Microsoft clarifies where its new 2D and 3D Fluent emoji will appear on Windows 11

Emoji Faces
Emoji Faces (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's new 2D emoji are rolling out on Windows 11.
  • The company has clarified where 2D and 3D emoji will appear.
  • Windows 10 will not be getting any new emoji.

Back in July, Microsoft unveiled a new set of emoji designs that it said would be shipping its products going forward. At the time, the company only showcased new "3D" designs, setting the expectation that this is what emoji were going to look like going forward in Windows 11, Teams, Office, and other Microsoft products and services. Unfortunately, when Microsoft began testing the new emoji in Windows 11 last month, it wasn't with the 3D designs Microsoft had promised.

This caused an uproar in the tech space, as people were genuinely excited to try them out, and some were even willing to upgrade to Windows 11 because of them. But, with the new emoji design now beginning to rollout globally on Windows 11, it appears we're only getting 2D versions of those 3D designs, which are quite a bit less exciting.

Emoji Panel New Emoji Hero

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Now, Microsoft spokespeople have said that the company lacked clarity about where the 3D emoji would actually be showing up. When they were announced, it came across as if they'd be showing up everywhere, but today the company has confirmed that 3D emoji will only appear inside apps that support them, not as the native emoji designs for the Windows 11 OS. This means you'll see 3D emoji designs in apps like Microsoft Teams and Skype, but the OS itself will use 2D emoji designs by default.

Microsoft has also confirmed that these new 2D emoji are only available for Windows 11, with seemingly no plans to bring updated emoji designs to Windows 10 customers.

Microsoft says the new 2D emoji designs are beginning to rollout to all Windows 11 customers now, and can be downloaded by manually initiating the November update preview release that should be waiting in Windows Update.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Those are just disgusting.
  • Very much a personal opinion and not an objective fact.
  • It's an objective fact.
  • You spelt "I'm full of it" wrong.
  • Not sure why they have the 3D only for apps but not just make it native
  • I guess it depends exactly how the 3D versions are implemented. If it requires some specific support in the app to render in 3D then it makes perfect sense that the 3D versions are only available in apps with that support. It may well be that Microsoft will add that support to more of their own apps over times but third-party apps still wouldn't have it. Hopefully Microsoft will make it possible for third-party apps to add that support.
  • The new emoji are so trash I had to manually install the Win10 ones. Remember how the black outline had it's purpose and all that stuff. Looks like MS forgot about it.
  • I'm surprised it took people this long to notice. This is not the first time Microsoft used false advertising. Look at any other ad of theirs, such as Terminal or new Fluent Design Icons, etc. Everything is always glass, transparent and 3D in ads, yet the actual interface is opaque, flat and boring. The marketing guys understand that simplicity is boring an not eye-catching, but the UI guys do not. It's about time to return to an Aero-like design and make UI pretty again. Let simplicity die and be forgotten along with 2012.
  • Terminal has an acrylic and a transparency option on the preview version.