Editor’s Note: Wow – a lot has changed since March of 2012! It’s always so much fun to look back on older posts like this one and to realize how far we’ve come in a relatively short period of time! We just wanted to take a few minutes to give you a quick how-to in today’s world, and we also wanted to share a couple of newer posts that we’ve written on emojis that you might be interested in ??

Emojis now come standard on our smart phone keyboards, and using them has almost become second nature for a lot of us. Using them on our computers can still be a little tricky though.

Using Emojis on a Mac

If you’re on a Mac, you can press command + control + spacebar to bring up the emoji characters palette.

emoji characters palette

Tip: If you’re planning on using a few different emoji, you can click and drag the palette to keep it up on screen.

Using Emojis on a PC

If you’re on a PC, there’s a few extra steps you’ll want to take. First, you’ll want to install the Segoe UI symbol font and then you’ll want to visit this website where you’ll be able to copy/paste emojis as needed. We got these steps from howtogeek.com – they’ve got more details there if you need them  ?✂??

Emojis Today

Admittedly, there’s quite a bit in this post that isn’t quite as relevant today as it was then. Since this post was written, we’ve put together a couple more on the topic of emojis that you might want to check out:

The Deeper Meaning of Emojis: What You Need to Know on How Social Media is Changing Communication: In this post we dive head-first into how emojis are changing the way we communicate. We also explore what this shift means for marketers.

This is Your Brain on Emojis. Here’s How to Use Them in Your Marketing: In this one we take a look at what emojis trigger in our brains, how they’re changing our language and how to try using emojis in your social media and marketing.




Lots of people like to add things like ♥✩♬♡►♪☺♫ to their tweets for fun, but did you know adding emoji and symbols can make your tweets shorter and easier to read too?

Or that there are over 109,000 symbols available? Or that the Wall Street Journal uses symbols to add bar charts to its tweets?

Of course, if you’re mainly into the fun side, symbols can also let you write ǝpısdn uʍop or even black out those ██████ words (now that @SamuelLJackson has joined Twitter). But there’s a lot more you can do with symbols than just start a pie fight:

Try these symbols in your next post: Schedule your post for free with Buffer!

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about:

  1. Where To Get Emojis & Symbols For Your Tweets
  2. Why Emojis & Symbols Sometimes Don’t Work
  3. How To Make Tweets Shorter AND Easier To Read
  4. The Big List Of Text Emoticons For Your Tweets
  5. Amazing ASCII Art In Tweets
  6. What Do All Those Emoji Symbols Mean, Anyway?
  7. Writing Upside Down, Blacked Out And Other Tricks

The first step, however, is getting symbols  into your tweets! There are three ways to add symbols to your tweets:

  1. Type them from your computer keyboard’s number pad.
  2. Copy from somewhere and paste them in.
  3. Use a tool that adds symbols for you.

Let’s start with the coolest way: An on-screen “click and tweet” typewriter for composing symbol tweets:

1. Where To Get Emoji & Symbols For Your Tweets

Click And Tweet Apps

There are several on-screen symbol “typewriters” you can use to compose and send tweets. Here’s one I made myself (click it to try it):

On this interface, hover over any symbol and it will be highlighted with a white background if it works on most interfaces. I added that feature to remind me not to use special symbols that many people won’t be able to see (read the next section for why not everyone sees all symbols).

After seeing my simple idea, developer Iván Rodríguez (@Ivan_RG) created the ultimate Twitter symbol interface, Twitter Symbols (also available in Spanish). Like my interface, there is a box to type in, but underneath his, he created this beautiful and extensive set of symbols (below) Just click, and they are added to your tweet! Click to try it:

Most advanced of all, though not as convenient as Twitter Symbols, is TwingDings. Here you get various “alphabets” of ACSII art that your text can be converted into, as well as a large collection of symbols and common art combinations.

(Update: It seems that TwingDings is no more. It was fun while it lasted :))

For your iPhone, there’s the very cool tweet symbol composing app called Feathers, which has alphabets, symbols and many other features…even morse code:

Copy/Paste Tools

Other alternatives are adding shortcuts to your browser that popup symbols that you can copy. TwitterKeysUnicode Symbol Map and TwitterSymbols take this approach.

There’s also a great guide to using text symbols, and a giant list of symbols to browse though.

Type Your Own Symbols

This is very convenient for symbols you find yourself needing frequently. I have several memorized.

To do this, you’ll need to use your computer’s number pad—which means you’ll have to have the NumLock set to “On,” or use the special function key on some laptops which lets you use part of the keyboard as a number pad.

