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How to Use Emoji Reactions in Google Docs


Google Docs recently added many goodies to its platform, such as Markdown support, a master shortcut, and an activity dashboard. And new features keep coming.

These days, the big G is rolling out emoji reactions to Google Docs, allowing users to respond to specific pieces of body text with smiley faces and/or spanish dancers. You might think emojis aren’t useful in word processing tools, but the collaborative nature of Docs actually ensures that you can easily show how much you like your colleagues’ additions or request edits in a way passive-aggressive.

First, make sure you have emoji reactions

The company announced the rollout of the feature on April 5 and said all users (whether you pay or not) should be able to see and use the tool within the next 15-20 days.

[Related: The greatest Google Docs shortcut you’re probably not using]

To make sure you have access to emojis, all you have to do is select some text and see if the context menu on the right margin includes a yellow smiley. If so, you are good to go. If you can only see shortcuts to enter suggestion mode or add comments, you may need to wait a few days before you get the option. You can also try closing all open documents, restarting your application, or refreshing your browser to see if that changes anything.

How to Add Emoji Reactions to Google Docs

Emoji reactions in Google Docs work very similarly to how they work in text messaging apps. But in this case, instead of long-pressing on a block of words to bring up the emoji options, all you have to do is highlight what you want to react to and click the Add an emoji reaction button-the yellow smiley face we talked about earlier.

Now it’s time to choose your emoji. Like on most platforms, you will be able to scroll and choose any reaction you like. If you’re also using Google Chat, you’ll notice that the last line of emojis is fixed and shows your favorite replies with the skin and gender specs you’ve already set up. These two platforms are now interconnected, so if you change preferences on one, they will carry over to the other.

Clicking on an emoji will post your reaction and, just like a normal comment, highlight the text you selected so other users know what the emoji is connected to. If you or anyone else with access to the document wants to add a reaction to the same piece of text, you can click on it and then press the Smileys to open the emoji menu and choose another icon. You can also second someone else’s reaction by double-clicking the emoji they added, which will add a number to the count on the right. All reactions will accumulate on the margin and you can see who added which emoji by clicking on a specific one and hovering your mouse over it.

[Related: Emojis and reaction GIFs make Slack better. Here’s how to create them.]

Clicking on a phrase you or someone else has reacted to will also bring up the classic Google three-point menu. Click on it, then choose To resolve to remove any emoji no matter who added it. You can also get rid of an emoji you’ve added by double-clicking it.

Unfortunately, this new feature will not allow you to easily react with emojis to comments written in a Google Doc. Still, if you don’t mind the extra work, you can do so by copying an emoji – not the written translation of the characters, but a real emoji like this 👋 – and pasting it in reply to a comment. Google Docs will read it and display it correctly so your colleagues know when you think something in the document is 🔥 or 💩.