I know I’ll draw some eye rolls for this, but I firmly believe there are times when the only logical response to a text is an emoji. For example, terrible puns almost always get a 😐, which says more than I could ever express with words.
Emoji haters, don’t close the window just yet: there are a lot of other uses for symbols, from the interrobang (⁉︎) to the trademark symbol (™) to the euro (€). With that in mind, this month’s tips and tricks focused in on some easy ways to view & add these helpful little pictures on your Mac and mobile devices.
The easiest way to access the character viewer on the mac is a keyboard command (control + command + space). It opens in its own window, and you can browse the individual categories on the right. To pick any of the characters, simply double click on it. On the left you’ll see a preview of the character, its name, and font variations underneath it. Clicking on one of the variations will show you its family.
If there are characters you use especially frequently, you can add them to favorites, which creates a new category on the left. This can contain a mix, so you can see them all in one place. There’s also the automatic smart category of Frequently Used, which of course displays the ones you use most often (in my case it’s 😨™😡 in order, which concerns me a little!)
One of my favorite tricks on the Mac OS keyboard is to press and hold a letter — a popup appears allowing you to choose language variants by pressing a number
On newer releases of iOS, the emoji keyboard is automatically available to you by clicking the smily face icon on the left of the space bar. On previous releases you’d need to go into settings > general > keyboards > add keyboard > emoji to have it show by default, and it would appear as an international keyboard that you could switch to by clicking the globe symbol.
Some basic symbols are included on the iOS emoji keyboard. Some additional commonly used ones appear under the #+= section (tap 123 from the alphabetic keyboard and then #=+ from the numeric keyboard to see them). You can also get some variations on letters by pressing and holding the letter, so a can be à or æ or ā.
And finally, keyboard layouts and keys change by language, so if you’re bilingual and want access to another keyboard, tap on settings, general, keyboards, add keyboard and pick your language. You’ll be able to switch between them easily by simply tapping the globe icon on your keyboard that appears once a secondary keyboard is added.