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What do Emoji Look Like on Windows?

News @andrew_andrew__ Jan 13, 2022, 4:52 pm EST | 3 min read Toilet Photo by Am.p/Shutterstock.comLinguists argue that emoji are a new, universal form of communication. These small images convey abstract ideas, including emotion and innuendo, with more immediacy than the written word. Not to mention, emoji carry a ton of artistic value; they inspire…

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Microsoft's emoji getting flushed down a toilet.
Toilet Photo by Am.p/Shutterstock.com

Linguists argue that emoji are a new, universal form of communication. These images communicate abstract ideas with greater speed than the written word, and can even convey emotion and innuendo. Emoji have a lot of artistic value. They encourage people to express themselves much like a painting, or a song.

Emoji are clearly an important part of any modern operating system. What does an emoji look on Windows?

A Tour Through Microsoft’s Terrible Emoji

Microsoft's worst Windows 11 emoji.
Emojipedia

Here’s a funny thing about Microsoft’s emoji–they look different depending on what operating system you use. Windows 11 users get a set of strange, minimalist emoji, while Windows 10 users get weird blocky emoji with thick black outlines.

You can see the full list of Windows 11 and Windows 10 emoji at Emojipedia. To help you see the bigger picture, I would like to highlight some of the worst Windows Emojis.

I will make a single concession to appease the Microsoft fans. While the majority of Microsoft’s emoji are terrible, I really like the shrugging emoji, and the Windows 11 smiley faces aren’t half bad. They’re just missing something … oh, I know what they’re missing! They are not 3D!

What Happened to 3D Emoji?!

One of the highlights of Microsoft’s Windows 11 launch event was the long, expensive-looking “fluent emoji” concept video. Microsoft promised that expressive, 3D animated emoji would transform how users communicate with Windows 11–our coworkers at How-To Geek even called fluid emoji Windows 11’s best new feature!

But on October 14th, just nine days after the Windows 11 launch, Microsoft gave us our first look at the operating system’s official emoji selection. A moment that should have been a victory for Microsoft immediately became a scandal. The 3D animated fluid emoji was replaced by unattractive 2D turds.

When passionate Windows users argued that they should have 3D emoji, Microsoft denied that it ever promised such a feature. Some users pointed out that 3D Emoji was shown by Windows UK Twitter just days before 2D emoji launch. However, that was an accident. Microsoft explained.

Since that fateful day, we haven’t heard about “fluid Emoji”. We are now stuck with Microsoft’s horrible 2D abominations. It’s fitting in a way because Microsoft has never provided the emoji its users deserve.

Microsoft’s Legacy Is Littered By Bad Emoji

The old Microsoft poop and soft serve emoji, which look very similar!
Yes, the old Windows 10 poop and soft serve emoji looked very similar. Emojipedia

It’s been a long journey. We’ve flipped through some of Microsoft’s worst emoji, investigated the Windows 11 emojigate scandal, and cried over broken promises. We still don’t know the answer to the big question: What does an emoji look on Windows?

Let me give you a simple solution. Microsoft has always sucked at designing emoji, and it will continue churning out bad emoji until the end of eternity.

Back in 2015, Insider published an article titled “Why Microsoft Decided That Its Poop Emoji Shouldn’t Smile.” It’s a fantastic piece of investigative journalism that reveals Microsoft’s literal, inartistic interpretation of how emoji should work. And as Insider discovered, Microsoft cared so little for smiley faces that it knowingly ignored the gross similarities between its poop and soft serve emoji.

Windows’ emoji changelog from 2015 also reveals some disturbing information. Microsoft chose gray to replace yellow, which was the neutral color for emoji skins. This is unlike other companies who used yellow. And although Microsoft genuinely tried to make its emoji look more Apple-like in 2015, the results are questionable.

Microsoft doesn’t know how make good emoji. To remove these emoji from Microsoft’s legacy, it would require a miracle. Let’s hope this miracle happens soon.


I’d like to end things on a good note, so I’m going to give Microsoft a bit of praise. The company did a good job designing Skype’s emoji. It was too bad that Microsoft ran Skype to the ground just before a global pandemic, the widespread adoption Zoom and all the rest.

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