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

Here are links to where you may download cursor:

Also, some themes available through AUR

Note: That X already comes with the 'redglass' and 'whiteglass' themes in /usr/X11R6/lib/icons or /usr/share/icons.

Installing Mouse Cursor Themes

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 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 doesn't have index.theme or if it doesn't include an "Inherits" line you don't have to copy this file.

Note: Some applications keep using the default X11 cursor when a themed version of left_ptr_watch and the like should be shown. Have a look at the symlinks in the changelog belonging to the [3Dcursors project at KDE-Look] to fix this.

Configuring Cursor Themes

To locally change a cursor theme, add this line to your ~/.Xdefaults:

Xcursor.theme: foobar
Note: Make sure the file ~/.Xdefaults is called by your window manager. You can force it to get loaded by running xrdb ~/.Xdefaults before loading your window manager (for example from ~/.xinitrc if you use startx). Refer to your window manager documentation for details.

Alternatively, you can create a symlink "default" in ~/.icons, which should 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 /usr/share/icons/default/ directory (only if needed):

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

Edit or create the /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme file and add the following:

 [icon theme] 

Or if you have/want your cursor themes in ~/.icons only. Create the ~/.icons/default/ directory:

mkdir -p ~/.icons/default

And create the ~/.icons/default/index.theme file with the same contents as above /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme.

You can optionally add this line to ~/.Xdefaults if your cursor theme supports multiple sizes:

Xcursor.size:  32       #  32, 48 or 64 are probably good values

If you don't 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 /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, into the nvidia device section, to fix it:
Option "HWCursor" "off"


WikiMigration--dlanor 13:33, 23 Jul 2005 (EDT)