WordPress Adds Emoji 13.1 Support

In WordPress 5.8, currently in beta and launching for everyone in July, adds support for Emoji 13.1!

As a quick refresher, WordPress has a built-in emoji support detection system in place that checks to see if your site visitor’s browser can support the latest emoji. If they are not able to see the latest emoji, we will automatically replace emoji characters with emoji images.

This allows authors to use any emoji character they wish and ensure that everyone can see them. Without this, site visitors would see those little boxes with an X or instead of seeing a transformed emoji (like an female astronaut, they would see an astronaut with the female symbol next to it… which isn’t great).

What’s in Emoji 13.1? Check out Emojipedia’s rundown of 13.1’s changes for Twemoji—the Twitter emoji design that we use within WordPress.

Some of the hightlights include being able to express bending a broken heart ❤️‍🩹 or show off your heart is aflame ❤️‍🔥 (also perfect for talking about the Sacred Heart, heh). Want to stay a little hidden in the clouds? Me too. 😶‍🌫️

The bearded person emoji now supports a whole range of gender, skin tone, and hair color. Lastly, the couple and kiss combination emoji have a wide range of options now with various skin tones, genders. Before, there were pretty limited options so you couldn’t really express a couple or kiss that matched you unless you happened to fit one of existing combinations. Now, I can send my wife an emoji that better displays us 👩🏽‍❤️‍👨🏻

WordPress’ goal is to enable you to express yourself however you wish, including through emoji without making you feel lightheaded 😵‍💫!

Emoji 13 Coming to WordPress

As of r48048-core, WordPress will polyfill Emoi 13 glyphs on devices that do not support them.

What this means is whether or not your viewer’s device is able to display a 🫀 or not, you can include one on your WordPress site and it’ll display for them.

You have stuff to do — like feed your kids 👨‍🍼 or tend to a plant 🪴 or making face masks 🪡 — so no need to think about whether or not someone will see an emoji or a blank box on your site.

It isn’t magic 🪄. WordPress has a small bit of JavaScript that will check if your browser will render one of the latest emoji and see if it is what we’d expect or not. If not, it’ll load a script to replace emoji characters with graphical images. If it does support the latest emoji standard, it’ll do nothing and let the viewer’s operating system display it like normal.

This will roll out to production as part of the WordPress 5.5, expected to ship in August.

🧁 WordPress Adds Emoji 11 Support

Note: This post is regarding upcoming WordPress 4.9.8 and this is not applicable to production sites… yet.

In WordPress 4.9.8, among the improvements will be support for the latest Emoji 11 release. WordPress, technically, has already supported it—you’ve been able to add a 🦸 or 🦹 character even since general emoji support was added. One of the pieces of emoji support within WordPress was using the Twemoji library to polyfill emoji that your operating system didn’t support.

In other words, while you can add any Unicode character to your post, it is generally up to your operating system to support it, except for emoji, which WordPress provides a backwards-compatible way for them to display. Emoji 11 went live in early June and WordPress 4.9.7 adds support for the polyfill for these new emoji. Have an old computer? Apple hasn’t released a new version of OS X yet? You’re not on Android P, which is only in development anyhow? No problem, WordPress has your back.

So, no matter if you’re in the heat of summer 🥵 or the dead of winter 🥶, or if you’re 🥺 or 🥳, WordPress is here for you. There are a lot more than just a few smileys or the all-important cupcake 🧁. There are a ton of science-related emoji 🧬 and 🥎 to supplement the existing ⚾️.

If you’re reading this while, um, doing something else ( 🧻 ), Emojipedia has a great run down of the new emoji, specifically as presented by Twemoji.

I’m a little excited by the cupcake emoji, so I decided to use real cupcakes to help make it happen…. These baked goods would be from my wife, Vanessa’s own Qué Bueno Bakery, which is a bronze level Unicode sponsor for the cupcake emoji.

Okay, maybe I’m more than a little excited.

If you’re a 🦸 and testing out Gutenberg, the emoji won’t yet render when editing a post. There’s an issue for it—need to find a good way to ensure the emoji aren’t saved as images when they’re rendered via Twemoji.

What is your favorite new emoji coming soon to your WordPress site?

Have A Cupcake From Qué Bueno!

Vanessa’s Qué Bueno Bakery is the latest Unicode Adopt-a-Character sponsor!

Unicode is the non-profit responsible for coordinating the Unicode Standard, which specifies how to encode text in virtually every modern electronic system. It is how every computer knows that when I type an “A” it should be an “A” everywhere. In addition to the standard alphabets that most English or Romantic language speakers are used to, the Standard sets Han characters (the unified character set for Korean, Japanese, and Chinese) and fun stuff like Emoji. More importantly, Unicode also standardizes a lot of far lesser-used text characters that helps promote continued scholarship and electronic usage for languages and character sets most of us have never heard from.

Just from Unicode 11, announced the first week of June, there were a number of areas with added support:

  • For the Mazahua language, a Mesoamerican language recognized by law in Mexico
  • For Mayan numerals used in printed materials in Central America
  • For Sanskrit manuscripts written in Bengali
  • For Gurmukhi manuscripts
  • For historic documents of the Buryats of the Barguzin Steppe

While people love emoji these days and they would likely get made either way, supporting Unicode enables support for these lesser-known scripts, which is pretty darn cool in my book.

Cutting Edge of Emoji

WordPress added support for two special emoji today—not included in Unicode 9: the rainbow/pride and pirate flags. 🏳️‍🌈🏴‍☠️

iOS users will see these in the next update (iOS 10, currently in beta) and has been updated in the scripts that Twitter uses. WordPress users will see it, besides on my site and those that run the trunk/development version, on or near August 16th when WordPress 4.6 rolls out to the world.

It doesn’t look like much, but here’s the commit that added pride and pirate flags to WordPress.

How To Use Emoji One On Your Site

Emoji One, an open-source emoji set, revealed their 2016 collection last month and it is beautiful!

WordPress natively uses Twiemoji, a “competing” set sponsored by Twitter when the browser can not display emoji, so how do you switch which is used?

The quick answer is to add this to a core functionality plugin or your theme’s functions.php:

add_filter( 'emoji_url', 'bk_replace_emoji' );

function bk_replace_emoji() {
return 'https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/emojione/2.0.0/assets/png/';

This utilizes a CloudFlare-sponsored CDN to serve the emoji images. Alternatively, you can download the PNG images from the Emoji One developers page, upload them to your own site, and use that URL instead.

In this case, we still rely on WordPress’ emoji-replacing JavaScript, so you’d still miss out on some Unicode 8 and diversity emoji on WordPress 4.4 (added in about-to-ship 4.4.1), but it is an easy, low-maintenance way to use a different icon set.