Speaking of the most commonly used computer systems, it must be Apple’s MacOS system and Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

However, when using Microsoft Windows systems, users may encounter this kind of situation: When we want to use country flag emojis on a Windows computer, instead of showing the color emojis, they might show a 2-letter country codes, like CN for China, GB for United Kingdom.

Windows 10 has now been out for 6 years since 2015, But until now, the Windows system still does not support flag emojis, Why is that?

This has to starts with the explanation of the essence and display principle of country flag emoji.

The essence of country flag emoji

Country flags are a combination of 2 regional indicator symbols that are diaplayed as a flag. The regional indicator symbols are a set of 26 alphabetic Unicode characters, by combiding them it can represent countries and support country flag emojis.

In 2007, the Unicode Technical Committee received a draft proposal from 3 Japanese telecommunications companies DoCoMo, KDDI, and SoftBank. They want to encode emoji symbols, specifically those in widespread use on mobile phones. The proposed symbols included ten national flags:China(🇨🇳)、France(🇫🇷)、the UK(🇬🇧)、Germany(🇩🇪)、Spain(🇪🇸)、Italy(🇮🇹)、Japan(🇯🇵)、South Korea(🇰🇷)、United States(🇺🇸)and Russia(🇷🇺)。

Although this proposal was finally passed, some people think that encoding these flags but not other countries' flags was somehow prejudicial. In the next few years, the Unicode Consortium received many proposals try to solve this problem, but it has been unable to find the most reasonable solution.

October 2010 (Unicode 6.0), the Unicode Consortium came up with a reasonable solution that instead of taking the time to re-encode each flag, it is better to use the regional indicator symbols to represent the country flag emojis.

Country regional indicator symbol letter Emoji
China CN 🇨🇳
United States US 🇺🇸
Japan JP 🇯🇵

The reason why country flag emojis only show two-letter codes on Windows

Country flags are codes that combined of 2 regional indicator symbols. However, whether to display as colorful emojis, this question is left to each platform to consider. This is why the same country flag emoji will show different designs and shapes on different platforms.

💡:e.g. This is the regional flag of Wallis and Futuna. Except for EmojiOne and EmojiTwo, they are all displayed as unofficial flag, and the texture, state, and shape of the flag are different from each platform.

In conclusion, country flag emojis are the combination of 2 regional indicator letters, whether to display as colorful flag emojis, it depends on each platform’s decisions.

However, not all "countries" are recognized, and regional flags can be divided into official and unofficial. As a multinational technology company, Microsoft decide only to display regional indicator symbols to avoid political problems and disputes.At this point, maybe you can understand why Microsoft's Windows system cannot display the colored country emojis.


Now you know the true form of country flag emojis. That is to say, even if the emoji only displays combination of 2 letters on your Windows device, the receiver's non-Windows device will still display the normal color emoji after receiving it.

For example:

💡:Though it is display a letter combination when you send it, receiver's non-Windows system device will still show the normal Five-star Red Flag emoji.

There are two ways to send country flag emoji from a Windows system device:

  • Find the flag you want in category Country-Flag, copy and paste that 2-letter code, then send it to any non-Windows system device and it will show as a normal coloured flag at the other end.
  • If you know the regional indicator letters of a specific country, for example: If you know that Brazil's code is [BR], you can directly combine the regional indicator letters [B] and [R] to create Brazil's flag emoji and send it to your friend. We have summed up all the regional indicator letters in Topic (If you still don't understand the regional indicator letters, we recommend the method above.)

This is the reason why country flag emojis only show two-letter codes on Windows system, more articles please check our bolg website.

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