I'm trying to get a large version of one Apple's new emojis in Photoshop.

I know how to write with emojis in something like TextEdit, but I need the emoji to have a transparent background.

I've even tried writing the emoji in TextEdit, and copying and pasting into Photoshop but I just get an unknown unicode character.

I see the font is Apple Color Emoji in TextEdit when I highlight the emoji, yet I can't find that font in Photoshop.

Any idea on how to type emoji's into a text box in Photoshop?

Thank you!

  • As far as I'm aware, full color Emoji support in Photoshop is currently impossible because Photoshop only supports monochrome fonts. Just throwing ideas out there since I'm not on a Mac, but I would try exporting the TextEdit document as a PDF then opening the PDF in Illustrator to see if it gives you a vector version of the Emoji.
    – JohnB
    Apr 30, 2015 at 2:19
  • I've resorted to this. I basically made the emoji as large as I could in TextEdit, saved as a PDF, then imported into Photoshop. This is a really roundabout method but I guess it works. It also wasn't vector, which I was surprised, it gets super pixelated at a certain font size.
    – Corey
    Apr 30, 2015 at 2:20
  • 1
    These colored characters are not actually vectors, as all other fonts are. They are just large PNGs, embedded into an otherwise regular font, and Apple's (and only Apple's!!) software "knows" how to draw these in Apple's own software (!). Photoshop expects all fonts to be normal. Besides Apple's, there are several other competing proposals for colored vector fonts, but nothing globally accepted or supported yet.
    – Jongware
    Apr 30, 2015 at 9:07
  • Related (and possibly A Duplicate Of): Emoji typing support in Illustrator or Photoshop?
    – Jongware
    Apr 30, 2015 at 9:12
  • I used notes and CMD+ til the size I wanted, saved as PDF, and placed in Illustrator. Not vector but PNG with tranperant background
    – user47775
    Aug 3, 2015 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


While there may be hope for the future as modern operating systems develop support for full color fonts, what you would like to do is not currently possible in Photoshop. Only monochrome fonts can be used. The Apple Color Emoji font is a "special" type of font; glyphs are stored as PNGs rather than vector icons.

At this point, the best you'll be able to do is export the glyphs at the highest resolution possible and use that as a non-text object within Photoshop. This DeviantArt collection suggests that the maximum resolution is 160px². That resource doesn't appear to be fully up to date with the latest additions to Apple's Emoji collection but might include what you're looking for.

  • I actually have used that DeviantArt collection before, but needed one of the newer emojis that just got released.
    – Corey
    Apr 30, 2015 at 2:57
  • Also, these have to exist in vector, somewhere. Maybe someone will get their hands on them.
    – Corey
    Apr 30, 2015 at 2:59
  • @Corey I agree with you, and one of the comments on the DeviantArt page provides a clue... "Apple Color Emoji are scalable fonts and can be exported to pdf from a computer with Mac OS like this: marcoklobas.net/sharing/MacHeist/pig.pdf". I tried scaling up the pig Emoji on my iPhone but it quickly becomes pixelated as well so I would assume the Emoji font is not vector on iOS, at least. So how that vector pig was obtained, I'm not sure.
    – JohnB
    Apr 30, 2015 at 3:12
  • The hunt begins.
    – Corey
    Apr 30, 2015 at 3:14
  • @Corey upon close inspection, that is not the same pig as the one on my phone. So, the PDF is an outdated version, or perhaps it's someones attempt at a vectorization.
    – JohnB
    Apr 30, 2015 at 3:18

Copy the emoticons you like to text edit, safe it as a PDF and open this in Photoshop. It should be rendered automatically with a transparent background.

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