How to Use the 800-Plus Emojis Now Available to Teams
Those of us who work in the enterprise often forget that other needs and desires drive feature requests in different segments. Which is no doubt why Microsoft published message center notification MC246220 on March 24 (roadmap item 81403) to announce that the emoji set available in the Teams picker expands “from 85 to over 800 emojis, with a category selector, skin tone selector and short code picker.” I’m not sure I consider this a high-priority enhancement, but the logic is that the new set is a necessity for the “diverse and widespread” Teams user base. So that’s the announcement explained.
Even if you doubt the need for more emojis and wonder why Microsoft dedicates engineering, testing, and program management effort to bring the new set to clients, Teams desktop (Windows and Mac – no mention for Linux), Teams mobile, and the Teams browser app will soon enjoy extra graphics. The expanded emoji set is now available in the preview version of Teams and general deployment is expected in May. A client-side update is necessary to see the expanded emoji set.
The emojis are categorized as smilies (which is a word), hand gestures, people, animals and nature, travel and places, activities, objects, and symbols. Figure 1 shows what the old emoji picker looks like (left) with one of the categories in the new dialog. Notice the categories listed at the bottom of the new picker.
Emojis Keyboard Shortcuts for Chat
Teams chat, but not channel conversations, support keyboard shortcuts when using the desktop client. This feature seems to be associated with pop-out windows as it’s unsupported on the browser or mobile clients. To find a list of matching emojis, type the open bracket character followed by at least one letter. Teams searches the set of emojis to find all with names starting with the provided letter, as in the “(wa” example shown in Figure 2.
Even More Emojis with the Windows Keyboard
In addition to the emoji picker, you can also insert emojis into chats and messages using the Windows emoji keyboard (Windows logo key plus period). Or, if you have a PC with a numeric keyboard, use the ALT + code trick to insert an emoji (here’s a list of codes for 991 emojis). I use this trick frequently to insert the Euro character (ALT + 0128) when using U.S. English keyboards.
As an old-time keyboard user, emojis don’t come naturally to me. They have their place in modern communications and some people appear able to manage quite well by sending collections of letters and emojis which are unintelligible to the uninitiated. I guess I am in that category. Such is life.