There will be no typewriter emoji

by | Oct 17, 2018 | emoji | 19 comments

A few years ago I kvetched about the lack of a typewriter emoji and even started a letter-writing campaign.

Well, there is a formal and elaborate process for requesting a new emoji. And since nobody else seemed to be doing it, I sat down last summer and created a proposal that I sent to the emoji subcommittee of the Unicode Technical Committee.

I have now received a response:

Thank you again for your proposal. The emoji subcommittee has reviewed it, and has decided to decline the addition of “typewriter”. The statistics do not seem to justify the addition. The “office” category of emoji is already well represented and of lower usage than many other emoji. The “keyboard” emoji is also very close to this. ( https://emojipedia.org/keyboard/ )

For a list of frequently asked questions about emoji submissions, please see:

I can’t say I’m surprised, but it is disappointing. I think that unless the glorious Insurgency makes surprising strides, there will be no typewriter emoji. That’s not impossible—look at the resurgence of vinyl—but I am not holding my breath. (And by the way, there’s still no vinyl record emoji either!)

Here is my failed proposal.


  1. David Brechbiel

    A gallant effort … I missed the original kvetching :) and Apple petition. I had no idea there was a process for requesting an emoji, but your request and additional documentation was excellent. You left no stone overturned. Maybe the committee changes membership often, so resubmitting with an update might be warranted?

  2. Anonymous

    Mientras mas tiempo paso dentro de la tipósfera, más observo en la dirección que tú lo haces. Eso me alegra. Hace meses me dije lo mismo: y el emoji de máquina de escribir?

    Has resuelto el enigma.

    No dejemos de revolucionar!

  3. Richard P

    You mean "no stone unturned," I think! According to their FAQ, it is "very unlikely" that a revised proposal will succeed. The process does require some objective-as-possible evidence of the popularity of a term, and when I saw that "typewriter" was only about half as popular as "scissors" in most contexts, I was not encouraged. (I had to use "scissors" as a comparison, as it is the median-popularity emoji in the office category.) Understandably, the committee wants to admit only new emojis that will be used by many people. The existence of obsolete emojis such as a Rolodex (card index) is not an acceptable argument for adding a typewriter; things like the card index are "legacy" emojis that would not survive today's review process. — That said, a lot of seemingly trivial and obscure images do make their way into the official emoji set. I find it hard to believe that there's a demand for something like the medium-light-skin-tone Mrs. Claus emoji.

  4. John Cooper


    Great proposal, and as you point out, there are any number of emoji for which it would be extremely difficult to argue as having greater utility.

  5. Chad

    Thank you for fighting that battle on behalf of the Insurgency. Perhaps instead of seeking legitimacy from The Man, we should invent a lo-fi typewriter emoticon that anyone can deploy at will. A simple but powerful symbol for the Revolution, a la the Mockingjay or the Bat-signal.

    Maybe something like: '[:::]

  6. Chad

    Oooo, I like that one too. Mine is like a straight-on view and yours a side view. It's too bad the degree symbol isn't easier to type (I had to look up the shortcut).

  7. Chris

    Well, now we know. Thanks for giving it a shot!

    I think '[:::] wins for simplicity!

  8. Ted

    A valiant effort, and I am sad it didn't get accepted – despite not really being an emoji user myself. (and am constantly annoyed that FB emojifies my non-standard smileys). (:

  9. Unknown

    My try… ?[:::]'

  10. Richard P

    You may be right. However, there is in fact an emoji for an oil lamp, along with other old things such as a top hat, a suitcase without wheels, photographic film, a floppy disk, a film movie camera, a film movie projector, a videotape, a Rolodex, a fax machine ….

  11. Krzysztof

    I think it's not possible to add a typewriter, vinyl record, or old cassette tape emoji. Why? Because in 10 years, no one will know what those are. Can you imagine emoji for a unicycle or an oil lamp? We all know they're already museum pieces, and emojis should look to the future, not the past.


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