How to Use Slack-Style Emojis Almost Everywhere

Avi Goldman
Jun. 30, 2017 by Avi Goldman

Anyone in the modern workplace is probably familiar with tools like Slack, a team-oriented chat platform for getting things done. One of my favorite features is the emoji shortcut, which allows you to simply type :emoji-name:  to insert the corresponding emoji. It makes it really easy to add emotion without hunting for the particular emoji you’re thinking of. After living in Slack for hours every day I found myself trying this shortcut in other apps, which disappointingly didn’t work. I’ve kept an ear to the ground for a solution to this very first-world problem…and finally found one!

But how? 🤔

At our last company holiday party, Aydrian mentioned that he had recently added an auto-correct match to his iPhone which replaced shrug  with ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I loved the idea, so when I got home, I added all my favorite Slack emoji shortcuts to my Mac auto-correct.

To do this on a Mac, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text  and then add emoji shortcuts. For an iPhone its the same process, found in Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement . It’s that easy! Here is a table of my most used emojis.

shortcut emoji
:_1: 👎
:+1: 👍
:blush: 😊
:cry: 😢
:eyeroll: 🙄
:grimace: 😬
:hushed: 😯
:joy: 😂
:kiss: 😘
:mask: 😷
:money: 🤑
:monkey: 🙈
:nerd: 🤓
:party: 🎉
:peace: ✌️
:plane_down: 🛬
:plane_up: 🛫
:plane: ✈️
:poop: 💩
:shrug: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
:sick: 😷
:sleep: 😴
:thinking: 🤔
:wave: 👋

But does it work ⁉️

I’m pretty happy with how it works. Check it out in action. 🎉

slack emojis gif

Hopefully this trick will help you maintain your emoji skills everywhere. Sometimes you’ll want to use an emoji you haven’t added a shortcut for though 😟 You can keep your emoji-ing in high gear with the keyboard shortcut ctrl + cmd + space  🎉

More love for emojis ❤️

Emojis in your code 🖥

While it might not be the best idea, it is possible to use emoji in your code and comments. More practically, if you’re like me and prefer writing in your code editor, being able to add emojis easily is a nice feature (I’m actually using it to write this blogpost – gettin’ meta). There are a ton of plugins that help with that. Here are a few that I’ve heard good things about:

Emojis as your code 😯

On a slightly more whimsical front, there is an open source project named Emojicode which is an entirely emoji-based language. You should definitely give it a try.

Be sure to comment or tweet us your favorite hacks for slack emojis. I’m always on the lookout for new tricks 👋

Avi, Software Engineer


At SparkPost we love all things Slack – check out Cole’s posts if you’re interested:


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