Microsoft has added support for Emoji to Windows through the Segoe UI Symbol font. (Microsoft KB2729094 “An update for the Segoe UI symbol font in Windows 7 and in Windows Server 2008 R2 is available”). Unfortunately this does little for us since nobody has the right font in their font stacks.
If you are unfamiliar with Emoji, it is a set of symbols/emoticons (the word Emoji is Japanese for Emoticon). It is used rampantly on Twitter and in other Social Media.
Twitter’s tweet font stack, for example, is: Georgia,”Times New Roman”,serif; so we get this:
The little square you see there is where the icon should be, but no fonts in the stack have the symbol so it is rendered as “unknown”.
The fix is quite simple. We have to add “Segoe UI Symbol” as the last item in the font stack (after “serif”). So we use: Georgia,”Times New Roman”,serif,”Segoe UI Symbol” as our font stack and the result is:
All letters and punctuation will use characters from Georgia, Times or whatever the system default is (Windows is Times New Roman). But, when there is an Emoji character it will fall through those three to “Segoe UI Symbol” which DOES have the emoji icon and we see the basketball hoop instead of a little empty square.