Does anybody know what happened to the section in Wordpress went to:

Settings > Writing > Formating: Convert emoticons like :-) and :-P to graphics on display

I remember it used to be there regardless of whatever theme I was using. I can't find an answer on any forums either.

Is there a script or something i can paste into functions.php to make it show up again?

  • I'm on the latest version of WP and I see that option in writing, it's the first checkbox, it hasn't moved
    – Tom J Nowell
    May 23, 2018 at 22:19
  • yeah I have the latest version too and that option is missing... And the theme I'm using is my own theme.... I can't find a solution to this anywhere.... May 23, 2018 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


I'm answering this old question because I didn't find anything better.

WordPress 5.9 wp-admin\options.php line 165 checks database version (when WP was originally installed) against a number to show or not those options.

if ( get_site_option( 'initial_db_version' ) < 32453 ) {
$allowed_options['writing'][] = 'use_smilies';
$allowed_options['writing'][] = 'use_balanceTags';

Not actually a solution, but maybe it's useful to understand why those options are missing, my initial guess is that those are not needed when the database already support emojis natively (utf8mb4).

  • That could be the explanation but why? I have several WP sites and my older sites have the options. Newer sites do not but the automatic conversion is enabled by default and as it seems, it is impossible to disable.
    – w-sky
    Sep 11, 2023 at 18:46

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