have fun with emoji!

RELATED: How to Add an Emoji Viewer to Your Mac's Menu Bar

By the way, if you want to quickly insert emoji on a Windows PC, Windows 10 also has a keyboard shortcut for inserting emoji.

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Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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