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It’s Now Even Easier to See Color Emoji on Ubuntu

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

smiley emoji thumbnailAn update to the EmojiOne Font, which lets you see full color emoji in select Linux apps, is now available.

Version 1.0 of the EmojiOne-Color-Font project fixes a number of irritating issues, including support for 1-9,# and * ligatures, and uses a new destination to install the ‘fontconfig’ file.

Our original article is a little arcane. It walked you through the necessary steps for creating and adding a custom font config file to tell the system to (try to) use it. It

Things have, thankfully, been simplified a great deal since then. A new PPA offers pre-built packages for Ubuntu, and you on longer need to futz around with creating config files in folders you’ve never heard of.

As before, you’ll only see color emoji in Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, and related Gecko apps through this font. Google Chrome doesn’t support ‘SVG in OT’ yet, and neither do many of the native toolkits used in Linux (e.g., Cairo, GTK+, etc).

There is a tradeoff: it requires BitStream Vera to be installed and will set the system default serif, sans-serif and monospace fonts to use it.

Install EmojiOne Font on Ubuntu 14.04 & 16.04 LTS

color emoji on ubuntu desktop in firefox

If you’re using a supported LTS version of Ubuntu you can install the color emoji font from a new, dedicated PPA.

Note: If you have installed the font in the past (e.g. by following our earlier article) you will need to remove the existing .tff and fontconfig edit (if applied) BEFORE adding this PPA.

Seek, locate and annihilate (i.e. delete) the following files from your Home folder:

  • ~/.fonts/EmojiOneColor-SVGinOT.ttf
  • ~/.local/share/fonts/EmojiOneColor-SVGinOT.ttf
  • ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf

Once done (or if you never installed the font on your Ubuntu system) you can now add Eeosrei’s Emoji Fonts PPA using your preferred method. I’ll use the Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:eosrei/fonts

sudo apt update && sudo apt install fonts-emojione-svginot

Let all package download, unpack and install, then restart Firefox to allow the changes to take effect.

To  verify that Firefox can now show coloured emoji visit the following test page:

Emoji Browser Support Test Page

Issues

No solution is without its flaws, and there are some known issues to be aware of when using this font.

If you install using the PPA you can, at any time, use the ppa-purge command to undo and remove the font and changes it applies.

Finally, remember that you’ll only see colour emoji in supported apps (which is basically Firefox).

Elsewhere, until apps and toolkits like Cairo, GTK+, etc add support for SVGinOT you’ll see fallback monochrome icons.

Prefer Twitter Emoji?

If you prefer the look of Twitter’s native emoji you can, using the PPA above, install a version of this font that uses Twitter emoji in-place of Emoji One’s glyphs.

To install it first remove the EmojiOne font (assuming you have it installed):

sudo apt remove fonts-emojione-svginot

Now install the Twemoji font (assuming you’ve added the PPA listed above):

sudo apt install fonts-twemoji-svginot

Again, you’ll only see Twitter’s emoji in Firefox, Thunderbird and related Gecko apps. Elsewhere the system will fall back to using black and white versions of Twitter emoji.