**** [NOTE: Two updates have been made to the middle and bottom of this post to help readers resolve their issue faster.] ****
A client recently came across an odd situation and I thought I’d share some ideas for solutions if this happens to you:
When writing an email in Microsoft Outlook, they would type a colon and a right bracket, they expect to see a happy face emoticon appear.
Unfortunately something had happened to their PC and now a : and ) no longer made a smiley face ; rather, it made a square.
If they pressed CTRL + Z, they could get a : ) but it wasn’t nearly as nice as a happy little round symbol. 🙂
The ability to use smiley faces in their email correspondence in Outlook 2016 was important to them.
They put happy faces in almost every email they write because they find emails can come across as cold without the added visual context.
I totally get this! My email tone is often interpreted as angry, frustrated, or rude when I’m just focused on getting to the point in the fewest number of words possible.
The internet was not very helpful. The closest thing to a potential answer that I found is this TechNet Forum Post.
I came across a short list of troubleshooting steps that a user should work through one at a time to see if the issue can be resolved.
Some things to consider:
#1 – Check the format of your emails in Outlook.
Open a new email > Format Text > Format > set to HTML or Rich Text (Plain text = no formatting, emoticons, or symbols will work).
#2 – Check AutoCorrect to see what it is set to replace : ) in Outlook.
How: In Outlook > File > Options > Mail > Spelling and AutoCorrect > AutoCorrect Options > check the list in AutoCorrect to see if it is set to replace : ) with J.
**** UPDATE #1: If you see a smiley face here, but you’re still seeing a square in your emails then please follow these step-by-step instructions from fellow Blogger Robert S. carefully: Colorful emoticons and smiley faces in Outlook. ****
**** UPDATE #2: Eileen P. points out: “It doesn’t work to copy/paste the smiley symbol or emoji into the AutoCorrect dialog box. You have to *selected it in a newly created email* and then open the AutoCorrect dialog and tell it what you want that symbol to replace.” ****
#3 – Check Display Email Content settings in Outlook.
How: File > Options > Mail > Editor Options > Advanced > Look for the “Display e-mail content” header and ensure that “Show picture placeholders” is not checked.
#4 – Check Trust Center settings in Outlook.
How: File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Automatic Download and ensure that “Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML e-mail messages or RSS items” is not checked.
If that didn’t work… let me know! Here are some other ideas to consider:
- Did you delete the Wingdings font from your machine at some point?
Update – March 6, 2017: My friend Robert Sparnaaij, MVP Outlook, contacted me and explained that this issue can happen for folks with versions of Windows that do not support system wide emojis. People that are affected by this issue can recreate the AutoCorrect entries with the Wingdings font (as I suggested) or better yet use colorful images of their own. He has a post on his MSOutlook.info blog that thoroughly explains how to Add new smileys, icons and logos to AutoCorrect – check it out: Colorful emoticons and smiley faces in Outlook
Update – March 10, 2017: Community member Eileen P. shared her insights in this blog post’s comments section: “Here’s what I realized: It doesn’t work to copy/paste the smiley symbol or emoji into the AutoCorrect dialog box. You have to *selected it in a newly created email* and then open the AutoCorrect dialog and tell it what you want that symbol to replace. Follow the link that Kelly added in her update and follow the instructions carefully.” Thank you Eileen!