Monday, September 13, 2010

Fun with mouse pointer themes

One of the things I love most about Linux is that it encourages freedom and creativity, at every level. When looking at that concept from the GUI perspective, it translates, among other things, in that the end user can customize pretty much about anything.

Up until recently, I had not really played around with mouse cursor themes at all. I thought it was like Windows in the old days, where the most you could get was a different color, perhaps a cursor providing a 3D "illusion" Look&Feel to it. I couldn't have been more wrong, really. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I found what Linux cursor themes can do!

I recorded a video with the RecordMyDesktop application (totally recommended) to showcase what these impressive cursor themes can do. The video shows 3 of my favorites, but there are many more available.

If you want to download and install these or other cursor themes available, just follow these simple instructions (specific to KDE in this case, but very similar to what should be done under GNOME):

1.- Go to and browse the X11 mouse theme CATEGORY (Order here by highest rated, descending).

2.- Download whichever theme you like (previews are usually very helpful to get an idea about how each cursor state looks like). Make sure the file you are about to download has ".tar.gz" extension. If the file extension is ".zip", make sure you find a ".tar.gz" inside of it.

3.- Open the KDE Control Center and brose to Hardware > Input Devices > Mouse.

4.- Access the second tab, "Cursor Theme".

5.- Click on the "Install Theme" button, then browse to the location where you saved the theme you downloaded on step 2. Select the file and install it.

6.- Select the new theme from the list and apply changes.

Voila! You have a shiny cool new mouse cursor.

Once again, note that cursor themes work just as well under GNOME and they can easily be downloaded from


Talking specifically about KDE Look&Feel changes, though, I have been trying to add some new controls (buttons, scrollbars, progress bars, etc.) themes, but haven't found a way to do it from the GUI.

Please add a comment with instructions if you know a way to achieve this from the GUI.

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Pretty cursors - and the reason I have been able to bring myself to using KDE. Like a woman with too many trinkets.