Ask the Techspert: Emoticons and Emojis

Jonathan-Techspert-techTechspert Jonathan is Senior Planet’s Digital Community Specialist and a former Senior Planet San Antonio technology trainer. He is also an iOS developer with a background in Information Systems and Cyber Security.

Have a tech question that’s got you stumped? Send your tech questions to Techspert Jonathan using THIS FORM. He’ll be tackling one question a month from readers.


Have you ever been stuck on a pesky tech question, and you just can’t seem to find the answer? You are in luck – in the monthly Techspert column, I’ll be answering real tech questions posted by readers. This month, I will expand on one of our most popular tech articles ever posted: “30 Emoticons: How to Make Faces, Things, and Animals using Your Keyboard.

Emoticons are faces made out of letters and symbols on your keyboard – you’ve probably seen them as smiley faces ;). Emojis are similar to emoticons, but they are more cartoonish, have color, and sometimes look like mini photos. Since their creation in 1997, they’ve become hugely popular – new emojis are announced every year. Some online platforms automatically switch your typed emoticons into emojis.

People use emojis to help fill in emotional cues otherwise missing from typed conversations. The ❤️ emoji, for example, can entirely change the way your message is received. They’re also fun to use and can make sending a digital message more interesting.

Where to find emojis?

As opposed to emoticons, emojis do not need to be composed using the letters and symbols on your keyboard. The only trick is to know where to find them.

  • On any smartphone or tablet device, press the smiley key on its keyboard to access the emojis.

smartphone emoji keyboard

  • On a macOS computer, click where you need to input your text and press the keys control+command+space (CTLR + CMD + SPACE) to display the emoji pop-up keyboard.
  • To display the emoji keyboard on a Windows 10 or above PC, click where you need to input your text and press the Windows logo key and the dot or semi-colon key (Win + . or Win + ;).
  • For computers with previous versions of Windows, it can be more challenging to access the emoji keyboard. You can access them by using the on-screen keyboard, also called the touch-keyboard. However, keep in mind that some previous versions of Windows have on-screen keyboards that do not support emojis.

emoji keyboard image

Most popular emojis

According to Emojipedia, the encyclopedia of emojis, here are some of the most popular emojis:

  • ❤️ Red heart
  • 🥺 Pleading face
  • ✨ Sparkles
  • 😂 Face with tears of joy
  • 🔥 Fire
  • 😊 Smiling face with smiling eyes
  • 🥰 Smiling face with hearts
  • 🤩 Star-Struck
  • 👍 Thumbs up

If you have trouble accessing the emoji keyboard on your computer, go to this LINK and copy and paste any emoji that you want to use.

What is your favorite emoji to use? Leave in the comment below with your go-to emoji. If you feel creative, write a short story or a message with emojis in place of words like this one: I ❤️ 👵 🌎 (I love Senior Planet).

Feel free to use THIS FORM to submit any tech questions that you’d like me to cover in my next Techspert column.