The mouse cursor is one of those icons that are always there and are almost never noticed, and yet they shape the user experience as much as any other point of design on the screen. If you’re one of the creative tech types, you likely already tweak and customize everything your computer will allow you to modify. The mouse cursor should be no exception. Why stick with the factory-default mouse cursor (or indeed any set of icons) your operating system came with?
For some great alternatives, here is a list of some cool cursor icons you can download as customizable PSD and vector files.
As with all other points of computer and web design: functionality is key. Think of your desktop as the landing page of your computer. It either welcomes you or hits you in the face. Your little white mouse cursor is your ever-present agent, and your desktop icons set the tone for user experience.
If you are trying to code in your own pointers, note that mouse cursors will have to cover some form of these basic configurations:
Depending on the color of your icon, you can even have it change according to the background it hovers over (white on black, black on white). There is a growing popularity for animated icons as well.
The icons provided here are in the standard “flat” design that allows the cursor to operate smoothly and in a non-obstructive way.
Keep in mind when selecting or customizing your own mouse cursors that it is an icon, and all good icons should follow certain guidelines to stay functional.
Keep it simple. Don’t overload your mouse icon with graphic details—that is going beyond serving its practical purpose.
Download. Point and click to download your chosen icon set. PSD, EPS, and vector files are the most customizable, and the JPEG files are ready to use off the bat. You can get them for free or at a small fee as offered.
Tweak. This is optional, but it’s always good to have options. Open your file in a digital imaging software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. You can change the color if you wish, and vector files are easily scalable. Try not to go overboard.
Apply. Depending on your operating system, there are different procedures to changing your computer icons. This will almost always involve going to the account settings.
The process in Microsoft Windows OS will generally follow one of these flows:
Note: If you’re using a Mac, it’ll be a little more difficult, since Apple software only allows you to change cursor size in system preferences. However, there are workaround hacks and tutorials if you know where to find them.