I started with a VM of Ubuntu 19.10. I applied all updates and installed Chromium and Brave Browser. When I try viewing emoji (E.G. getemoji.com) they appear to be rendered by DejaVu Sans (black and white). The system already has Noto Color Emoji installed. How do I give Noto Color Emoji precedence? I've followed several fontconfig tutorials, but none of them have worked. I've had success by reinstalling Noto Color Emoji, but I haven't been able to figure out what reinstalling is doing that makes it work. Also, I'm working with someone who says reinstalling did no work for him.


1 Answer 1


One way:

  1. Create this file:

  2. Give it this contents:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
                            <family>Noto Color Emoji</family>


That seems not to be sufficient (see comment).

$ fc-match -a | head -2
DejaVuSans.ttf: "DejaVu Sans" "Book"
NotoColorEmoji.ttf: "Noto Color Emoji" "Regular"

So maybe change the contents to this variant:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
        <match target="pattern">
        <test qual="any" name="family">
        <edit name="family" mode="prepend" binding="strong">
                <string>Noto Color Emoji</string>

That seems to make a difference:

 $ fc-match -a | head -2
 NotoColorEmoji.ttf: "Noto Color Emoji" "Regular"
 DejaVuSans.ttf: "DejaVu Sans" "Book"
  • I closed Chromium and Brave, ensured they didn't have background processes still running, created that file you specified with the contents you specified, ran "fc-cache -f", re-ran Chromium and Brave. They still render emoji with DejaVu Sans instead of Noto Color Emoji.
    – denshigomi
    Jan 20, 2020 at 4:09
  • @denshigomi: I edited the answer. Jan 20, 2020 at 12:28
  • The new file contents you provided change the output of "fc-match -a | head -2" showing Noto Color Emoji first. However, Chromium and Brave still render emoji using DejaVu Sans. I even rebooted to be sure I wasn't missing anything.
    – denshigomi
    Jan 20, 2020 at 16:13
  • @denshigomi: Maybe they don't honor fontconfig. Do they have separate app specific font settings? Jan 20, 2020 at 17:33
  • 1
    I'm not sure. What has me stumped is that if I run "sudo apt install --reinstall fonts-noto-color-emoji" then emoji are displayed using Noto Color Emoji. I extracted the deb file for it and compared filenames, locations, permissions, and checksums. They all match what is already on my system. So why does a reinstall fix it? I can see it runs some fontconfig command when it finishes installing, but I'm not 100% sure what it's doing. I thought it was just running a "fc-config -f", but clearly there's more to it. I've got to be missing something.
    – denshigomi
    Jan 20, 2020 at 18:52

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