Cursor themes

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There are many cursor themes available for the X11 Windowing System besides the default black pointer. This guide will instruct you on where to get them, installing them, and configuring them.

Getting Mouse Cursor Themes

First, check which themes you already have installed:

ls /usr/share/icons

Search for directories with the cursors subdirectory.

Also, check the official Arch repositories for cursor themes: Search "xcursor-". One particularly popular with many distributions theme is xcursor-vanilla-dmz (white) with it's black version xcursor-vanilla-dmz-aa.

Note: The Template:Package Official package (installed by default with the Template:Package Official group) already comes with the 'redglass' and 'whiteglass' themes in Template:Filename.

Some themes available through AUR.

Here are links to where else you may download cursor:

Installing Mouse Cursor Themes

This manual installation method is only required if you're not using pacman to install themes like described above.

Extract the cursor theme package:

$ tar -zxvf foobar-cursor-theme-package-foo.tar.gz


$ tar -jxvf foobar-cursor-theme-package-foo.tar.bz2

Make a directory for the cursor theme:

Example: FooBar-AweSoMe-Cursors-v2.98beta

User-specific installation:

$ mkdir -p ~/.icons/foobar/cursors

System-wide installation:

# mkdir -p /usr/share/icons/foobar/cursors
Note: To simplify the name of the theme, the name being used is 'foobar' instead of 'FooBar-AweSoMe-Cursors-v2.98beta' when creating the dir(s) above.

Copy cursor files into the appropriate directory:

User-specific installation:

$ cp -a FooBar-AweSoMe-Cursors-v2.98beta/cursors/* ~/.icons/foobar/cursors/

System-wide installation:

# cp -a FooBar-AweSoMe-Cursors-v2.98beta/cursors/* /usr/share/icons/foobar/cursors/

If the package includes index.theme file check if there is an "Inherits" line inside. If yes, check whether the inherited theme also exists under this name in your system (rename if needed).

Copy index.theme file into the appropriate directory:

User-specific installation:

$ cp -a FooBar-AweSoMe-Cursors-v2.98beta/index.theme ~/.icons/foobar/index.theme

System-wide installation:

# cp -a FooBar-AweSoMe-Cursors-v2.98beta/index.theme /usr/share/icons/foobar/index.theme

If the package does not have index.theme or if it does not include an "Inherits" line, you do not have to copy this file.

Create links to missing cursors:

Applications may keep using the default X11 cursors when a theme lacks some cursors. If you experience this, it can be corrected by adding links to the missing cursors. For example:

$ cd ~/.icons/foobar/cursors/
$ ln -s right_ptr arrow
$ ln -s cross crosshair
$ ln -s right_ptr draft_large
$ ln -s right_ptr draft_small
$ ln -s cross plus
$ ln -s left_ptr top_left_arrow
$ ln -s cross tcross
$ ln -s hand hand1
$ ln -s hand hand2
$ ln -s left_side left_tee
$ ln -s left_ptr ul_angle
$ ln -s left_ptr ur_angle
$ ln -s left_ptr_watch 08e8e1c95fe2fc01f976f1e063a24ccd

If the above links do not resolve the problem, look in Template:Filename for additional cursors your theme may be missing, and create links for them as well.

Configuring Cursor Themes

To locally name a cursor theme, add to your Template:Filename:

Xcursor.theme: foobar

To have the cursor theme properly loaded it will need to be called by your window manager. If it does not, you can force it to load prior your window manager by putting the following command in Template:Filename or .xprofile (depending on your setup):

xrdb ~/.Xresources &

Refer to your window manager documentation for details.

Alternatively, you can create a symlink "default" in Template:Filename, which points to your installed cursor theme:

$ ln -s /usr/share/icons/foobar/ ~/.icons/default

If you rather want to change the cursor globally (e.g. used by graphical login managers like kdm, gdm, ...), or if you experience problems with above method (for example in Firefox), create the Template:Filename directory (only if needed):

# mkdir -p /usr/share/icons/default  (only if needed)

Edit or create the Template:Filename file and add the following:

 [icon theme] 

Or if you have/want your cursor themes in Template:Filename only. Create the Template:Filename directory:

$ mkdir -p ~/.icons/default

And create the Template:Filename file with the same contents as above Template:Filename.

You can optionally add this line to Template:Filename if your cursor theme supports multiple sizes:

Xcursor.size:  16       !  32, 48 or 64 may also be good values

If you do not know about supported cursor sizes just start X without this setting and let it choose the cursor size automatically.

More information

For more information about cursors in X (supported directories, formats, compatibility, etc.) refer to the man page:

$ man Xcursor
Note: If the animations are flickering on your nvidia card, add the following line to your Template:Filename file, into the nvidia device section, to fix it:
Option "HWCursor" "off"