Just typing the number from the top row of your keyboard won’t work. You’ll need to hold down the “Alt” key (option key on Mac) while you type, for this to work. Here’s a video introduction:

For detailed written steps, go here. Plus, here’s a giant list of all the codes you can type, and a guide to typing Alt codes from your laptop.

Here are some common symbols you may want to memorize how to type (you don’t type the “+” key):

  • — Alt+0151 or – Alt+0150
  • • Alt+7 or · Alt+0183
  • ♥ Alt+3 or ☺ Alt+1
  • ♫ Alt+14 or ♪ Alt+13
  • ► Alt+16 or ◄ Alt+17
  • … Alt+0133 (didn’t know those three dots—the ellipses—could be a single character, did you?)

2. Why Emoji & Symbols Sometimes Don’t Work

Many mobile devices show very few symbols, which is a good reason not to overdo when adding them to your tweets. All they will show is a little box character “□” where the symbol is supposed to be.

What you need to realize is that symbols in tweets are not really images in the sense of being pictures or photos. They are actually just part of the same text character set that gives us numbers, letters, punctuation and so forth.

For that reason, many symbols do not exist as text characters that you can add to tweets, such as company logos and so forth.

3. How To Make Tweets Shorter AND Easier To Read

Here is an example of two tweets, where the one with symbols is 7 characters shorter, and just as easy—if not easier—to read:

Here’s an example of using symbols in lists, each saving 8 characters versus the first example:

  • Available in: Red / Gold / Green / Blue / Orange
  • Available in: Red…Gold…Green…Blue…Orange
  • Available in: Red—Gold—Green—Blue—Orange

Remember: The ellipses “…” is just a single symbol if you use it correctly! It doesn’t have to be typed as three periods.

So you can also use it between sentences if you just need to save a character, like this:

  • End of sentence. Beginning of new sentence
  • End of sentence…Beginning of new sentence

4. The Big List Of Text Emoticons (Emojis) For Tweets

Smile/Happy 🙂 🙂 :] =)
Frown/Sad 🙁 🙁 :[ =(
Sticking out Tongue 😛 😛 :-p :p
Grinning 😀 😀 =D
Gasping :-O :O 😮 😮
Winking 😉 😉
Grumpy >:-( >:(
Unsure :-/ :/ :- :
Crying :'(
Sending A Kiss :-* :*
“Kiki” ^_^
Squinting -_-
Confused o.O O.o
Upset >-:O >:O >-:o >:o
Wearing Glasses 😎 8) B-) B)
Wearing  Sunglasses 8-| 8| B-| B|
Angel O:-) O:)
Devil 3:-) 3:)
Heart <3

5. Amazing ASCII Art In Tweets

Did you know there is a thriving ASCII artists community on Twitter? There are even entire comics strips in single tweets done by @TwitComicStrip!

Check out any of these links for some examples:

Why not give it a try yourself? Here’s a great guide to making ASCII art tweets, and a collection of sample art that you can cut and paste into your own tweets.

6. What Do All Those Emojis & Symbols Mean, Anyway?

Not sure what a symbol means? Click any symbol below for a definition and WikiPedia article about it. Some have an interesting history in typography.

7. Writing Upside Down, Blacked Out And Other Tricks Buffer this

  1. There are several sites that will convert your regular text ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn oʇuı.
  2. Of course, blacking out █████ words is just a trick where you repeat the “█” character several times.
  3. Some folks just like to add a little drama to their tweets, for example:

▂ ▃ ▅ ▆ █ Type your tweet here █ ▆ ▅ ▃ ▂

¸.•♥•.¸¸.•♥• Type your tweet here •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸

More Resources

What are some of your favorite resources for symbols and art in Tweets? Have a favorite way you like to use symbols, or some great examples of ASCII art?

Leave a link in the comments below of any resources or examples you’d like to share.

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Written by Dave Larson

Helping everyone get the most out of Twitter and social media.

  • Hey, Really nice tutorial. I have seen many people who uses some amazing symbols and I always wonder how they’re able to do it. But now I can do it as well. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Very helpful for me! Thank you! 
    Очень Полезно! Спасибо! 

  • Its really funny and interesting post.I learned a lot with this post.Thanks for sharing such a informative post.

  • You should add your symbols on Buffer! How cool would that be?!! That way when we Buffer a tweet we can have access to these symbols! Just a friendly thought!

    • Agreed! I think the Buffer guys have a lot of stuff planned, maybe this is on their roadmap as well 🙂

  • Great tutorial, I always thought that people use some kind of software to insert symbols and never know how to do it.

