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There are now a range of "color fonts" such as "noto color emoji" that contain multi-colored emoji. Is there any way to use such fonts in pdftex? As far as I can tell, the PDF format should be able support these fonts.

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  • There are some packages (ctan.org/pkg/coloremoji and ctan.org/pkg/twemojis) that can be used with pdfLaTeX but they render the emojis as images and not as characters. Representing an emoji font with a large number of characters using pdftex font encodings is rather difficult, because the font handling was not designed for so many different characters. Using XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX you can use the opentype or truetype versions of these fonts easily - although for the Noto font specifically you need a fairly recent version, [...]
    – Marijn
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 13:19
  • see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/497403/….
    – Marijn
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 13:19
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    @Marijn Especially for Noto Color Emoji all approaches render the emoji as images since the "emoji font file" is just a wrapper around a bunch of PNG images. So while they might appear like characters in TeX, they just end up as images in the PDF file. Commented May 29, 2021 at 13:27
  • @MarcelKrüger the actual output may be images but the emojis are still represented as characters, i.e., they can be copied and pasted into a text editor as unicode glyphs. The pdfLaTeX compatible packages linked above seem to use only images, so without representing them as characters.
    – Marijn
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 13:35
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    @ gmvh what you propose is (to my understanding) more or less how fontawesome5 works for pdflatex (a package by @MarcelKrüger). If you look at the file properties of the manual, which is compiled with pdflatex, then you will see that several varieties of the Font Awesome 5 font are embedded into the pdf, and the examples are actual characters. However, if you select the file icons from page 2 for example and copy them in a text editor, then you see they are encoded internally as the characters > ? > ? (in different colors).
    – Marijn
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 15:31

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