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On World Emoji Day, Microsoft employee sheds light on how emojis are designed for Windows 10

What you need to know

  • A new blog post sheds light on how emojis are made for Windows 10.
  • While emojis are on most platforms, the look of specific emojis are built for each OS.
  • Emojis aren't added to Windows 10 until they've gone through a complex design process.

It's World Emoji Day, and a Microsoft employee has shed light on how emojis are designed for Windows 10. Arthur Canales wrote a post for Medium that breaks down the design and implementation process for getting emojis onto Windows 10. While the post doesn't contain much new information, it does lay out the process and shares insights on emoji design.

Whenever an emoji idea is proposed, the Unicode Consortium decides if it's worth adding. The Unicode Consortium is a nonprofit organization that includes tech companies and other organizations that aim to maintain consistency for writing systems across platforms. The consortium does a lot more than deal with emojis, but they are the ones that approve the addition of new ones.

Once the Unicode Consortium decides to add an emoji, developers of different operating systems have to design specific emojis to show up on their platforms. Canales points out that Microsoft uses vector-based font glyphs for their emojis. This allows them to scale well and work as a font.

Judy Safran-Aasen, a program manager at Microsoft, explains that designing emojis presents specific challenges because of their size. She explained, "For example, many emoji faces have only minor differences between them. In certain instances, the design will need to exaggerate certain features to make them distinct."

Once an emoji has an approved design, it rolls out in the next Windows release. Generally speaking, Windows 10 supports emojis well. The touch keyboard on the OS has an emoji panel, and you can access and search emojis using the Windows key + period shortcut or use Windows key + semicolon if you'd like to insert an emoji using a keyboard.

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Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

2 Comments
  • Do most people really care about emoji's? I know I sure don't.
  • once again... Microsoft has the gift of taking something mildly light and humorous... and turning it into a painful exercise in hyper-over-thinking and the humorlessness of bludgeoning marketing techniques. in other news, Microsoft Phone--it's a game changer. And, this is the year of Linux on Windows. and Cortana to help with your win10 updates when she's not blowing Clippy (sound of toilet flushing billions of OS roytalties down to the nearest Caribbean tax haven)