Microsoft Launches Expanded Reactions for Teams

Choose from Over 800 Emojis to Express Emotions

Updated December 8, 2022

The folks who weren’t impressed (and there were many) when Microsoft introduced the fluent-based emojis in Teams are likely to be even less impressed by the news in Microsoft 365 notification MC428506 (9 September) about Teams expanded reactions. Instead of being limited to a small set of reactions for chats and channel messages, users can post any emoji from the available set. Microsoft calls this “Expanded reactions in Teams” and it’s Microsoft 365 roadmap item 88080.

Expanded reactions are available on Teams desktop (Windows and Mac – no mention of Linux), and the browser and mobile clients. According to an update published on December 1, Microsoft expects the feature to roll-out in mid-December with completion due in late January 2023.

Do You Need Extra Reactions?

There are over 800 emojis in the available set. I’m not sure why Microsoft thinks it a good idea to let people choose from such a wide selection. After all, we’ve survived with the simple set of Laugh, Like (Thumbs-Up), Angry, Sad, Surprised, and Heart for years, so what’s driving the expansion?

When the feature appears in a client, users who react to chats and messages in channel conversations will see a new set of options of Like, Heart, and Laugh and the all-important Emoji. Selecting Emoji opens a selection dialog to allow the user to browse and select from the full set (Figure 1).

Teams expanded reactions - lots of smiles
Figure 1: Teams expanded reactions – lots of smiles

Microsoft explains the reduction in the set of emojis shown for immediate choice by saying: “The reaction hover bar will now feature a reduced number of quick hover options to make space for an expanded reaction button. The reaction summary will also be moved from the top right of the message to the bottom of the message bubble to make space for the wide range of options that can now be added.” Find the emoji that most accurately reflects how you feel about the message you’re reacting to, and away you go.

The Etiquette Conundrum Posed by Teams Expanded Reactions

Those browsing the full set of emojis might experience the unique terror involved in making an inappropriate choice. Is one kind of smile kinder than another? If I choose a broad grin does it mean more to the message’s author? Will I offend someone if I use an unusual reaction? When is it appropriate to choose an object emoji like briefs? I can’t think of any message that I might react to that calls for me to post an emoji of underpants! It’s an etiquette nightmare for the unwary or those unused to communicate via symbols.

Expanded Reactions in Audit Records

As I noted earlier this month, Teams captures message reactions in audit records in the Office 365 audit log. The expanded reactions show up clearly in the audit data (Figure 2), even if some of the names need a little interpretation.

Teams expanded reactions captured in audit records
Figure 2: Teams expanded reactions captured in audit records

A Matter of Personal Choice

You’re not forced to use the expanded reactions. I suspect that many Teams users restrict their use of reactions to Like with perhaps an occasional break-out to express a Laugh or Heart. Those reactions are still in the “quick hover options” and users might never need to go near the expanded set. Those who like being creative can explore the 800+ emojis to find just the right means of expression for their reaction to a chat or channel message.

My fear is that the time necessary to make that choice will be longer than needed to type a few words in response, and that quite takes away from the usefulness of a reaction.

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24 Replies to “Microsoft Launches Expanded Reactions for Teams”

  1. They are making this like it was in Slack for years. It is not that bad. Personally, i would sometimes miss confusion or facepalm as a reaction and would have to post it as a reply instead.

  2. The best is the “pile of poo” reaction. What’s the worst that could happen with that? Other than HR departments the world over becoming a little busier!

  3. Expanding features to be in line with competition is almost always a plus. Every other similar service has this as an option, and it’s incredibly closed-minded to believe that this feature is unnecessary. There are more than 5 ways to react to something. Even something as simple as a thumbs down is a phenomenal addition to the roster, and the tone of this article really paints how narrowminded you are. Feel free to use the base 5 reactions, I’ll be using the thumbs down reaction to slam dunk on corporate blockheads that are as thoughtless as yourself.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. You’re entitled to your opinion, as am I, but please don’t be offensive when you comment. It doesn’t do you or anyone else any good.

  4. Finally!

    This is a feature I use a lot on Slack to optimize exchanges between designers and integrators!

    Extended reactions allow you to categorize reactions, such as validating a proposal, marking it as “to be adjusted” or marking it as “not validated”, and identify them in a message flow much more efficiently.

    When you use the IT tool extensively, you can take advantage of this type of option very easily.

  5. Is this feature currently only available for certain accounts?
    I want to use the expanded emoji too, but I don’t see the ‘+’ button.

    My Teams version is ‘’.

  6. Yesterday, I had to restart my computer and lost the wave emoji reaction. Any suggestions on how to get it back?

    1. Nope. It could be that your computer had received an update to allow you to use the emojis but the restart forced Teams to use a new update that didn’t include them. The ways of the cloud can be very strange…

  7. I don’t see the function available via my MacBook Pro, like my Windows colleagues do. Is it actually available to Mac users now?

  8. PC is up-to-date and Microsoft Office/Teams is as well and I still don’t have them. HALP please.

    1. According to an update posted by Microsoft, they have delayed the roll out to tenants. You should see the new emojis in January 2023. Think of this as a New Year’s gift.

    1. Your colleagues might have a different build of Teams or be connected to a different server. Update your client to make sure that you run the latest software and then sign-out of Teams and sign back in again. That will clear out your Teams cache, and that action often helps to resolve issues like this.

  9. I see them already on my team, however it lacks on skin color tones selection. Also regular emojis have this selection, but the tool does not remember your default selection.

  10. I’m on a Mac. I have access to expanded emojis in Channels, but not Chats. I have tried this in both the Mac Desktop client (most recent update) and I’ve restarted the app, logged out of Teams and back in, and have even, in the most Microsoft of Hail Marys, rebooted my Mac.

    I’ve noticed that Chats are strangely lacking in some of the UI sugar that Channels have, so this absence of functionality disappoints but doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  11. Is there any way to add custom reactions? Or someway to convince MS to add things like TY, NP, etc. to the reactions list.

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