Not all mouse cursors are created equal. Sometimes referred to as the pointer, the graphical images — commonly associated with a simple, slanted arrow — echo the movements of the computer mouse, touchpad, or whatever pointing device happens to be utilized with the computer. It’s a basic concept, allowing users to visualize the exact location set to respond to a specified command, but one still crucial in a world that has yet to fully implement touchscreen technology in everyday computing. Despite the pointer’s robust capabilities and heavy use however, Windows’ default cursors tend to the err on the side of caution. Most consist of the aforementioned, slanted arrow, while others don a similar style in varying colors and sizes. Thankfully, Windows users can swap cursors directly from Control Panel.
Here’s our guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows, whether you’re looking to merely increase the cursor size or change its appearance entirely. Also, check out our quick-hit list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts or our even slimmer guide to the four essential Windows keyboard shortcuts you absolutely must know.
Step 1: Go to mouse settings
Click the Start Menu and click Control Panel near the bottom-right corner of the menu. Then, click the green Hardware and Sound link on the left-hand side of the new window, followed by the blue Mouse link under the Devices and Printers section.
Step 2: Pick a new mouse cursor
Select the Pointers tab in the top-left corner of the window. Then, click the drop-down menu under Scheme and select your desired cursor. Windows comes pre-installed with 12 or so schemes by default, but you can always mix and match different cursor components below the Customize section and clicking the Browse button in the bottom-right corner. Additionally, check or uncheck the box directly left of Enable pointer shadow to toggle the mouse cursor’s subtle backing shadow, and click Save As and Apply when done.
Step 3 (Optional): Download and select a mouse cursor from the Web
Rudimentary mouse cursors are fantastic if you prefer simplicity over style. But what if you want your pointer to sport some pizazz? Thankfully, there are scores of websites dedicated to offering free, third-party cursors. Open Cursor Library and Cursors-4U both provide an incredibly robust selection of mouse cursors, encompassing everything from adorable Pokemon and festive holiday icons to medieval broadswords and more minimalist options.
To download and use a cursor from the Web, select your desired icon set and click the associated download link prior to choosing a save location. Afterward, navigate to the mouse settings as outlined in Step 1, click the icon you wish to change beneath the Customize section and choose your mouse cursor from its respective save location. Continue doing so for each selection type in the scheme, and once satisfied, click the Save As button beneath the scheme menu to title and save your newly-customized scheme for later use. When finished, click Apply button in the bottom-right corner of the window to save your selection.
What do you think of our guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows? Still having trouble finding right cursor for your needs? Let us know in the comments below.