Windows 10 now includes quick ways to insert emoji, kaomoji, and symbols using a hardware keyboard.

Although the ability to type emoji — those little icons designed to help you quickly express emotions, situations, or ideas — into messages or documents has been available since the Fall Creators Update, it wasn't until the May 2019 Update that Windows 10 expanded the panel to offer "kaomoji," which are similar to emoji but the expressions are made out of characters, emoji, and symbols [such as ;-), ヾ(•ω•`)o, and (☞゚ヮ゚)☞]. The use of symbols means you no more have to remember "Alt" key codes or search the internet to hunt down "em dash" (—) or "greater than" (>) or "less than" (<) symbols.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the easy steps to use a hardware keyboard to type emoji, kaomoji, and symbols in documents, emails, social media posts, and pretty much anywhere else.

How to use emoji on Windows 10

To find and insert emoji in any text area, use these steps:

  1. Open any app (such as Notepad, Word, or Microsoft Edge).
  2. In the text area, open the emoji panel using the Windows key + ; (semicolon) or Windows key +. (period).
  3. Click on the Smiley face (emoji) tab.
  4. Start typing to search an emoji.
  5. Select the emoji to insert.

  6. (Optional) At the bottom, select one of the categories to find an emoji:

    • Smiley faces and animals.
    • People.
    • Celebrations and objects.
    • Food and plants.
    • Transportation and places.
    • Symbols.

    Quick tip: If you're using the People emoji, you can change the skin tone with the options available at the top of the list. Also, you can use the arrow keys to navigate, Tab/Shift + Tab to switch categories, and Enter to insert emoji.

  7. Scroll down and select the emoji that you want to use.

    Quick note: As you use emoji, your most frequent choices will appear in the "Most recently used" tab (clock button in the bottom-right) for quicker access.

  8. Click the X button in the top-right or ESC key to exit the panel.

Once you complete these steps, the emoji will appear in the email, document, or social media post that you're writing.

How to use kaomoji on Windows 10

To find and insert faces made out of characters (kaomoji) on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open any app (such as Notepad, Word, or Microsoft Edge).
  2. In the text area, open the emoji panel using the Windows key + ; (semicolon) or Windows key +. (period).
  3. Click on the Winking face (made of characters) tab.
  4. At the bottom, select one of the categories to find a kaomoji:

    • Classic ASCII Emoticons.
    • Happy.
    • Greeting.
    • Acting cute.
    • Sad.
    • Angry.
    • Surprised/Speechless.
  5. Scroll down and select the kaomoji that you want to type.

    Quick note: As you use kaomoji, your most frequent choices will appear in the "Most recently used" tab (clock button in the bottom-right) for quicker access.

  6. Click the X button in the top-right or ESC key to exit the panel.

After you complete the steps, the kaomoji that you selected will appear in the social media post, email, or document you're working.

How to use symbols on Windows 10

To insert currency, language, and other symbols on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open any app (such as Notepad, Word, or Microsoft Edge).
  2. In the text area, open the emoji panel using the Windows key + ; (semicolon) or Windows key +. (period).
  3. Click on the Omega tab.
  4. At the bottom, select one of the categories to find a symbol:

    • General punctuation.
    • Currency symbols.
    • Latin symbols.
    • Geometric symbols.
    • Math symbols.
    • Supplemental symbols.
    • Language symbols.
  5. Scroll down and select the symbol that you want to use.

    Quick note: As you start using this feature, the most frequently used symbols will appear in the "Most recently used" tab (clock button in the bottom-right) for quicker access.

  6. Click the X button in the top-right or ESC key to exit the panel.

Once you complete the steps, the symbol will print into the text document.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro recommends all these affordable accessories

Hi, I'm Mauro Huculak, Windows Central's help and how-to guru. I wrote the post you're reading now, and I know the Windows OS inside and out. But I'm also a bit of a hardware geek. These are some of the affordable gadgets on my desk today.

Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse ($72 at Amazon)

I know mice, and this is the one I use every day. The MX Master is a wireless high-precision mouse that's very comfortable to use and has many great features, including the ability to connect with multiple devices, an infinite scroll wheel, back and forward buttons, all of which you can customize.

Ktrio Extended Gaming Mouse Pad ($12 at Amazon)

If you spend a lot of time typing, your palms and mouse will leave tracks on your desk. My solution was to start using gaming mouse pads, which are big enough for you to use the keyboard and the mouse comfortably. This is the one I use and recommend.

Supernight LED light strip ($20 at Amazon)

You could just use a regular light bulb in your office, but if you want to add some ambient lighting with different colors, an RGB LED strip is the way to go. This one is Mauro-approved.

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Latest And Best Prime Day Deals

It might be Prime Day, but this Instant Pot deal is available to everyone
Instant Pot 3-Quart Duo Mini Pressure Cooker
$39.95 $65.00 Save $25

This 3-quart multi-cooker is perfect for smaller households or serving sizes, and today's deal beats the others we've seen.

Unlock voice control with Echo device deals and $5 Amazon smart plugs
Amazon Echo devices bundled with $5 smart plugs

Amazon's Smart Plug lets you start voice controlling anything plugged into it by asking an Alexa-compatible device, and today's deal lets you snag one for only $5 with purchase of select Echo devices.

Be more productive with a year of Office 365 Home and a free $50 Amazon gift card
Office 365 Home 12-month subscription and $50 Amazon gift card
$99.99 $150.00 Save $50

The subscription works with up to six people, but that card can be all yours.

Amazon's Fire TV Cube is down to just $70 thanks to this Prime Day deal
Amazon Fire TV Cube
$69.99 $119.99 Save $50

Grab TCL's 32-inch 720p Roku TV for less than $100 in this Prime Day Lightning deal
TCL 32S325 32-inch 720p Roku TV
$99.99 $130.00 Save $30

Act fast while you can. These Lightning deals tend to sell out quick.

The Ring Alarm security system is reaching new low prices for Prime Day
Ring Alarm home security systems

Various configurations of the Ring Alarm are discounted to their best prices yet exclusively for Prime members at Amazon through Tuesday night to help keep your home secure.

The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and 2 $50 Amazon gift cards
The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and $100 in Amazon gift cards
$359.00 $499.00 Save $140

That's just so much savings in one deal. You'll have to wait for the physical gift cards, but that's basically $100 to spend however you want.

Prime Day dropped this PlayStation 4 console bundle to just $250
PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console with Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn
$249.99 $359.98 Save $110

This deal on the PlayStation 4 Slim console saves you $50 off its regular price while also including Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition for free. You'll just need an Amazon Prime membership to snag it.

More Prime Day Deals