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The Ultimate Guide to Adding Emojis to Your Slack Messages on Mobile

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an emoji must be worth at least a hundred! 😄 Emojis have become an essential part of digital communication, allowing us to quickly express emotions, reactions, and context that plain text alone often fails to convey.

For remote workers who rely heavily on Slack to stay connected with colleagues, mastering the art of the emoji is a must. A well-placed smiley face or thumbs up can go a long way in building camaraderie, showing agreement, or lightening the mood during a stressful project.

But if you‘re new to Slack or rarely venture beyond the basic smileys, figuring out how to find and add all the fun emoji options can feel intimidating at first – especially on mobile. Never fear! This ultimate guide will turn you into an emoji pro in no time. I‘ll walk you through exactly how to add emojis to your Slack messages and reactions on your phone, share some power user tips, and discuss emoji best practices.

Why Use Emojis on Slack?

First, let‘s talk about why you should be using emojis on Slack in the first place. Far from being just cute novelties, emojis serve several important functions in a professional context:

  1. Conveying tone and emotion. We‘ve all had the experience of our message being misinterpreted because the tone didn‘t come across in writing. Emojis act as visual indicators that help disambiguate the emotion behind our words. A tricky conversation can instantly become friendlier with a smile.

  2. Enhancing engagement. A wall of plain text is boring and easy to tune out, especially in a fast-moving Slack channel. Emojis capture people‘s attention and make conversations more dynamic and interactive. Seeing those emoji reactions pile up feels validating and encourages participation.

  3. Streamlining communication. Why type out "sounds good to me!" when a quick 👍 conveys the same idea? Used judiciously, emojis can make your communication more efficient by getting your point across in less time and fewer words. This is especially handy on mobile.

  4. Expressing personality. Part of building authentic relationships with remote team members is letting your personality shine through. A quirky custom emoji or your favorite silly face can showcase your unique voice and make interactions more fun.

In fact, emojis have become so useful in the workplace that they‘re no longer considered unprofessional in many contexts. A recent survey by Slack found that 81% of workers believe emojis make professional communication friendlier, clearer, and more positive. So don‘t be afraid to embrace emojis as a tool to up your Slack game!

How to Add Emojis to Slack Messages on Mobile

Alright, now that you‘re convinced, here‘s the step-by-step guide you came for. I‘ll focus specifically on how to add emojis using the Slack mobile app, but many of these tips apply to desktop as well.

Option 1: Use the Emoji Menu

The most straightforward way to add emojis is by selecting them from the emoji menu within Slack. Here‘s how:

  1. Open the Slack app and go to the channel or direct message where you want to send your message.

  2. Tap the message field to bring up your keyboard. You should see a smiling emoji icon to the left of the message field. Tap it to open the emoji menu.

  3. You‘ll now see a screen full of emoji options, organized into different categories like Smileys & People, Animals & Nature, Food & Drink, etc. Scroll through to find the emoji you want, or type a keyword into the search bar at the top to find it faster.

  4. Once you‘ve located the perfect emoji, just tap it to insert it into your message at the current cursor location. You can add multiple emojis by tapping several in a row.

  5. When you‘re done composing your message, tap the Send button (paper airplane icon) to share it with your team.

Pro tip: Slack keeps track of your most frequently and recently used emojis, so you‘ll usually find your go-to reactions in the top "Frequently Used" section for quicker access.

Option 2: Use Emoji Shortcodes

While the emoji menu is great for discovering new emojis, memorizing a few key emoji shortcodes can help you add them to your messages even faster, without opening the menu.

Emoji shortcodes are brief text strings, usually enclosed in colons, that automatically convert to the corresponding emoji graphic when you send your message. For example, typing 🙂 will produce 😄, while :thumbsup: becomes 👍.

To use an emoji shortcode:

  1. Open your message field and type out the shortcode for your desired emoji, such as :heart: for ❤️ or :tada: for 🎉. A small preview of the emoji will appear as you type.

  2. To accept the emoji and insert it, just tap your phone‘s space bar or return key. To dismiss the emoji and just use the plain text shortcode, tap the small x next to the preview.

Some useful emoji shortcodes to know:

  • :slightly_smiling_face: 🙂
  • 😉 😉
  • :thumbsup: 👍
  • :pray: 🙏
  • :thinking_face: 🤔
  • :bulb: 💡
  • :alarm_clock: ⏰
  • :girl: 👧
  • :man: 👨
  • :rocket: 🚀

You can find a full list of supported emoji shortcodes in Slack‘s help center or on emoji reference sites like Emojipedia. Over time, you‘ll probably find yourself memorizing the codes for your most-used emojis without even trying!

Using Emojis to React to Messages

In addition to spicing up your own messages with emojis, Slack also lets you react to other people‘s messages using emojis. This is a great way to provide quick feedback without cluttering the channel with lots of short messages.

To add an emoji reaction from your phone:

  1. Tap and hold your finger on the message you want to react to. This will bring up a menu with various message actions.

  2. Tap the smiling emoji icon labeled "Add reaction." (If there are existing reactions on the message already, you can also just tap the small emoji below the message to add the same reaction.)

  3. Select the emoji you want to use as your reaction from the menu, or use the search bar to find a specific one. Your emoji reaction will appear below the original message.

  4. To remove your reaction, tap and hold the message again, then tap the emoji under "Remove reaction."

You can also see who else reacted to the message with the same emoji by tapping and holding on their reaction. Emoji reactions are a fun way to create a sense of unity and momentum – think a flurry of ✨ after someone shares an exciting update, or a flood of 🙌 for a job well done.

