How to Quickly Search for Emoji from Linux Command Line

Emojis have no doubt become one of the most popular ways to express emotions when communicating digitally. Their popularity can be measured by the fact that there’s even a movie titled “The Emoji Movie” that’s set for release in the second half of 2017.

Today, almost every communication-based application comes with a set of emojis that users can use to express emotions while interacting with each other. However, there are times when the available set of emojis falls short of what you actually need. What do you do in those cases? Search for emojis on the Internet?

While there’s no problem in that, per se, wouldn’t it be easy if you could quickly search for emojis on your system instead? Yes, that’s possible, and in this article we will discuss how you can do that in the Linux command line.

Note: all the commands, instructions, and examples mentioned in this article have been tested on Ubuntu 16.04LTS.

How to quickly find relevant emoji in Linux

A tool exists called Emoj that lets you easily search for emojis from the command line in Linux. You can download and install it using the following command:

sudo npm install --global emoj

Note: in case the npm utility isn’t there on your system, you can install it using the following command:

sudo apt-get install npm

This will also install node.js in your machine.

Coming back to Emoj, once the installation is successful, you can start using the tool right away. The following is a basic example:

emoj love


As you can see in the image above, a list of love-related emojis are produced by the tool in the output.

Please note that you may not get the aforementioned output when you run the tool for the first time. Instead, the following error could be produced:

/usr/bin/env: node: No such file or directory

To solve the error, you’ll need to run the following command:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/node.js /usr/bin/node

Coming back to the usage of Emoj, the example we just discussed produced love-related emojis. You can replace the text ‘love’ with any other emotion, and relevant emojis will be produced. The following screen-shot should give you a better idea of this.


Not only emotions, but you can use Emoj to quickly find emojis for several other things, for example animals.


Needless to say, you can select the emoji you like using the mouse and then right-click to copy it. However, the tool also provides a command line option which the official documentation claims lets you copy the first emoji to the clipboard. The option in question is --copy or -c – I tried using both, but they didn’t work for me as expected.

Moving on, the tool also lets you perform a live search where relevant emojis are produced as you type the text. To enable live search, just type emoj and press enter.



Unlike most of the other Linux command utilities, Emoj doesn’t have a man page. However, for what its worth, you can use the following command to know more about the utility:

emoj --help


While what Emoj gives you is monochrome emoji and not the more attractive, colored ones (That’s because most Linux distros do not come with a colored emoji set.), it still gets the job done. The tool is easy to install and use and has relatively no learning curve associated with it. If you like what Emoj is capable of, go ahead and give it a try.

Himanshu Arora
Himanshu Arora

Himanshu Arora is a freelance technical writer by profession but a software programmer and Linux researcher at heart. He covers software tutorials, reviews, tips/tricks, and more. Some of his articles have been featured on IBM developerworks, ComputerWorld, and in Linux Journal.

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