Emoji on Ubuntu LinuxUbuntu offers a quick and effortless way to type emoji on Ubuntu — and in this short post we show you how to use it.

So long as you’re using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or later you can see and type emoji out-of-the-box.

You don’t need to install a third-party app, enable an emoji keyboard, use weird fonts, or add a GNOME extension.

You already have everything you need, it’s just a little hidden! 🤫

Having written plenty on emoji in the past (and as someone who uses these pictorial embellishments a lot) I figured I’d write a short post to show those of you unaware how you can up your emoji game on your favourite Linux distro.

How to Use Emoji in Ubuntu Linux

Like other Linux distributions Ubuntu includes Google’s Noto Color emoji font as part of the default install. It’s this font that lets you see emoji on Linux in full color, in native Linux apps like Cawbird, RhythmboxGeary, and the Terminal.

But seeing the glyphs is only half of it; what about entering emoji?

To make it easy for you to type emoji on the Linux desktop GNOME developers have made an interactive, searchable emoji picker. This picker is included in GNOME 3.28 and above (so if you’re running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or above you have it already).

The emoji picker appears as a small pop-over window with a text-based search field. Using the picker you can find, select and enter emoji in native GTK apps (and copy/paste them to non-GTK apps as required).

To open the emoji picker in a GTK app on Ubuntu you can right-click in a text-field and select the “Insert Emoji” option from the context menu.

This will opens the emoji picker, like so:

Animated gif showing how to use emoji on ubuntu
Use the ‘insert emoji’ option to access the picker

Using the picker you can:

  • Browse emoji by category
  • See recently used emoji
  • Search for emoji by name
  • Click on an emoji to ‘type’ it

GNOME’s emoji picker works on other Linux distros & desktops besides Ubuntu, including Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Budgie. On many distros (including Ubuntu) you can open the emoji picker by pressing the ctrl + . keyboard shortcut.

Though eminently useful the handy emoji picker doesn’t work everywhere. You won’t, for instance, see the ‘Insert Emoji’ option in the context menus of non-GTK apps, like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or LibreOffice.

But where it does work it’s a real time-saver.

Now you now know how to use emoji on Ubuntu wh not put that knowledge to good use and leave some emoji filled reaction in the comments below?

This post is part of our Ubuntu Basics series for new users

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