Microsoft Fixes the “J” Email Bug After 7 Years
If you’ve ever exchanged emails with someone using Microsoft’s Outlook and you received a smiley face, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with the “J” bug that plagued our emails for so many years.
Basically, what was happening was that the smiley face, which is widely known as the “:)” emoticon, was converted to the letter “J” due to a weird compatibility issue affecting Microsoft’s Outlook.
The company has recently confirmed that it was all happening because of the Wingdings font which Microsoft Outlook used to convert the letter J to a smiley face. This means that if you were using Microsoft Outlook, you were seeing the smiley face emoticon as well, otherwise the message ended with a weird J in any other third-party email client that didn’t support this font family.
7 years to fix the bug
The problem was first spotted in 2010 and now, 7 years later, Microsoft is finally ready to deliver a fix, though it won’t happen overnight and the company expects this to take the whole year.
“Outlook uses Word as its authoring tool. Previously, we automatically changed ‘:)’ to a smiley face character in the font face WingDings. When that email would show up in another client that doesn’t support Wingdings font, it can’t show that character. So it gets replaced. J is the character in the windings font that is a smile, so that is what was displayed in Gmail, iOS Mail, etc,” Microsoft explains.
“We’ve recently released an update that fixes this. Now, we properly represent emojis as true emojis. This means any other email app that recognizes emojis will display the emoji in their app. We have also improved Outlook’s rendering of other email services emojis. We are currently rolling out this feature to customers and should complete in the coming year. As with all feature updates, these updates are available for Office 365 customers.”
With this update, Microsoft’s Outlook will also get improved support for Android and iOS emoji, so everything should look better no matter the platform.