12.04 - How to hide the mouse cursor

  • MvG

    I'm building a kiosk using Ubuntu Precise on a touch screen. Now I'm looking for the appropriate way to make the mouse cursor disappear. As people know where they are pointing, displaying an arrow under their finger is useless, and having an arrow where they last pointed even more so.

    My best bet would be some kind of cursor theme consisting only of transparent cursors. I'm a bit surprised to find no UI to switch and maybe install cursor themes in the default Unity UI, but as I won't be using Unity, that's not much of a problem. It appears that the alternatives listed in update-alternatives --list x-cursor-theme all refer to .theme files, so I searched the package list for those. The resulting list does not list any likely candidates, i.e. no packages containing “invisible” or “transparent” in their name.

    So far, some googled result yielding a readme for “XCursor Transparent Theme” is my best bet. That would mean compiling those sources myself, perhaps putting them into my PPA. I'm also a bit sceptical about that result as said readme is dated from 2003. And I'm not sure that I'm not making things overly complicated. After all, there is quite some support in Precise for touch devices, so I don't believe I'm the first one who wants to get rid of his mouse cursor.

    • Is there another way which doesn't involve user-compiled binary code?
    • Is there a theme package for transparent cursors which I've overlooked?
    • Is there some other mechanism to make the cursor disappear without changing the cursor theme?

    I'll be using Matchbox WM, Firefox and Java applets, so I'll be happy with any solution working under such a setup. I'm not interested in any solutions twiddling with Gnome or Compiz, as I'll not be running either.

  • Answers
  • josinalvo

    Try 'unclutter'

    the purpose of this program is to hide the pointer after the mouse has not moved for a while. Using it, you can make the pointer appear only when the user touches the screen, and disappear right after it. (maybe this was not exactly what you were aiming for. But it is much easier than your alternative =P)

    To use, install it

    sudo apt-get install unclutter

    then run it

    unclutter -idle 0.01 -root

    the number is a number of seconds before the pointer disappears (in this case, 1/100 seconds)

  • Related Question

    How to change mouse cursor and theme?
  • Jacob

    How can I change X11 cursor and theme in the newest Ubuntu? I can't find it. Please help.

  • Related Answers
  • minerz029

    In order to get your custom cursor to work with all applications do:

    1. Download a cursor theme.
    2. Open Gnome Tweak Tool and change the cursor theme.
    3. Open a Terminal.
    4. Run this command:

      sudo update-alternatives --config x-cursor-theme
    5. Select the number corresponding to your choice
    6. Log out.
    7. Log back in.

    You can see a video tutorial on YouTube.

  • Eliah Kagan

    The easiest way to do that is to use the gnome-tweak-tool Install gnome-tweak-tool. It is in the Software Center. But due to some dependencies it will install gnome-shell in addition.

    When you've installed gnome-tweak-tool, seek for this via dash as "Advanced Settings" With this you can change to your desired themes and perhaps x11-cursor. But for me the alternative x11-cursor themes are working only for applications like LibreOffice or Firefox.

    In addition in System Settings you can find the entry "Appearance" where you can choose the official Ambiance and Radiance theme and HighContrast and HighContrastInverse and if installed Adwaita. This is only a little theme changer. The way more powerful gnome-tweak-tool lets you select all the other gtk3-themes, icons, fonts, cursors, gnome-shell-themes and extensions and the behavior of nautilus handling the desktop.

  • Nevercom

    Maybe its too late for reply, but i faced a problem using this in 12.04. If you download a Cursor theme and extract it to /usr/share/icons/, make sure change its permission to 755:

    chmod -R 755 cursors/

    and change the Cursor theme in /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme to your theme.

    then apply instruction described by suli8

  • Eliah Kagan

    (I think when I read it first I thought you meant in and X11 desktop, like Lubuntu. Sorry if it doesn't help. I don't see how to delete.)

    There is 2 ways I have found to do this in Lubuntu. Find a desired curser theme, and hopefully it will give you the terminal command, like sudo apt-get install oxygen-cursor-theme oxygen-cursor-theme-extra. Then go to the menu, to Preferences > Customize Look and Feel and it will be installed. Then you select and apply and you have it.

    The other is go to Gnome Look or a site similar and they have a X11 Mouse Cursor section. Just find one you like, download the tar.bz2 file. The go back to where you select your cursor and click install, navigate to where you downloaded it to and then install it. For me, I don't know if it is a bug, the way it is designed or if I'm doing something thing wrong but the program closes after I install it. I just re-open it and select the newly installed cursor and it will be.

  • Kris Harper

    gnome-tweak-tool can help with this.

  • minerz029

    It is quite easy to change the cursor in Unity.

    1. Open a Terminal.
    2. Type in these commands:

      sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
      sudo apt-get install oxygen-cursor-theme
      sudo apt-get install oxygen-cursor-theme-extra
    3. Select a new cursor theme from the Tweak Tool.

    4. Run this command:

      sudo update-alternatives --config x-cursor-theme
    5. Press Alt+F2, type this then press Enter:

      compiz --replace

    (Alternatively reboot if compiz --replace doesn't work)

  • Eric Carvalho

    What I did:

    1. Installed cursor theme to /usr/share/icons
    2. Edited /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme and set Inherits=MyThemeName
    3. Used Unity Tweak Tool to set a new cursor theme
    4. Rebooted, don't know why :)

    Works for me.

  • JohnMerlino

    After struggling for 2 years to get themes to work across all windows and applications on 12.04, the following is what I had to do:

    • Download theme from internet
    • Extract it into /usr/share/icons
    • Then I changed the permissions of the theme:

      chmod 777 ComixCursors-White-Small

      // or

      chmod uqo+wrx ComixCursors-White-Small

    • Download Gnome Tweak Tool from Software Center

    • Launch it, go to theme and select your theme e.g. ComixCursors-White-Small
    • then as sudo user open the index.theme file:

      sudo vim /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme

    • Then change the contents accordingly:

      [Icon Theme]


    • Then reboot the system:

      sudo reboot

    And once system reboots, the theme will take effect.