    • Yup, it’s one of those “tricks” that is great fun once you know how!

  • Great info – we retweet @TweetSmarter all the time. You might also want to check out the great #TwitterArtist with #TwitterART or #140ART @RockCARTGallery 

    • Very cool stuff, for sure! Glad I mentioned those hashtags in the post.

  • M4cb3th




  • Anonymous

    I love this tutorial! I always wondered how some people could use symbols and icons. Thanks

    • Dave Larson

      You’re very welcome, Jane 🙂

  • Most of them come up as boxes on my PC, too. Not helfpful.

  • I’d always wondered how people got these fun symbols in tweets.  Thanks for sharing the secret!

  • Really appreciate the tutorial. Great post.

    The keyboard shortcuts, however, don’t seem to work for me on my Mac. Any suggestions?

  • Helpful tools to add symbols to your tweets. #apps #tweets

  • TheLuvalentinoShow

    I’ve waited a long time for this! Thank you! Having a nationally
    syndicated radio show, I needed to spice it up. Where do I send
    The holiday card every year?! Lol LuV

  • Anonymous

    Very useful!

  • Faisal

    ¸.•♥•.¸¸.•♥• Thanks ^^ very useful •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸ 

    • sds


    • sds


    • sds


  • Church

    Thanks for all the tips on using symbols and art in Tweets. Church

  • Minneapolis

    Very creative. Thank you! Minneapolis

  • 3D Systems

    I appreciate your extensive definitions of uncommon symbols. 3D Systems

  • uji

    awesome…thank you…

  • My wife has hit a snag with trying to use the Alt-key to enter these characters. She uses Alt-0133 often, and whenever she uses it, it pops up a Buffer entry window, and interrupts the typing. I seem to recall something about the Alt key being used to change Buffer users, but can’t find it. Could this be the cause?

  • Gypse girl

    there’s a symbol icon that kinda looks like a iron, or a coffee steamer.. not sure what it means… can you help.

  • Rosemarie Pelaez

    Nice one!:)

    • Rosemarie Pelaez

      What a nice!B) hehe…:)

  • Rosemarie Pelaez

    yeah awsome…nice symbols!I really really really Like it!!!Luv it!8) Nice pic. that I have!hehe…:) like it!!!<3

  • Sid

    what if i want to make a custom symbol and use it in my tweets?

    • @Chuck_Bond

      Since it’s customized no one but you will see it because no one else has it

  • FourFollow

    It can be even simpler to add special characters to your tweets. The site FourFollow.com has a special character editor for posting your tweets with lots of symbols. It lets you add special characters to your tweets with a single click. Therefore you can now also send special characters from your mobile phone including Androids and IPhones.

    Take a look here http://fourfollow.com/Group/View/Fourfollow-news/1

  • Niketa

    a really good one

    it really helps !!!! 🙂 😀

  • JS

    Quite nice !!!

  • Tips

    to make a heart hold alt then 3 i USE IT AND ONLY LEARNT TODAY LIKE THIS ♥

  • follow me

    follow me on twitter please i’m the same person who is ”Tips” same email

  • This is lovely information. Thank you for the insight on Feathers and TwitterKeys.

  • Ohh and Facebook Symbols is an awesome site as well for symbols: http://www.fsymbols.com/

  • I dont know how to add cool smileys in my tweet but what i have is a special set of skills, skills that i have acquired in my long career, skills which can boost your tweet with thousands of retweets and favorites within seconds, skills which are only meant for my buyers who want to get popular on twitter. Here they are http://www.fiverr.com/tweetretweet/add-10100-retweets-and-favorites-to-your-tweet-to-optimize-your-twitter-and-seo

  • Herbie
  • putain


  • Maritah H

    Thanks, but it doesn’t work in my keyborad. T^T

  • Agnes Dadura

    (https://datacollective.org/sparkblocks.html doesn’t work for me)

  • Inayatullah

    i want flags of all world twimg

  • Isabel

    Hi there!
    I really love using buffer, but for some reason whenever I add a tweet containing an emoji to the queue, the emoji won’t show once the tweet is published. However, if I schedule the tweet or publish it immediately, it does work. Does anyone know how to fix this or is anyone experiencing similar problems?

    • Mary Jantsch

      Hey there Isabel, oh man, so sorry about the inconsistency here! Would you be up for shooting an email to [email protected] pointing us to one of these tweets? I’d love to poke around a bit deeper and make sure we have Buffer working perfectly for you. 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions at all.

  • PangetNaUgly

    Didn’t wok in my Laptop..

  • kathleen

    goodafternoon guys 🙂