Want to quickly and effortlessly type emoji on Ubuntu? Well, you can — and in this short post we show you how.

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.

Nope, you won’t need to install third-party apps or emoji keyboards, use weird fonts or add system extensions.

But weirdly, not everyone knows about it! 🤔

So, 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 from your favourite distro.

How to Use Emoji in Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu (like many modern Linux distros) 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 Corebird, RhythmboxGeary, and, yes, even the humble Terminal.

No more squinting at bizarre black and white symbols.

But seeing the glyphs is only half of it. To make it easy to enter emoji on the Linux desktop GNOME developers created an interactive, searchable emoji picker. This picker was included as part of the GNOME 3.28 release in early 2018.

The picker is small pop-over window that makes it easy to find, select and enter emoji in native GTK apps.

All you have to do to access the emoji picker in a native Linux app is right-click in a text-field and select the “Insert Emoji” option from the context menu.

This opens the pop-over picker, like so:

Animated gif showing how to use emoji on ubuntu

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, Google Chrome, or LibreOffice.

So there you have it: you now know how to use emoji on Ubuntu — so 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
If you have an idea for a future article in this series, let us know