The Windows Emoji Panel has its problems which are amply demonstrated by a common symbol that’s hiding in the long symbol lists – the Pi symbol 𝜋 . We’ll explain where it’s hiding and generally grumble about this part of Windows 11 and 10.
The Emoji Panel is in Windows 11 and 10, access it via the Win + . (fullstop/period) shortcut. It always shows emoji first, click on the symbol icon (top right) to see common symbols including a section of Maths symbols.
We’ve looked high and low in the Emoji Panel, in Maths symbols– 𝜋 find we not which is curious because it’s one of the most common and well-known mathematical symbols.
After a lot of searching, we found 𝜋 hiding waaay down the Symbols list under Language Symbols.
Why the Language Symbols group not Maths Symbols? “Pi” is a letter in the Greek alphabet (e.g. Π or 𝜋 ). Really it should be in both groups.
The difficulty finding 𝜋 demonstrates what we’ve said for years, the Emoji Panel in Windows sucks.
Even in Windows 11 it’s little better with extras added (GIF) but not the complete overhaul that’s needed.
Microsoft repeated excuse is that the Emoji Panel is designed to appeal to younger users. Apparently, people under a certain age have no need for math, currency or other symbols and are totally fixated on emoji. Why else does the Emoji Panel always open at Emoji or Emoji/GIF instead of the last used panel or the most recently used list?
The Windows Emoji Panel doesn’t have a proper search feature. Microsoft says there’s a find option but it’s only for the emoji and GIF. There’s no way to find symbols or kaomoji even though there’s hundreds of them.
That omission must have been a deliberate choice by Microsoft because each symbol comes with a text label (Interrobang, Reversed Question Mark etc.). The Windows Character Map (a long-standing accessory) has been able to search symbol names for years.
Awful thumbnail hover image
And while we’re on a rant, check out another awful part of the Windows Emoji Panel, the preview thumbnail that shows when hovering the mouse pointer over a symbol,
Let’s look at a close-up of the 2/5 fraction from the opening image above.
See how the hovered thumbnail is smaller than the button image? How in the name of Gates n Allen is that allowed?
The thumbnail is supposed to be larger and easier to see than the source. Doing that in a User Interface design class would earn a failing grade … but not at Microsoft.
Presumably, Microsoft will say that’s “by design” (their usual excuse) but it’s hard to understand the thinking behind that decision. After all Microsoft’s own Character Map has a proper preview by clicking on the symbol.
The only excuse we can imagine is again based on Microsoft’s statement that the Emoji Panel is designed for younger users. Perhaps Redmond thinks that young people have better eyesight and don’t need a sizable preview image?