With the widespread use of mobile devices in business, peer-to-peer communication has had to evolve to include various forms of shorthand languages conducive to chat applications and users with limited thumb dexterity. One of the most common forms of shorthand communication developed for the mobile age is the icon-based vocabulary known as emojis.

However, when it comes to Microsoft Office, and in particular Word, using emojis is much more difficult because the application is not designed with image-based icons in mind. But with a little know-how, you can install a complete set of 1,300+ emojis into Word using a free add-in called Emoji Keyboard.

This how-to article will show you how to download and install Emoji Keyboard and how to use it in your next Word document.

SEE: Microsoft Teams: The smart person’s guide

Download and install

Emoji Keyboard is available as an add-in from the Office Store. It’s compatible with these Office applications:

  • OneNote Online
  • PowerPoint 2013 Service Pack 1 or later
  • PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
  • PowerPoint 2016 or later
  • PowerPoint Online
  • Word 2013 Service Pack 1 or later
  • Word 2016 for Mac
  • Word 2016 or later
  • Word Online

The easiest way to get to the Office Store is by clicking the icon located under the Insert tab on the Ribbon of any Office app. Figure A shows an example from Word.

Figure A

Search the Office Store for Emoji Keyboard. When you reach the correct entry, click the Add button to begin the download and install process. It should look something like Figure B.

Figure B

Note: If you are part of a large enterprise, you may be required to seek assistance from your Office 365 administrator before you can download and install the Emoji Keyboard add-in.

After clicking the Add button, you should see a new section under the Insert tab for Emoji Keyboard.

SEE: Why emojis might be your next password (CBS News)

Adding emojis to a document

To add an emoji to a document, navigate to the Insert tab and click the Emoji Keyboard item on the Ribbon. The add-in will create a pop-out screen with a list of more than 1,300 emoji icons to choose from, as you can see in Figure C.

Figure C

You can search for a specific emoji or you can browse through the various categories, like animals, objects, symbols, food, and drink. You can also choose a different skin tone for your emojis.

Keep in mind that these emojis are actually images, and as such, their size can be adjusted. So while a typical grinning face emoji may look that this:

It can also look like this:

With the free Emoji Keyboard add-in installed, you can communicate with mobile members of your team or department using a common shorthand messaging app vocabulary. And you can do it directly from Word, PowerPoint, or OneNote–applications not originally designed to use emojis.

Your take

Does the idea of seamlessly adding emojis to your documents appeal to you? Or do you think it’s merely a gimmick that detracts from business communications? Share your thoughts with fellow TechRepublic members.