by Anthony 

August 5, 2023

You can add an emoji to any document or text-based app on your Mac, and there are several ways to do so. Apple’s recommended method, which of course works for all Apple applications and many 3rd-party apps, is to press Control, Command and Space Bar on your keyboard simultaneously. This will display the Character Viewer and you can select your emoji from the list.

If this shortcut seems a bit cumbersome, and frankly having to press three keys does have a habit of stopping your flow of writing, there is a quicker alternative…


Open Settings, choose Keyboard from the menu, and you’ll find an option where you can use your FN key to display emojis. I demonstrate this in my tutorial.

Now that you’ve enabled the FN key to bring up the Character Viewer, when you are replying to a message or typing an email, rather than hitting Control, Command and Space Bar, you can just hit the FN key.

That’s much quicker, but if you’re looking for an even quicker method you might want to try Text Replacements. Text replacements is a feature of MacOS that automatically replaces a few typed characters with a longer sentence or, in this case, with an emoji.

You can find the Text Replacements feature in the same Settings menu under the Keyboard options. Here you can add your text replacements. So, for example, I can add the characters ‘t’, ‘u’ and ‘p’ and use them to display the thumbs up emoji. Press the FN key or Control, Command and Space Bar to bring up the list of emojis and add the thumbs up as the replacement text for ‘tup’.

So now, when replying to a message, I can type ‘tup’ and it will automatically replace ‘tup’ with a thumbs up emoji.

One final thing, if you are a Google docs user like myself, annoyingly none of these shortcuts I’ve mentioned work when you’re writing in Google docs. Instead Google has their own shortcut which is to just use the colon key. Pressing colon will bring up a list of emojis and you can choose the one you want from the list. 

Key Takeaways

  • Press CTRL, CMD and Space Bar to add an emoji.
  • Enable the FN in Settings for emojis, as a quicker alternative.
  • Try using Text Replacements to add emojis.

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for lots of tips and tricks on all your favourite apps.

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