Creating Custom Slack Emojis on Mobile

While Slack comes with hundreds of built-in emojis, sometimes you want to express yourself with something more unique to your team or company culture. That‘s where custom emojis come in!

Slack allows you (and/or your administrators) to create your own custom emojis by uploading small image files in PNG, JPG, or GIF formats. Unfortunately, there‘s currently no way to create or upload custom emojis directly from the mobile app – you‘ll need to use the desktop version of Slack for this part.

However, once a custom emoji has been added to your workspace, you can use it from your phone just like any other emoji. Just search for it by name in the emoji menu or use its shortcode if you know it.

A few ideas for custom Slack emojis:

  • Your company logo or product mascot
  • Headshot photos of team members
  • Favorite memes or gifs – The emoji, not the file format.
  • Reaction faces that capture your team‘s unique sense of humor
  • Inside jokes that only your work friends would understand

Just keep in mind that any emojis you add will be visible to your entire workspace, so make sure they are appropriate and don‘t abuse your custom emoji privileges! Slack recommends keeping custom emojis "tasteful and relevant to your work."

Managing Your Emoji Preferences

Beyond the basics of adding emojis to messages, Slack offers a few extra settings to help you personalize your emoji experience. You can access these from the Preferences screen in your account.

Some useful emoji preferences to know about:

  1. Default skin tone: If you find yourself using a lot of hand-based emojis like 👋 or 👏, you may want to set a default skin tone so you don‘t have to tediously select it every time. Slack lets you pick from 5 skin tones or opt for the default yellow.

  2. Emoji size: Is there no such thing as too large when it comes to emojis? Depending on your screen size and vision, you may want to adjust the "Emoji display size" option to make your emojis smaller or larger.

  3. Frequently used emojis: While Slack automatically tracks the emojis you use most often, you can also manually pin your favorites so they always appear at the top of the emoji menu for easy access.

  4. Emoji conversion: If you work with non-Slack clients that don‘t support emoji graphics, you might see garbled text or empty boxes instead of the fun pictures. The "Convert emoticons and emoji" option tries to convert emoji to plain text equivalents that will still make sense.

Emoji Etiquette for Professional Communication

As much fun as it is to sprinkle emojis liberally throughout your Slack messages, it‘s still important to understand the nuances of using them appropriately in a work setting. A few guidelines:

  1. Know your audience. Some teams or individuals may be more receptive to emoji use than others. If you‘re chatting with a supervisor or stakeholder you don‘t know well, err on the side of restraint until you get a sense of their communication style.

  2. Use emojis to enhance, not replace. Emojis should complement your words, not stand in for them entirely. Avoid long strings of emojis with no context or sending just an emoji as a response without further explanation.

  3. Consider emoji diversity. With multiple skin tones and gender options for many emojis, be mindful about defaulting to lighter skin or male-presenting emojis. Mix it up or use the yellow default to stay neutral.

  4. Keep it professional. Slack may feel informal compared to email, but it‘s still your workplace. Avoid emojis with sexual connotations (🍆💦), crude humor (💩), or negative attitudes (🖕😒) in work channels.

  5. Confirm meaning. The same emoji can mean different things to different people or cultures. If you‘re using a less common emoji, it doesn‘t hurt to add a few clarifying words so your intent isn‘t misconstrued.

  6. Don‘t go overboard. A well-placed emoji here and there can liven up a message. Twenty emojis in one message will overwhelm and distract. Moderation is key!

Emoji Stats & Fun Facts

Still not enough emoji knowledge for you? Here are a few fascinating facts about everyone‘s favorite tiny pictures:

  • According to Emojipedia, there are 3,633 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of September 2021 – and new ones are added every year!
  • The most popular emoji on Slack in 2022 was 👍, with ❤️, 😂, 🙏 and 🎉 rounding out the top 5.
  • The emoji was invented in 1999 by Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita. The word "emoji" comes from the Japanese "e" (picture) + "moji" (character).
  • Over 10 billion emojis are sent every day on Slack!
  • In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named 😂 its Word of the Year – the first time a pictograph was selected.
  • Finland is the country that uses the most emoji in Slack, followed by the U.S. and Brazil.
  • According to Adobe, 58% of users are more likely to open an email if it contains an emoji in the subject line.
  • The most requested new emoji for 2022 was "pink heart." It was finally added in Unicode 15.0 and should come to Slack soon!

I hope this guide has given you the knowledge and inspiration to embrace emojis and start integrating them into your daily Slack communication. Used thoughtfully, they‘re a powerful tool for expressing nuance, building relationships, and making work a little more delightful. 🥳

Now get out there and spread some emoji joy! 😄🌟💬

Want to learn even more about emojis? Check out these related articles:

  • The Fascinating History of Emojis: From Japan to Unicode
  • Top 100 Most Popular Emojis and Their Hidden Meanings
  • Creative Ways to Use Emojis in Marketing
  • Accessibility Challenges of Emoji: Alt Text, Cultural Meanings, and More

This post was written by [Your Name], resident emoji enthusiast and Senior Slack Correspondent at [Your Company]. 🤓 Connect with me on Twitter [@yourtwitterhandle] or Linkedin to talk all things emoji, Slack, and remote work!

[Include a headshot or fun illustrated avatar of yourself here if desired!]