This week Microsoft has released an update for Windows 11, officially bringing their new Fluent emoji set to Windows users. The update also brings popular new emojis such as Face with Spiral Eyes and Heart on Fire to the platform for the first time.
Above: a selection of 😃 Smiley emojis as they now appear on Windows 11 after the platform's November 2021 update.
The 2D Fluent emoji set in this week's update was first made available in a Windows Insider developer build back in October.
These designs differ from those that first appeared alongside the announcement of the new Fluent emoji design overhaul ahead of this year's World Emoji Day. Those initially previewed designs were glossy and 3D, with many of them being animated.
Above: a selection of the 3D designs that accompanied Microsoft's original announcement of the Fluent emoji set.
However, it has since been made clear that while the 3D Fluent emoji designs will be made available within the likes of Microsoft Teams and the upcoming Microsoft Loop, these glossy designs will not be the primary emoji set for Windows: the 2D incarnations will be.
This is likely due to the nature of Microsoft's color font format, which uses vectors to allow for significant scaling of the emoji designs but may well require flatter designs for file size management purposes.
In addition to revising the entire emoji set, this update introduces 57 brand new emojis to Windows from late 2020's Emoji 13.1 recommendations.
Above: 57 brand new emojis included in today's Windows 11 update.
Additionally, this update also introduces new gender-specifying sequence variants of the 🧔 Person: Beard emoji: 🧔♀️ Woman: Beard and 🧔♂️ Man: Beard. Both of these new emojis support skin tone modifiers.
Meanwhile, 🧔 Person: Beard has been given a new gender neutral design.
Support for late 2021's Emoij 14.0 recommendations is not included in today's Windows update. This means that Windows users will have to wait a while longer before they can view and use the likes of Melting Face and Heart Hands.
While all emoji designs were changed to the new Fluent style in today's Windows 11 update, several emojis also had other elements of their design modified. A collection of these changed designs are highlighted below.
😷 Face with Medical Mask now has a contented expression instead of a neutral one.
😉 Winking Face now has its mouth open.
🧐 Face with Monocle looks bemused, as per other vendors' designs.
🦠 Microbe is now green instead of blue.
💃 Woman Dancing now has facial features and a new flower in her hair.
🤰 Pregnant Woman has new facial features, is facing forward, and is now wearing purple.
🛸 Flying Saucer no longer includes a little green alien.
🧚 Fairy displays the fictional woodland creature's full body, as per other vendors.
🧝 Elf is now clad in green instead of orange.
👬 Men Holding Hands are now both wearing blue instead of teal.
🐧 Penguin is now looking forward and has a white feathered face.
🐙 Octopus now has a bulbous, cartoonish head.
🦧 Orangutan is no longer scratching its head.
🦓 Zebra is now a full-bodied feature.
🦖 T-Rex is now green instead of brown.
🔫 Water Pistol now more closely resembles the designs on Apple and Samsung devices.
🐚 Spiral Shell is now white instead of peach-colored, as per other vendors' designs.
📮 Postbox is now red instead of blue, as per other vendors' designs.
🌌 Milky Way now has a square background instead, akin to other vendors.
💮 White Flower now includes Japanese text that roughly translates to very well done.
🧱 Brick now displays as a wall.
🛹 Skateboard now shows the board's deck instead of its wood underbelly.
🪅 Piñata is now donkey-shaped instead of a three-dimensional star.
🔀 Non-RGI Emojis
Since their 2016 Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has supported over 50,000 different 👪 Family emoji combinations, with different skin tone support and sequences that included the non-gender-specifying 👶 Baby emoji.
However, despite keeping these 👪 Families, this update has removed emoji support for a variety of different Unicode characters and emoji sequences not recommended for general interchange (RGI) by the Unicode Consortium.
Sadly, as we feared within our initial preview of the 2D Fluent set, this includes the various Ninja Cat emojis.
Originally introduced within the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016, the Ninja Cat and its other emoji incarnations were a nod to a popular Windows Insider program meme from the early 2010s.
However, following the November 2021 update, the six Ninja Cat emojis - namely the 🐱👤 Ninja Cat, 🐱💻 Hacker Cat, 🐱🏍 Stunt Cat, 🐱🐉 Dino Cat, 🐱👓 Hipster Cat, and 🐱🚀 Astro Cat - no longer render within an individual emoji design.
Other non-RGI Unicode characters and sequences that no longer have an emoji design include:
However, despite many non-RGI symbol emoji designs being discontinued in this update, the Windows 11 November 2021 update continues to provide various Mahjong Tile Unicode characters with emoji support.
Above: the various non-RGI Mahjong Tile emoji designs included in this Windows emoji update.
Though the colors featured in their designs have changed, these Mahjong Tile characters retain a thick black outline reminiscent of the outgoing Segoe Color Emoji style first introduced in the 2016 Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
The Windows 11 November 2021 emoji update is now available as a free update for Windows 11 users in select regions, with global rollout continuing over the next few weeks and months.
The update is entitled the Windows 11 KB5007262 update and will lead to Windows 11 Build 22000.348.
Those using Windows Insider builds would have already received this update at various stages over the past few months, varying based on the fast or slow ring options.
📖 Read More
- View all Windows 11 November Update emojis
- All new emojis in Windows 11 November Update
- Fluent Emojis Look Different To How You Last Saw Them
- Windows 11 Emoji Changelog
- New Fluent Emoji Designs From Microsoft
In its 2017 update Microsoft began to support some 💏 Kiss and 💑 Couple with Heart emoji sequences that remain non-RGI to this day. Specifically, the platform has supported skin tone variations that feature the 👨 Man on the left and the 👩 Woman of the right of the design, as well as skin tone combinations that include one of either the 👨 Man on the left and the 👩 Woman emojis presented without a skin tone modifier. These sequences are still supported in this Windows 11 November 2021 update and have been supported within the Apple emoji design set since the 2021 iOS 14.5 update. ↩︎