Question about cursor size in Debian and derivatives

Tim Chase blinux.list at
Sat May 26 13:18:03 UTC 2007

> I am aging and my vision is fading. I am now having issues
> with being able to locate the cursor when editing because it
> is so thin. I found the setting to switch to a larger mouse
> pointer in Mepis, but I have not been able to locate a setting
> for the cursor width. Is there such a beast? And if so, might
> someone explain how I might find it?

I suspect there's not a "setting" per-se as it would be part of
the cursor theme.  Fortunately, if you're somewhat artistically
inclined (or have a youth around that feels artistic), it's not
terribly difficult to create your own cursors/theme.

I believe that Xorg comes with a utility called "xcursorgen"
which simply takes a simple input file (the dimensions of your
cursor, where the hotspot should be, and a PNG file-name), and
create a cursor file from it.  It even does animated cursors if
you put more than one line in your input file.

  man xcursorgen

If you snag this example and dump it in a temp folder somewhere:


and unpack it

  tar xvfz neutral.tar.gz

you can poke in the source directory.  I think you're looking for
the cursor named "xterm".

There's a shell script ("") which builds all the cursors
from the *.in + *.png files.

The format of the *.in files is pretty easy.  The first number is
the dimension of the cursor.  Cursor files need to be square, so
one number does the trick.  Common dimensions include 16x16,
32x32, 48x48, and 64x64.

The second pair of numbers is the hotspot, or where in your image
the the "click" happens.  For an i-beam cursor for text, it's
likely in the middle of the i-beam.  For an arrow, this is the
tip of the arrow.  Figuring this out is merely tedious.  Having a
"fat-bits" zoom in your image editor (Gimp or whatever) helps in
counting off pixels.

Next, in the *.in file, comes the name of the PNG file to use as
the image.  You can use your favorite PNG-editing software (or
even non-PNG editing software, and then use ImageMagick to
convert it to PNG) to create a cursor of your given dimensions
(such as 32x32 or 48x48) that has what you want (thicker stem to
the i-beam; or perhaps more visual indicator at the top and
bottom such as a triangle/inverted-triangle).

After the PNG file-name, optionally comes the delay, if you're
making an animated cursor.  If you're making it animated, you can
have one line in your *.in file for each frame of the animation.

The resulting output cursor files can be dumped into a folder
named after your theme (such as "marbux-big/") and you should be
able to load this as a theme.  How to that may vary based on your
desktop environment.  You might have to create an "index.theme"
file, such as the one in the above example file.

Hope this helps you create your perfect cursor set...


PS:  Are you the same marbux as on Groklaw?  If so, many thanks
for all your contributions and insights!

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