In face to face conversation, what a person says can mean something entirely different depending on their facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Unless you have enabled voice or video chat, you cannot take advantage of these cues to convey emotion in your chat messages.

Emoticons are an attempt to convey some emotion in text chat messages by inserting keyboard characters that look like a sideways face with a smile, a frown, or some other expression.

Below are some of the more popular emoticons you might see while you use chat:

Emoticon What It Means
:) Smile
:( Frown
;) Wink
:P Tongue out
:D Laughing
:o Surprised (Oh!)

These emoticons have become so popular, that many chat programs, including Windows Messenger, allow you to add them by selecting them from a list. Instead of the keyboard characters, the chat program will add a smiley face icon that corresponds to the emotion you want to convey.

To use emoticons in Windows Messenger, first open up a conversation window. Whenever you want to add an emoticon in your message to the other person, select it from the Emoticons list that appears above the area where you enter your message.

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