emoji

As pervasive as emoji sets are on phones and tablets, the emoji keyboard is much less accessible when working on a desktop. Google Chrome just released a feature in beta that is expected to help desktops catch up by creating a shortcut to access the emoji keyboard.

The digital symbols can seem elusive on some desktop operating systems, leaving most people to either use website-specific emoticons or even copy and paste emoji sets found online. To make it easier, Google Chrome is now adding an option in the right-click menu that will quickly pull up an emoji selector.

There are already key combinations to pull up an emoji keyboard for most desktops, but these hidden combinations are not widely used. Mac users can find the emoji keyboard by typing cmd + ctrl + space, but for Windows, there are added steps. Users have to open the touch keyboard by clicking the keyboard icon in the task manager, then by clicking the “Emoji” button, and then by searching.

Google Chrome engineer Adrienne Porter Felt tweeted screenshots of the one step required to reach the emojis. A right-click option takes out the usual steps to emoji access and is a much more intuitive process. When a user right-clicks in any text field on the web, “Emoji” will be listed first in that menu. Clicking it will pull up a native emoji selector for that user’s operating system.

The feature is available in beta but only in Chrome Canary or version 67.0.3389.0 for Mac. The feature is primarily for developers at the moment, but those who want to get started right away can start by first downloading Chrome Canary for Windows or MacOS. Once Canary is set up, use this link or type “chrome://flags/#enable-emoji-context-menu” into the browser’s search bar. Then, enable the emoji feature and restart the Canary browser. Users will then see the emoji option appear whenever they right-click in a text field in Chrome.

For those who don’t mind waiting, the right-click feature is expected to become available on more stable versions of Chrome in a few weeks.