How to Use Emojis in Linux


Emojis have become a popular way to express emotions and add a bit of personality to text conversations in today’s Internet age.

Many folks expect to have some way of viewing and using emojis no matter the operating system they’re on since they already get to use them on their mobile devices and social media networks.

If you’re coming from a macOS or Windows 10 experience, you get to use this feature out of the box. Alas, the support for emojis on the Linux desktop is largely below par.

Depending on your distribution, you might be able to see monochrome representations of emoji characters by default. For example, Fedora 25 can display these symbols while also allowing you to quickly search, select and input emojis using a keyboard shortcut.

Since not all distros have this feature built in, let’s take a look at some distro-agnostic ways you can view and input emoji from your Linux PC.

Install an Emoji Font

The Symbola font can display a wide range of emoji symbols as monochrome glyphs. You should install it if it’s not packaged by default in your distribution.

Packages like ttf-ancient-fonts on Ubuntu-based distributions and gdouros-symbola-fonts on Fedora-based ones make it easy to get the Symbola font onto your Linux desktop.

Run the following commands to install ttf-ancient-fonts in Ubuntu 16.04 and other Ubuntu-based distributions:

sudo apt-get install ttf-ancient-fonts

To display color emojis in Linux, you need to install an emoji font. A good option to try is the EmojiOne Color Font which uses glyphs from the free EmojiOne set.

At this time it will only show color emoji in Firefox, Thunderbird and other Gecko-based programs. Other applications will fall back to black and white glyphs, but in general these will be much better than the ones you get from the Symbola fonts package.

Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distributions:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:eosrei/fonts
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install fonts-emojione-svginot

If you prefer Twitter’s emoji design, install Twitter Color Emoji Font instead:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:eosrei/fonts
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install fonts-twemoji-svginot

For other distributions, installation instructions can be found on the font’s Github page.

Input Emoji with EmojiOne Picker

The best way to input emoji will largely depend on your preferred desktop environment. A good solution is to use the EmojiOne Picker applet for Ubuntu.

This program adds a categorised emoji applet to your desktop’s taskbar or panel which makes it easy for you to find, copy and paste emojis.

Although designed specifically for Ubuntu and the Unity desktop, it has been reported to work on other distributions and several DEs such as GNOME, KDE Plasma, MATE, XFCE, Pantheon and Cinnamon.

Installation instructions for your distribution can be found on the project’s Github page.

Once you have it installed, launch the program from your application launcher. The picker applet will be added to your system tray.


To use the picker, simply choose your emoji from the drop-down menu to copy it to your clipboard, and then paste it wherever you want.



That’s all it takes to get emoji support on Linux. Do you like to use emoji? Have you found an easier way to use them on your Linux PC? Let us know in the comments!

Ayo Isaiah
Ayo Isaiah

Ayo Isaiah is a freelance writer from Lagos who loves everything technology with a particular interest in open-source software. Follow him on Twitter.

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