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Making the pointer more visible

Windows 98 & ME

Follow this link for a more recent tutorial applying to Windows XP.

People often ask me if they can get the pointer or cursor any bigger. It can be rather tricky to keep track of the tiny white arrow, especially if you have a visual impairment. Here's how to make the mouse pointer bigger, choose a colour scheme that's easier to see and enable mouse trails.

Start Menu

Open up the Windows Control Panel by going to Start and selecting Control Panel from the menu.

If there is no Control Panel in your Start Menu then your school's technician or network administrator has stopped you from being able to access it!

Control Panel

Within the Control Panel, locate the 'Mouse' icon and double-click it to open the Mouse options.

If you struggle with double-clicking then you can click on it once to highlight it, and then press the enter key to open it.

Pointer Options

Click on the Pointers tab at the top of the dialog window.

This will show you your current 'scheme'. You may have noticed, in general Windows use, that as you move your mouse around the screen, the pointer changes from a little arrow to all sorts of different arrows, hourglasses and wotnot. Put all these together and you have a 'mouse scheme'. Windows comes with several schemes.

White arrowRed arrowbig greenYellow arrow

I use a large (32x32) bright green cursor that's easy to find. It has a white border around the outside so even on green objects it remains very clear.

You can download my free cursors from my downloads page.

bn

You can download more cursor schemes from the Internet. A good place to start is http://download.cnet.com. Click on 'Home & Desktop' and then 'Cursors'.

WARNING: Be vigilant when downloading cursors from sources you don't trust. Some cursor schemes can contain hidden and potentially malicious spyware. A classic example is the CometCursor but there are many websites that provide free cursors that have this hidden dark side. Wooo...

Browse for Pointers

If you want to use your own custom cursors such as these, you will need to:

  1. Click on the pointer type (e.g. Normal)
  2. Click on the Browse button.
  3. Locate the cursor that you're after (in the senit.org folder) and click Open.

Repeat the above for the other cursor states in the list. Notice that the cursors I have provided do not cover all cursor states.

Don't forget that you can save your scheme by pressing the Save As button.

Pointer Speed and Mouse Trails

Mouse trails can also increase the visibility of the mouse pointer.

Click on the Motion tab and select the 'Show Pointer Trails' box.

You can adjust the length of the trails by dragging the slider from short to long. If you find sliders difficult to use then simply single-click the slider to 'highlight' it and then use your keyboard's arrow keys to move it left or right.

If the pointer is still difficult to see then you may need to consider some specialist software such as Biggy External Link or (for a more thorough Windows-wide magnification) Zoomtext External Link.

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