How to Send Emoticons in an Email

The word "emoticon" is a combination of the words "emotion" and "icon." An emoticon is an icon or symbol, usually a face, that helps convey an emotion. People use them online because others can’t hear their voices or read their body language, and they want to get their tone across. An emoticon, often called a "smiley" online, is usually inserted within a sentence or body of text or at the end of it. Most email programs have emoticons built into their tool bars.

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Using emoticons in an email can help set a tone.

Step

Create a new email message by clicking on "Compose" or "New email." This will vary depending on the program you use.

Step

Locate the smiley face symbol on your toolbar. If you are in plain text mode, you will not see an emoticon symbol on your toolbar and will need to switch modes. If you are using Gmail, click "Rich formatting" to display a more extensive toolbar. If you are using Hotmail, go to "Tools," and click on "Rich text editor." In Yahoo email, click "Rich text."

Step

Click on the smiley face icon on the toolbar. You will have different smiley faces to choose from. Depending on your email program, you may also choose images such as flowers, hearts or stars. The icon you choose will show up in the body of the email, right where your cursor was last. If you want to move it elsewhere, you can copy and paste it to a different location in the body of the email.

Step

Click on the emoticon to insert it. If you are using some versions of Outlook, you may have to approach this differently. Go to "Insert" from the task menu, and click on "Symbol." Under the font menu, change the font to wingdings. Choose an emoticon.

Step

Use the keyboard to make emoticons. If you don’t like the look of the emoticons in the email program you are using, you can just use punctuation. For example, a smiley face can be represented as ":)". There are many more elaborate faces you can make using this method. Check out the list included from Cool Smileys (see Resources). At the bottom of the list, you will also see a link to Japanese emoticons, which are much more complex than many Western ones.

Step

Send your email by clicking "Send." Many people are familiar with basic emoticons such as ":)". The recipient of your email will likely recognize that this is a happy face.