How to use emoji with a hardware keyboard on Windows 10

Windows 10 now includes native support for emoji, and here are the steps to use them.

Windows 10 emoji using hardware keyboard
Windows 10 emoji using hardware keyboard

Emojis are cool little icons that can quickly give you a hand to express emotions and situations in life when writing a message. They’ve been available on your phone for years, and while Windows 10 also includes support for emoji, the integration wasn’t convenient, as it required to use the touch keyboard to access them.

However, starting with the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 introduces native support for emoji, which simply means that you can now use them with your hardware keyboard.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to use emojis on Windows 10 with your hardware keyboard and mouse.

How to use emoji on Windows 10

If you have a device without a touch keyboard, it’s now super simple to input emojis when writing a message on an email application, on Microsoft Edge, an Office app, etc.

How to open emoji panel

To open up the emoji panel on Windows 10, you only need to use the Windows key + “.” (or Windows key + “;”) keyboard shortcut in the message you’re writing.

How to navigate emojis

Once open the emoji panel, you can use the following keys to navigate:

  • Arrow keys: Navigate among emoji
  • Tab / Shift + Tab: Switch emoji category
  • Enter: Select an emoji
  • Esc: Close the panel

How to search emojis

The emoji panel also includes an easy way to search and find the emoji you want.

To find an emoji, open the panel, click the Search button and type your search. Alternatively, you can open the panel and continue writing to search.

Search emoji on WIndows 10
Search emoji on WIndows 10

Once you see the emoji you like, either press Enter or click the emoji with the mouse.

Quick Tip: You can hover over an emoji using your mouse to reveal its specific name.

How to change emoji skin tone

The Windows 10’s emoji panel also includes support to change skin tone for people emojis.

To change the skin tone for a particular emoji, simply go to the people emoji category, and click the skin tone button in the top-right corner. Select the skin tone, and then click the emoji you want.

Emoji skin tone on Windows 10
Emoji skin tone on Windows 10

If you can’t open the new emoji panel, it’s probably because you’re not running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. The new panel is available on Windows 10 build 16215 and later.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].