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How to use the Microsoft Teams secret emoticons

Microsoft Teams has emojis and reactions. Emojis are fairly common on any app that supports chat. Some apps support a small and basic emoji set while others support all emojis that the OS they run on support. 

The Microsoft Teams Windows 10 app supports the native emoji on Windows 10, Microsoft Teams for Mac supports the native macOS emoji, and the same holds true for its mobile apps.

microsoft teams secret emoticons

Microsoft Teams secret emoticons

Microsoft Teams has two different ways to enter emojis or emoticons; you can click the emoji icon under the chat/text input field or you can use the OS’ emoji input panel. On Windows 10, you can open the panel with the Win+. keyboard shortcut. 

Microsoft Teams also has a small set of secret emoticons. They’re fairly easy to access if you know how to access them.

Use Microsoft Teams secret emoticons

To use the Microsoft Teams secret emoticons, follow the steps below. These work for the desktop apps and for the web UI but not on the mobile apps.

  1. Open Microsoft Teams. 
  2. Go to either a teams’ channel or a chat thread.
  3. Click inside the text input field and enter the colon character :.
  4. Follow this character up with a letter for example a and emoticons that start with the letter will appear in the list. You can continue typing to narrow the results down e.g. apple.
  5. Select an emoticon with the mouse or with the up/down arrow keys, and tap Enter.
  6. The emoticon will be entered.
  7. Tap the Enter key or enter text and then send the message.

The emoticons that you see are the same that Windows 10 supports but this is a quicker way to enter them and you will see a few different ones. On macOS though, you will get an entirely different/new set of emoticons to send. Some of the emoticons will be those that you may have seen in Skype.


The ‘secret’ emoticons in Microsoft Teams don’t depict any special character nor are they animated. They’re called or referred to as secret emoticons simply because the method for entering them is not known to most Microsoft Teams users. This method wasn’t always a part of Microsoft Teams. It was added somewhat recently and at some point, the official Microsoft Office Twitter account tweeted about it as though it were a new feature or a secret one. The only difference is that the account says it will only work in Windows 10 and cites the Win+. keyboard shortcut but you can use the colon method to insert the emoticons on macOS.


  1. Re Secret Emoticons in Microsoft Teams:
    You can also get to the by typing the open bracket then the name of the emoticon you are looking for. It suggests emoticon as you type. The more you type, the narrower the results.
    What I really wanted to find out today was how not to use an emoticon in this way. I wanted to type “(laptop)” and it show up like that, not an emoticon of a laptop. If you figure out how to do that, please share.
    Kind regards,

  2. Unfortunately as of the middle of May 2021 the colon short-cut no longer works for me (Windows 10 / Teams 🙁

  3. But if one enters an OSX or MSW-specific emoticon, how will it appear on the other platform?

    Slack has had this nailed cross-platform for years, Teams is way behind the times.

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