Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Emoticons in Word.

Emoticons in Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 16, 2019)

Emoticons are those funny little faces people love to put in their e-mails. You know the type, made with colons, dashes, and other characters. For instance, :-) is an emoticon for a smiley face. (Look at it sideways and you see two eyes, a nose, and a smiling mouth.)

If you type an emoticon in Word, it is automatically transformed into a "dingbat" character that shows the smiling face, frowning face, or neutral face. The following are the different emoticons and how they are converted:

Emoticon Equivalent Dingbat
:) smiling face
:-) smiling face
:( frowning face
:-( frowning face
;)| winking face
;-) winking face
:| neutral face
:-| neutral face

(Note that the winking face emoticon does not convert into an equivalent dingbat in Word 2019 or Word in Office 365.)

The actual conversion of the emoticons to their dingbat equivalents is done through the AutoCorrect feature of Word. If you don't want the conversion to take place, you can do the following:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Proofing at the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box with the AutoCorrect tab selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  5. In the list of replacements at the bottom of the dialog box, choose the emoticon you don't want converted. (Hint: All the emoticons are near the beginning of the replacement list.)
  6. Click the Delete button. The emoticon replacement is deleted.
  7. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for any other emoticons you want deleted.
  8. Click the OK button to close the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  9. Click the Cancel button to close the Word Options dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6051) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Emoticons in Word.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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