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Some will find this post blatantly obvious and old news, but hopefully others will find it a delightful surprise. GitHub.com parses Emoji Icon short-codes on their website to display their respective images. This works in commit messages, Markdown files, and I believe in comments (Github's Flavored Markdown).

Below is a GitHub repo I made of every single available icon as a separate file and commit message. Fork or star it for reference:

If anyone's curious, I just made a very small bash script that looped through each available Emoji. I got the complete and official list of available icons via GitHub's v3 API. There's no way I would commit all these individually!

Alternatively, you also can reference this nifty

guide and cheat-sheat. The short-codes for these Emoji's are very simple. Just surround the name of the emoji with colons. For example:

git commit -m 'Fixed whatever, time for :beers:'
git commit -m 'Updated README :cat2:'
git commit -m 'Meow meow meow :octocat:'
git commit -m ':toilet:'

Finally, below is also a list of every icon straight from the GitHub API via a JSONP call:

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