What are the possibilities to insert, choose and use an emoji in Ubuntu 18.04 and later?
Activities: Clicking the Activities button in the top left corner in the GNOME desktop environment. Or press the Super key (Windows key) to get the same.
GNOME has an application called gnome-characters. This provides you with several emojis and related characters. If you don't have this application, you can install it using:
sudo apt install gnome-characters
Once installed, this application has its own search provider.
Make sure it is turn on: System settings > search tab > Characters
You can search for any character name. You can see various suggestions as you type. Once you find a character, press Enter so that the selected character will be copied to your clipboard. You can paste it using CTRL+V. [Source: 7 Tips to Get More Out of GNOME Search in Linux]
Emoji Picker: With the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS you can use emoji on Ubuntu right out of the box 👍, so you already have everything you need for the native GTK Linux apps like Gedit, Corebird, Rhythmbox and probably Geary (Source: OMG Ubuntu). All you have to do to access the emoji picker in a native Linux app is right-click (or Control-. ) in a text-field and select the “Insert Emoji” option from the context menu. This picker pop-over lets you:
- Browse emoji by category
- Pick from recently used emoji
- Search for emoji by name
- Click on an emoji to enter it
The emoji picker even works on other Linux distros & desktops besides Ubuntu, including Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Budgie.
Sadly the emoji picker doesn’t work everywhere 😞. You won’t see the option provided in non-GTK apps, like Firefox, Wire Messenger, Chromium, or LibreOffice.
If the app you’re using doesn’t have that option, please file a bug, like the one for gedit.
To change the keyboard shortcut, use the dconf-editor and navigate to
For more background info browse to Ubuntu Community Hub.
GNOME Characters app: Another option to install to easily browse emoji.
Optionally, you can enable emoji search in the Activities Overview by using the Settings app. Just open Settings > Search and turn on Characters.
UniEmoji (for a specific input framework called IBus): "If you prefer to type them out for easy use, then there’s a very easy solution on Linux. It combines software to let you type in foreign languages, with an input method that gives it the ability to type in emojis. When everything is set up, you should be able to type whatever emoji you like, either by inputting them, or searching. This can be much faster and easier than something like a popup window, but takes a little more setting up." For how to set this up, please check this article. As it is quite long, the integration of the instructions would push the boundaries of this answer.
Mojibar could be an option (although not updated since 2017), it works on many desktop environments, see answer of kissu, please vote his answer up, too. You can download the zip-folder of the Electron App, and drag into your apps folder and it probably works without installing, just double-click on the
Emoji input to the on-screen keyboard (Ubuntu 19.04+, GNOME 3.32: it should make it easier to reply with a well-timed emote from a touchscreen device.
Emote was mentioned by James, please vote the answer below up, too. The emoji picker can be opened with either the keyboard shortcut (choosing one or several emojis) or by clicking the app icon again. More details on the Github page.
Install the snap app from the Software Center or Snap Store on or in a terminal:
Emoji OnBoard keyboard layout was mentioned by Tanius, please vote the answer below up, too. It is an emoji chooser layout for the default Ubuntu onscreen keyboard "Onboard". strong textIt works for all applications. Instructions for how to us on the github.
There might be an answer to an earlier question that still works for you.
Which emoji font will be shown?
When there are more than one emoji fonts installed, different apps use different fonts:
e.g. Segoe Emoji (seguiemj.ttf) is used by the Wire desktop App by default, Emoji One (emojione-android.ttf) is used by Evolution by default on my Ubuntu 20.04 system.
How to only use Noto Emoji font?
Uninstall the other emoji fonts:
Search in Font Manager (font-manager in the normal package list) for emoji fonts.
Open the corresponding folders as root.
Delete the emoji fonts (e.g. seguiemj.ttf, emojione-android.ttf).
Restart the app (or login/logout of the session).
For Thunderbird to behave, I did this:
~/.config/fontconfig/conf.d/01-emoji.conf with the following text:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
<family>Noto Color Emoji</family>
<family>Noto Color Emoji</family>
<family>Noto Color Emoji</family>
fc-cache -f -v
The answers to this question can be helpful, too: 18.04: color emoji not showing up at all in Chrome, only partially in Firefox
And a similar answer: How do I configure the default emoji font to be used in OS/Browser?.
Use the following keyboard shortcuts:
Hit Control-Shift-E, then press Space.
You should see the Emoji Choice popup where you can select your unicode character.
Note: To cancel the selection, press Escape few times.
Tested on Ubuntu Cosmic (18.10). It should work in editors, terminal, web browsers and other applications.
Emote is a modern, system-wide emoji picker which is a decent option in 2021.
It should work on all major desktop environments and supports both X11 and Wayland.
sudo snap install emote
You can use the Emoji OnBoard keyboard layout. It is an emoji chooser layout for the default Ubuntu onscreen keyboard "Onboard":
Unlike many other solutions, it works together with all applications. While for example emoji-keyboard can only insert the emoji characters directly into Gtk applications and otherwise is restricted to copying them into the clipboard. So there is definitely a way to do software keyboards right under Linux, and I wonder why it's not more widespread ...
Mojibar is also a great alternative that is X-platform and not dependent of the desktop environment ! :)
The maintainer is not merging any PR for sometime but I guess that you can fork it and use your own version of the repo. :D
I will just add additional information to @Filbuntu 's answer on how to add GNOME Shell Extensions Emoji Selector to Ubuntu Firefox based on my experience.
First you will need to open add ons menu, and add this extension: GNOME Shell integration Gnome Shell Integration Screenshot image
After that, you can go to this page https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1162/emoji-selector/
If there is an error message like "native host connector is not detected", then you need to install chrome-gnome-shell using the following step based on this answers
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install chrome-gnome-shell
After chrome-gnome-shell, you can refresh the gnome shell extensions website, then the message should be disappear, and can turning on the switch which is located at the top right corner. After that, then the emoji icon should appear on your top bar and you can start using it by clicking on it and choose the icon you want.