Emoji have successfully invaded our communication. You are more likely to see conversations composed of emoji only than with no emoji at all. Social media are so overflowing with different variants of smiley faces and other small images that posts without them seem weird. It’s only natural that this lovely virus has spread to email communication, as well. This includes email signatures in particular. Read on if you want to learn how to add emoji to email signatures.
But first, let’s see how emoji fit into professional communication.
Emoji in professional email signatures
You might think that emoji make email conversation more friendly. That you get closer to your recipients when a smiley face appears in each email. That might be true in some rare cases, unfortunately, “outgoing” and “professional” don’t go that well together in this context. Emoji in email signatures force you to choose between too friendly and serious (and I mean serious in a good way).
I’m not claiming that there is absolutely no way to have emoji in email signatures and keep a professional look at the same time. Or that nobody should ever use emoji in business conversations. It highly depends on your recipients, your relations and whether you can afford a laid-back, informal style. The fact is, if you decide to use emoji, know that you are walking on a fine line. You will encounter some people who will view you as unprofessional. Not to mention that you are probably violating your corporate identity. Oh, and there is a chance that the emoji you have chosen is not supported in your recipient’s email client.
If the warnings above do not convince you, feel free to use as many smiley faces as you want. Mind that the example below is how you could give the person in charge of corporate identity a heart attack:
Warnings aside, there is a kind of emoji that you don’t have to be afraid of adding. It is mostly used by (but not reserved to) customer service teams and provides a good balance between professional and friendly look of an email signature. Take a look at an example below:
Emoticons linking to one-click satisfaction surveys are a good way to grab attention and provide you with invaluable feedback from your customers. By design, those emoji are contained in a single place and, therefore, they shouldn’t overwhelm the email signature.
How to add emoji to email signatures
To actually add an emoji to your email signature, first you need to go to your email signature editor. Below, you can see instructions for Outlook:
- In your Outlook window, go to the File tab in the top-left part of the ribbon.
- Next, click Options:
- Go to the Mail category on the left side and click Signatures to access your email signature editor.
If you are a Windows 10 user and you are creating your email signature, adding an emoji is as simple as using the windows+; key combination:
The combination opens the Insert emoji window. You can use it to quickly insert an emoji of your choosing:
You can start typing a name of the emoji you are interested in, browse through the available ones with arrows and insert one with the Enter key. Clicking works just as well. When you are done, hit Esc to leave the emoji window.
If your Windows system version does not support the Win + ; combination, you will have to copy emoji from another source and paste it into your signature editor. One way to do that is to launch Word or create a new message in Outlook, and click Symbol>More Symbols in the Insert tab on the ribbon.
All Windows-supported Emoji are a part of the Segoe UI Emoji font. The images start at the Miscellaneous Technical subset of the font. Although in this view, emoji are black and white, they should be converted into their colorful versions after you click Insert.
After that, simply copy the chosen emoji and insert it in the target email signature editor.
Mobile devices are extremely emoji-friendly, so I won’t explain how to add them there. However, there is another way of adding emojis, directly in the HTML code.
How to add emojis in HTML (advanced guide)
If, for some reason, the methods above do not work for you (Linux, anyone?), there is a different route. This method is used to add emojis directly in the HTML code. Mind that it might take a bit more effort and requires at least very basic understanding of HTML.
The upside? This method should work with every email message, save from plain-text emails.
Before you add an emoji to an email signature designed directly in HTML code, make sure you use the UTF-8 encoding. In other words, your HTML document’s header should include the following part:
When the right encoding method is used, you can add emojis to your code. To do so, go to an emoji list, like this comprehensive one and pick the emoji you want to use. You can either highlight an emoji and copy&paste it, or use its hex code. The former method usually works and is much more user-friendly. For those rare cases when it does not work, the latter option is your only hope. You will need to get the code from the table and make slight changes to it. Replace the U+ part with &#x and add a semicolon (;) at the end. For example:
The emoji 😀 has the code U+1F600 in the table. The code usable in HTML is 😀
One final note – remember that just because emojis look ok before you send them does not mean they will look just as good in all email clients. When you add them, be sure to test your email signature design even more thoroughly than you would normally do.
Central email signature management
In the corporate world, emoji in email signatures is one of the reasons not to let users modify their email signatures. If you have had enough of emoji, quotes of the day and other marketing nightmares, email signature management tools can save your brand.