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Using Smilies

What Are Smileys?

Smileys, also known as "emoticons," are glyphs used to convey emotions in your writing. They are a great way to brighten up posts. smile emoticon

Text smileys are created by typing two or more punctuation marks. Some examples are:

;-) is equivalent to smile emoticon
:-) is equivalent to smile emoticon
:-( is equivalent to sad emoticon
:-? is equivalent to confused emoticon

To learn more about emoticons and their history, see the Wikipedia entry on Emoticons.

How Does WordPress Handle Smileys?

By default, WordPress automatically converts text smileys to graphic images. When you type ;-) in your post you see smile emoticon when you preview or publish your post.

To Turn off Graphic Smileys

If you turn off graphic smileys, whatever you type in plain text will remain, and be displayed, as plain text.

  1. Go to your Admin Panel
  2. Select Settings -> Writing
  3. In the Formatting section, uncheck the box for "Convert emoticons like :-) and :-P to graphics on display"

Turning off emoticons means that when you type ;-) in a post you will see ;-) when you preview or publish your post. So it doesn't stop you from using emoticons as plain text. wink emoticon

What Text Do I Type to Make Smileys?

Smiley images and the text used to produce them*:

icon text text full text icon full text
smile :) :-) :smile: lol :lol:
biggrin :D :-D :grin: redface :oops:
sad :( :-( :sad: cry :cry:
surprised :o :-o :eek: evil :evil:
eek 8O 8-O :shock: twisted :twisted:
confused :? :-? :???: rolleyes :roll:
cool 8) 8-) :cool: exclaim :!:
mad :x :-x :mad: question :?:
razz :P :-P :razz: idea :idea:
neutral :| :-| :neutral: arrow :arrow:
wink ;) ;-) :wink: mrgreen :mrgreen:

* In some instances, multiple text options are available to display the same smiley.

Troubleshooting Smileys

Why Doesn't it Work?

Smileys may have been disabled by your Wordpress admin. Another possibility is the smiley image files have been deleted from /wp-includes/images/smilies.

Why Doesn't it Work for Me?

If smileys work for others at your site but not for you:

Type a space before and after your smiley text. That prevents the smiley being accidentally included in the text around it. redface emoticon

Make sure not to use quotes or other punctuation marks before and after the smiley text. rolleyes emoticon

Where Are My Smiley Images Kept?

The smiley or emoticon image graphics are found in the /wp-includes/images/smilies directory.

Note that smileys is spelled 'eys' in this documentation and the directory name for the smiley images is 'smilies, spelled 'ies'. eek emoticon

How Can I Have Different Smiley Images Appear?

The easiest way is to filter the smilies.

Upload the images you want with the same name to your server (say in wp-content/images/smilies) and put this in your theme's function.php:

add_filter('smilies_src','my_custom_smilies_src', 1, 10);
function my_custom_smilies_src($img_src, $img, $siteurl){
    return $siteurl.'/wp-content/images/smilies/'.$img;
}

That will replace http://example.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_question.gif with http://example.com/wp-content/images/smilies/icon_question.gif

Why are my Smiley Images Blank?

If you recently uploaded the images, it could be that the images have been uploaded in ASCII format by your FTP program. Re-upload the smileys ensuring that they are transferred in BINARY format.

Some FTP programs have an auto-detect setting which will upload files in the correct format without user intervention. If you have such a setting, turn it on.

Smiley CSS

The smiley images in WordPress are automatically given a CSS class of wp-smiley when they are displayed in a post. You can use this class to style your smileys differently from other post images.

For example, it's not uncommon to set up images in a post to appear on the left-hand side of the content with text flowing around the image. The CSS for that might look like this:

.post img {
    float: left;
}

This would typically affect all images in a post, including your smiley images. To override this so that smileys stay inline, you could add this to your CSS:

img.wp-smiley {
    float: none;
}

For more on CSS in WordPress, you might want to start here.

More Information on Smileys