How to Set Up an Emoji Keyboard on Linux

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How to Set Up an Emoji Keyboard on Linux

While Linux has many advantages over Windows, it does lack one feature right out of the box: simple emoji input.

Fortunately, there are several solutions. Simply select the one you like most! Follow your instincts and you’ll be able to type emojis in no time.

Emoji Input: Keyboard

The emoji panel on Windows is activated by a keystroke and utilized by a mouse click. If you want to write them out for ease of usage, there is a simple alternative on Linux. It combines software that allows you to write in other languages with an input mechanism that allows it to type in emojis. This is known as UniEmoji (for a specific input framework called IBus).

When everything is in place, you should be able to enter any emoji you choose, either by typing them or searching for them. This may be more quicker and simpler than a popup window, but it requires a bit more setup.

Getting the Program

To begin, ensure that you have the IBus application installed. It enables you to text in many languages even if your keyboard isn’t meant for it. It ships with Linux operating systems that use the GNOME desktop, such as the most recent version of Ubuntu. This command will install it if that is not the case.

sudo apt install ibus

IBus operates by installing several modules for various languages. UniEmoji will be required in this situation to enable it to type emoticons. To get things running, you’ll need to install it from source. This is simple enough to do using the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository universe && sudo apt update
sudo apt install git make
git clone
cd ibus-uniemoji
sudo make install
ibus restart

This should install everything needed to get emoticons to function with IBus, including restarting the application if it’s already running (so it can see the new module).If the software isn’t operating correctly, try installing the following prerequisites:

sudo apt install python gir1.2-ibus-1.0

UniEmoji depends on these two pieces of software to function. You shouldn’t have to do this since they’re normally included by default in Ubuntu. You may also install software that will help you find emojis quicker by using the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository universe && sudo apt update
sudo apt install python-levenshtein

The first line is only required if the second line fails. That is, if APT cannot locate the package you need.

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Setting Up

After that, you’ll need to perform some further setup to get everything working correctly. IBus must add a language as an active input method when it has been installed. In this scenario, you must first add UniEmoji.

Because IBus is built into the GNOME desktop, your procedures will be somewhat simplified. If you followed the directions above, all you have to do now is open your system settings and browse to the appropriate location. Enter the following command to do this:


Go to Region & Language > Input Sources from there. You should be able to add additional sources (the plus button).Choose this and then press the More button (the stack of three squares at the bottom).Click Other > Other from here (uniemoji).You should be able to choose this by double-clicking or pressing the Add button.

You may need to launch IBus first on desktops other than GNOME. Run the following command to do this:


This should result in the creation of an icon in your system tray. Right-click it and choose the Preferences option. You’ll be given with a window in which to setup IBus.

Select Input Method > Add from the menu that appears. The procedures are the same as in GNOME to discover the UniEmoji option: Other > Other (uniemoji).

Whether you can click on the IBus tray icon, you’ll know if the instructions were successful. You should be able to pick UniEmoji. By hitting the Super + Space keys, you may also switch to it by default.

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After that, you should be able to input whatever emoji you choose, either by searching for it or by putting in the appropriate sign.

Emoji Input: Mouse

If you prefer to pick your emojis using your mouse, Emoji Keyboard is a simple alternative. It lives in your system tray as a panel that you may display and hide, allowing you to copy or insert the emoji of your choosing.

If you use a Debian-based Linux operating system, getting it is pretty simple. Simply go to the program’s Github website and install the given DEB file. It should be as simple as double-clicking it. No more procedures are necessary; any essential applications should be installed alongside it. If this is not the case, you may need to perform the following instructions first, which should resolve the issues:

sudo add-apt-repository universe && sudo apt update
sudo apt install xclip

You should be able to run the software from your application menu from here (or from the terminal using the command emoji-keyboard).This should result in the creation of an icon in your system tray. You may click on this to bring up a menu with choices such as settings to change its behavior and a virtual keyboard to insert emojis.

You shouldn’t have to start the software manually on subsequent reboots. It will execute on startup by default.

GNOME-Specific Solutions

If you’re using the GNOME desktop, you have a couple more options for emoji input that you may prefer. They’re better integrated with the surroundings, therefore they’re worth a look.

Emoji Selector

The first option is a GNOME Shell extension that functions as a system tray icon. Once installed, all you have to do is click on it to bring up a panel of emojis from which to choose. Another advantage of this technique is that it is all you need to do; there is no need to fiddle with additional applications or the like.

To install this extension, open GNOME’s default browser and go to the extension’s website. Emoji Selector should include a button that enables you to install it. After further approval, the program will appear in your system tray.

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After that, you may access a range of emojis by clicking on the button provided. This panel is also accessible by default using the Super + E keyboard shortcut. You may also do a search for them if you like. Selecting one copies it to your clipboard; however, you must paste it to see the outcome.

GNOME Characters

The final emoji input technique was created by GNOME developers. It’s similar to the Windows character map, except it’s focused on special glyphs (specifically emojis).It is very easy to install: just run the following instructions.

sudo add-apt-repository universe && sudo apt update
sudo apt install gnome-characters

After that, you should see a program named Characters in your application list. When you first launch the program, you will be presented with a variety of various emoticons from which to pick. When you click on one of them, a menu appears with its Unicode translation and an option to copy it for later use.

You can also set up a keyboard shortcut to start this on command if you like. All you have to do is associate the desired keystroke with the software gnome-characters.

Linux Has Emojis Too

On Linux, there are several methods to do a task. This covers everything from your desktop environment to the file manager you use, and even, as seen, how you enter emojis. They all have advantages and disadvantages, but the good part is that you get to select which ones you want.

What method will you use to type out your emojis? Will you even think about it?

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