How to access the Mac emojis and symbols keyboard from the menu bar

The emojis and symbols “keyboard,” officially named the Character Viewer on Mac, is a handy tool. With it, you can easily add emojis, symbols, characters, and icons to your notes, documents, and emails.

While you can access the Character Viewer a few different ways, one of the simplest is from the menu bar. This way, you don’t have to try and remember another keyboard shortcut or hope the app you’re using offers a menu option.

The setting for this is a bit hidden and not within your Dock & Menu Bar preferences. So here, we’ll show you how to enable and access the emojis and symbols keyboard from your menu bar on Mac.

Enable the Input icon in your menu bar

Even though Apple updated the System Preferences with macOS Big Sur to include a Dock & Menu Bar section (formerly Dock), you won’t find the option for the Character Viewer there. Instead, follow these steps to locate it.

1) Open System Preferences and select Keyboard.

2) Click the Input Sources tab at the top.

3) Check the box for Show Input menu in menu bar.

System Preferences, Keyboard, Show Input Menu Bar

Access the Character Viewer

Now that you have the Input icon right in your menu bar, simply click it. Select Show Emojis & Symbols and the Character Viewer will open right up.

Input in Menu Bar, Show Emojis Symbols

The other option you have with the Input icon menu is to open the Keyboard Viewer. This opens a convenient an on-screen keyboard. So if you’re interested in using that too, you now have an easy way to open it.

Other ways to open the Character Viewer

As a reminder, you can open the emojis and symbols two other simple ways.

  • Use the keyboard shortcut Control + Command + Space bar.
  • Click Edit > Emojis & Symbols for the menu bar for supported apps.

Wrapping it up

It’s all about convenience and the menu bar on your Mac is an ideal spot for things like this that you use often. Are you going to add the Input icon in your menu bar to easily access the emojis and symbols keyboard? Let us know!