Microsoft Just Stepped Up Windows 11’s Emoji Game and Brought Clippy Back to Life

Microsoft Just Stepped Up Windows 11’s Emoji Game and Brought Clippy Back to Life
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft’s legendary talking office supply has returned from the dead. While the jovial paperclip won’t improve your spelling or help you write a letter, Clippy is being resurrected as part of Microsoft’s new batch of emoji for Windows 11.

The company is starting to roll out a new optional Windows 11 update that brings redesigned emoji to the OS (along with some bug fixes)–Clippy and its haunting googly eyes included. These modernised icons, some 1,888 set to be refreshed, adhere to Microsoft’s Fluent Design language, which emphasises bold pops of colour, transparent backgrounds, and depth.

Clippy’s return isn’t the only tragedy in this update–Microsoft abandoned the 3D emoji it previewed earlier this year, opting instead for a more traditional 2D appearance. And while the 2D versions look like they belong on a contemporary OS, the 3D icons we anticipated would have given Microsoft an edge in the best emoji rankings.

“The new emoji style is only available in Windows 11 and is 2D,” Microsoft wrote in an update to its July blog post. “We still offer an assortment of emojis [sic] for Windows 10 customers.”

Image: Microsoft Image: Microsoft

So, what went wrong with the 3D versions? As Windows Central reports citing Microsoft spokespeople, the problem has less to do with any technical shortcoming than it does with Microsoft’s poor communication skills. The software giant apparently failed to clarify that the 3D emojis were designed to be used inside supported apps, not throughout the Windows 11 OS. So while the more realistic emoji should make their entrance in Microsoft Team, Skype, and Office, the flattened 2D versions will live within the OS.

Making matters worse is Microsoft’s (unsurprising) neglect of Windows 10. Those who either aren’t ready to make the switch to Windows 11 or don’t own a supported PC are stuck with the old emojis.

As for Windows 11 users, they can use the new emoji by installing the optional November 2021 Windows 11 preview update on their Windows 11 PCs. To do so, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and choose “Check for updates.” Once installed, you can press Windows + period key to access the emoji picker where you’ll find the new icons.