How to use custom mouse cursors and pointers in Windows 10

Your mouse cursor plays a vital role when using your computer, and you should be completely comfortable with its appearance. Maybe you want a larger cursor, that's easy to find in a text without straining your eyes, or perhaps you are bored with the same old pointer that you have been using since what feels like forever. Whatever the case, this tutorial shows you how to customize mouse cursors on your Windows 10 computer or device:

NOTE: The features presented are available in Windows 10 Version 1903 (May 2019 Update) or newer. If you're using an older version of Windows 10, you might not have access to all the features. Check your Windows 10 build and, if necessary, get the latest Windows 10 update available for you.

What is a mouse cursor in Windows?

A mouse cursor is an indicator used to depict on your display either the current position for user interaction, or the movements of your pointing device. In Windows 10, you can change the cursor's thickness, adjust the size and color for your pointer, or you can replace the currently used icons with completely different ones. Windows uses the ".ani" (animated cursor) and ".cur" (cursor) extensions when it comes to files used for mouse cursors. Built-in Windows 10 cursors are usually around 9-10KB in size each, while animated cursors can be as large as 500-600KB.

Built-in Windows 10 cursors

The default folder for these files is "C:\Windows\Cursors," and, if none of the available options are to your liking, and you decide to download a new mouse cursor scheme, the new scheme should be extracted it in its own subfolder under this default folder.

With custom mouse pointers and cursors, new mouse cursor schemes are way more entertaining than what Windows 10 has to offer, although you should keep in mind that animated cursors from downloaded cursor schemes can take up to four times more space (approximately 2MB).

How to change the mouse pointer scheme used by Windows 10

If you want to change the mouse pointer scheme and replace the current cursor icons displayed, enter "mouse" in your taskbar's search field. Then, click or tap on Mouse settings.

Access the Mouse settings in Windows 10

In the Related settings section, click or tap on "Additional mouse options."

Press on Additional mouse options

The Mouse Properties window opens. Click or tap the Pointers tab, and you should see some familiar shapes in Windows Default scheme's list of cursors.

The Mouse Properties window

In the Scheme section, press the arrow to reveal a drop-down menu with all the pre-installed pointer schemes.

There are twelve system schemes in total. To see a preview of a scheme, select it from the menu, and you can see all its icons by scrolling in the Customize section.

Open the drop-down menu by pressing the arrow

You can also choose to "Enable pointer shadow" by checking the corresponding box under the Customize section.

Enable a shadow under your cursor

Once you have found a scheme that you want to use, press on either Apply or OK.

How to create your own pointer scheme in Windows 10

If you can't find a scheme to your liking, you can mix and match the existing icons to create your own. First, go to the Pointers tab of the Mouse Properties window by following the instructions in the previous section of this tutorial. Then, in the Customize list, click or tap the entry you want to replace and press Browse.

Select an icon and press Browse to replace it

This opens the "C:\Windows\Cursors" folder, which stores all the available icons. Scroll through the thumbnails until you find what you're looking for. Some thumbnails look similar, but clicking or tapping on them allows you to get a better look with the help of the Preview section in the lower-left corner. When you are happy with your choice, click or tap Open.

Find the cursor you want to use and press Open

You can start from a scheme that is close to what you want to use and just replace whatever icons you don't like. If you change your mind, click or tap the Use Default button, followed by either OK or Apply, and the scheme resets to its original set of cursors, discarding all the changes you made.

Press Use Default to reset the scheme

Choosing even one custom mouse cursor to replace the default one from a scheme causes Windows to treat your changes as an entirely new scheme. To save this scheme for future use, click or tap the Save As button in the Scheme section, give your scheme a name, and then press OK.

Name your custom scheme

TIP: Any custom scheme you create can be deleted by selecting it and pressing the Delete button from the Scheme section. System schemes can not be deleted.

How to change the pointer size and color in Windows 10

After choosing the perfect pointer icons, you might want to adjust their size and color. In the Cursor & pointer tab of the "Ease of Access" settings, Windows 10 offers both a vast array of colors and plenty of sizes to choose from.

Change pointer size and color for better visibility

To learn how to modify the size and color for your pointer, read: How to change the mouse pointer size and color in Windows 10.

How to change the thickness of the cursor used when typing in Windows 10

There is only one more cursor left to customize, and it gets a lot of attention, especially if you spend time writing on your Windows 10 computer or device: the blinking cursor used when typing. If you spend a substantial amount of time in the company of letters or numbers, as we do, you might appreciate the option to make this cursor more visible, by adjusting its thickness.

Open the Settings app by pressing the Windows + I keys on your keyboard. In Windows Settings, click or tap "Ease of Access."

Access Ease of Access from Windows Settings

From the tabs on the left, choose Cursor & pointer. There is only one option in the aptly named "Make the cursor easier to see when typing" section: "Change cursor thickness." Move the slider and watch the preview box to its left to make your decision.

Move the slider to adjust the cursor's thickness

NOTE: Windows 10 also offers other customization options when it comes to your mouse. Here is how to configure basic mouse settings, or use it to open files with a single click.

What does your mouse pointer look like?

The mouse pointer is one of the things you always see when you're using your Windows 10 computer or device, so you shouldn't neglect it. Customizing it according to your preferences can make you more productive, while offering you an enjoyable user experience. Before closing this tutorial, tell us which mouse pointers are you using and why did you decide to change them?