Is there a specific font or something I need to install/download/configure in order to see emoji characters?

Emoji are picture characters/emoticons often used in Japanese webpages and messages.

People can post these from their phones to a site like Twitter, but when I try to read them on my PC (running Windows 7) it doesn't know how to display them.

If there's a reason I can't display them on my machine, is there a reason why not? They're part of unicode, after all.

  • Could you paste some of the unreadable characters here?
    – legoscia
    Dec 5 '10 at 0:40

Microsoft has finally added Emoji (2, at least) to the Segoe UI symbol font in an update to Windows 7.

Microsoft KB2729094 titled “An update for the Segoe UI symbol font in Windows 7 and in Windows Server 2008 R2 is available” is presumed to be made available through Windows Update soon.

This article introduces an update to the Segoe UI symbol font in Windows 7
and in Windows Server 2008 R2. This update adds support for emoji characters
and some control glyphs that are included in Windows 8 and in Windows Server

Note Emoji characters come from emoji-capable platforms and devices. The 
platforms or devices enable users to easily insert emoji characters into
documents, email messages, or chat conversations by using an emoji picker
feature or an emoji palette feature. In Windows 8 or in Windows Server 2012,
these characters are inserted by using the on-screen keyboard.

Microsoft backports Windows 8 emoji for Segoe UI Symbol to Windows 7

  • 3
    Is there a font that I can install that will display ALL unicode characters, even crude versions?
    – endolith
    Mar 8 '14 at 16:52
  • 1
    Windows 10 has nice colored emojis. I hope they refresh the font so Windows 7 is on par with Windows 10 emoji display wise.
    – Sun
    May 29 '18 at 17:52
  • 1
    @endolith there's no font that contain all Unicode characters but Google Roboto and Noto are 2 fonts that has very good Unicode coverage and they're still actively expanded. See Why isn't there a font that contains all Unicode glyphs?. You can also check this list and sort by the number of glyphs to get the font with most characters
    – phuclv
    Nov 6 '20 at 8:05

You need a font that supports the new characters. I guess there will be an update to Windows 7 that included such a font. Alternatively you can install a font that includes the characters, for instance "Symbola" by George Douros: http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/. You can then finally see the cat "🐈" and the monkey face "🐵"! (In Firefox, you may need to set gfx.font_rendering.fallback.always_use_cmaps to true in about:config.)

  • 3
    installed Symbola on Windows 7 and Firefox still doesn't show the cat "🐈"
    – endolith
    Mar 14 '14 at 16:35
  • Colored font support is first introduced in Windows 8, so regardless of the font you install, Windows 7 will never be able to render them properly. Firefox uses their own fonts and renderers to support emojis on older systems like Windows 7 or old Ubuntu
    – phuclv
    Nov 7 '20 at 2:04

I think many new emoji were added in Unicode 6, which came out a month ago. So probably there is not much use of the standard code points at the moment, nor fonts that support them.

The existing situation, I think, has different carriers using different code points in the Unicode Private Use Area or using Shift-JIS as per Wikipedia, so unless you had a font that matched what the phone had, you would not be able to display the characters.

  • 1
    Any idea where/if I could get a font/Firefox addon to render them nicely?
    – Fowl
    Oct 29 '10 at 4:11

You can view emoji in Google Chrome Windows 7 with an extension called Chromoji
(it works on OS X and Linux too :-)


I saw this problem be solved by updating Internet Explorer to version 11 under Windows 7 x64 (several computers affected, all solved).

In my case it was because I formatted the pc with pure, no-servicepacked Windows 7 x64.

After SP1 on Windows 7 and IE11 have installed, all browsers started to show the emojis correctely.

I used for test this site: http://www.copypastecharacter.com/emojis

If the page shows squares all around the page, the error is not solved.

If the page shows several kinds of symbols, than the error is eliminated.

Please tell us if this workaround was effective.


If you have to customize something on your device (PC or otherwise) to read them, then those you send them to will not be able to read without similar customization. I think they were intended primarily for messaging between phones, not for general communication. Apple iPhone goes for total "user experience" not for broadly accepted standards. If they did then you wouldn't have this feature at all.

Basically I always hated these but lately they have come out with some really good ones and combinations can be interesting (like french flag combined with fries, kiss, fu@%; or beer, burger and fries). You can assign them to keyboard shortcuts on iPhone; and some, along with Microsoft symbols, can be assigned shortcuts in Windows with Phrase Express which I highly recommend, though a bit of a learning curve like most useful tools.

Hope that helps someone.

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