Windows 11: Microsoft is 'working on' 3D emojis — here's what they may look like

Windows 11 3d emojis
Windows 11 3D emoji concept (Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 may finally get the striking, stand-out emojis we've been waiting for. In response to a tweet expressing a yearning desire for 3D emojis, Microsoft Distinguished Designer Nando Costa said "we're working on it."

Last November, Microsoft rolled out a new collection of characters called "Fluent Emojis," but instead of an uproarious applause, the Redmond-based tech giant was greeted with disillusioned grumbles. Why? Well, they weren't the animated, 3D emojis Microsoft promised. Perhaps the next-gen emojis will better align with users' expectations (h/t The Verge).

3D emojis may be coming to Windows 11 after all

Costa recently authored a LinkedIn blog post that pulled the curtains back on Microsoft's emoji creation process. 

Windows 11 3D emojis

Concept: Windows 11 3D emojis (Image credit: Microsoft)

Costa posted the article on his Twitter, which impelled Ethan Alvarée to reply. "Lovely. Wish they actually looked like this on Windows 11," he said, referring to the article's accompanying 3D emoji images that look nothing like the current-gen smileys. Costa agreed with Alvarée and told him that 3D emojis are in the works.

Windows 11 3D emojis

Concept: Windows 11 3D emojis (Image credit: Microsoft)

In August 2021, Microsoft shared teasing photos of slick, eye-catching 3D emoji designs on its official Windows Twitter page. The Redmond-based tech giant showed off new emoji concepts for Clippy, the crying-laughing smiley and more.

The Official Windows U.K. Twitter page also dangled a carrot to its followers in October 2021, insinuating that 3D emojis were about to make a new home inside Windows 11.

However, as we now know, the cool, modern 3D emojis Microsoft flaunted in its Twitter pages and Medium blog didn't materialize in the November 2021 release of Fluent Emojis. One Twitter user accused Microsoft of "scamming" people. In response, Windows Insider Senior Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc said, "No, they didn't scam you. You're exaggerating this a bit. They simply used the wrong graphics. Sorry about that. Will make sure they use the right ones going forward."

Citing "Microsoft spokespeople," Windows Central said that the company gave the wrong impression with its tweets and blog posts. In November 2021, Microsoft clarified that 3D characters will not replace Windows 11's native 2D emoji designs. Instead, they will only make an appearance inside select apps (e.g. Microsoft Teams and Skype).

Three-dimensional smileys are still a missing feature on Windows 11; it hasn't even appeared as an app-specific perk. Fortunately, Costa hinted that Microsoft hasn't completely abandoned the project just yet. A new crop of striking smileys may be coming to Windows 11 after all.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!