How to type kaomoji on your PC in Windows 10

How can I type kaomoji on my PC? And what are kaomoji, anyway? Fortunately, the answers to both questions are simple, and easily accessible within Windows 10, starting with the May 2019 Update. The familiar emoji keyboard within Windows has been expanded to include both kaomoji and symbols, and adding them to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps is extremely easy. 

What’s a kaomoji? A kaomoji is simply a more complex emoticon, the predecessor to the emoji. You’re probably familiar with the smiley 🙂 or winky 😉 which consist of familiar punctuation symbols combined to form an expression.That’s an emoticon. Emoji are simply pictorial representations of emoticons, so that a winky symbol is represented as a 😉.  

Microsoft Windows 10 emoji keyboard 1 Mark Hachman / IDG

The first option that the emoji keyboard reveals, is, unsurprisingly, emoji. You can either click what you’re looking for, type in a search request at the top, or move to the kaomoji or symbols tab. Notice the nav bar at the bottom to move between categories.

A kaomoji, meanwhile, is to an emoticon like a finished painting is to a rough sketch: a complex arrangement of symbols that approaches art. With a kaomoji, you can express a complex idea that an emoji or emoticon simply can’t: flipping a table in anger (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻, a double finger-pistol gesture (☞゚ヮ゚)☞, or even the obscure meme where CSI Miami’s David Caruso takes off (or puts on) his sunglasses before saying something profound ( •_•)>⌐■-■.

How do you access emoji, or kaomoji, or symbols within Windows 10? You can do it all with the same Windows shortcut: the WIN + ; shortcut (or WIN + .), where you hold down the Windows key, then type a semicolon. You can even access the new Emoji 12 emoji, which include representations of things like diving masks and flamingoes, from the same keyboard. Alternatively, you can right-click a text box, and you should see an emoji option pop up.

Microsoft Windows 10 kaomoji index Mark Hachman / IDG

Here’s what the kaomoji keyboard looks like. Note that there’s a bit more explanation of how Windows organizes kaomoji as part of the nav bar at the bottom.

There’s just one catch: You’ll need the Windows 10 May 2019 Update to access the new kaomoji, also known as version 1903. If you’re having trouble accessing these new emoji and kaomoji, type winver into the Windows search bar, then make sure the second line says “Version 1903.” If you’d like, you can join the Windows Insider Program to get an early look at the update, or simply wait until Microsoft begins pushing the update to all PCs. 

How to type kaomoji under Windows 10

There are some subtleties to typing kaomoji under Windows 10, however. For one thing, they’re confusingly organized.

Windows 10 emoji kaomoji right click emoji Mark Hachman / IDG

Oddly enough, the right-click emoji keyboard option does not appear in Word, or even Notepad. But if you want to search Bing for emoji, you have Microsoft’s blessing.

The emoji keyboard contains three tabs: emoji, kaomoji, and lastly symbols of all types. The emoji tab is well organized, with a search function at the very top: type in “lips,” for example, and the “kiss” 💋 and “mouth” 👄 emoji will appear. For each emoji you’ll also receive some explanatory text describing each one.

Tab over to the kaomoji keyboard, and there’s nothing like that—yet. Hopefully you’ll have a rudimentary knowledge of what symbol means what, or that they’re detailed enough to figure out on your own. Yes, there’s a nav bar of sorts on the bottom, a “I didn’t even see that” way to navigate between happy, sad, silly, and other kaomoji—but the nav bar itself is also done in emoji, which seems a little much. Pop-up text provides some rudimentary explanation. This is a largely self-guided tour.


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