Slack logo on a purple background

Emoji are everywhere these days. In many apps—such as Slack—you can’t type a simple text-based emoticon like “:)” or “:D” without having it automatically translated into a tiny emoji picture. Luckily, Slack allows you to disable this feature in the desktop or web client. Here’s how.

First, you’ll need to open “Slack Preferences.” At the moment, it looks like you can’t turn off this feature in the Slack mobile apps, so we’ll only be working with Slack’s desktop and web clients. In the Windows desktop Slack app, click the hamburger button in the upper-left corner and select File > Preferences. Or you can press Ctrl + Comma.

In the Slack app for Macs or if you’re using Slack in a web browser, click the workspace name in the upper-left corner and select “Preferences.” You can also press Command + Comma on the Mac to open “Preferences.”

Open Slack Preferences on the Mac or the web by clicking the workspace name and selecting "Preferences."

In the “Preferences” menu, select “Messages & media” from the sidebar.

In Slack Preferences, select "Messages & media."

In “Messages and media” preferences, scroll down to the “Emoji” section and remove the check from the box beside “Convert my typed emoticons into emoji.”

In Slack Preferences, uncheck "Convert my typed emoticons to emoji."

After that, close “Preferences.” The next time you type a “:)” or a “:D” or any other text-based emoticons into Slack, they will not be translated into Emoji.

A Slack message showing un-converted emoticons.

The old school wins again!

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Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. 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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