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Technology Q&A

Help Me Find My “Lost” Cursor

 

By Stanley Zarowin
November 2008


Sometimes I lose my cursor. It happens mostly when I’m in an Excel worksheet that’s crammed with numbers. But it can even happen in a long Word document. I have to wriggle my mouse around until I finally locate it. Is there some way to make it easier to find—maybe putting a flag on it?

 There are several things you can do to make your pointer stand out more effectively, and, yes, a flag is one of them. In Windows XP, go to Control Panel (by clicking on Start) and open Mouse, Pointer Options (see screenshot below).

Under the Visibility heading, place a check next to Show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key. When you engage that function, you’ll see an animated shrinking bull’s-eye aimed at the cursor; it can’t be missed.

There are other things you can do, too, to make the cursor more visible. When you engage the Visibility function, for example, a following trail of animated cursors will appear as you move the mouse. I personally find this too distracting, but try it out; you may find it useful.

While you’re in that screen, also notice a function called Hide pointer while typing. Although it won’t help you find the cursor quickly, it will clean the appearance of your screen when typing.

You also can change your cursor to a shape, design or color that attracts your eye more effectively. To do that, go back to the top of the screen and click on the Pointers tab. Then at the bottom, on the left, click on Enable pointer shadow. It produces a subtle shadow on the right side of the arrow, which makes the pointer stand out more distinctly.

Finally, when you click on Browse, at the bottom of the screen, you’re offered a cornucopia of pointer choices. When you click on the first choice—my favorite—a bronze pointer (3dgarro) will be displayed in the Preview box at the bottom of the screen (see screenshot at below).

Scan the selection for the one that stands out best for you. Consider these: a bold black pointer and a variety of cartoon hands; some are animated and either point up or reach out.

In Vista, the steps and functions are essentially the same. To access Control Panel functions, quickly go to the desktop and right-click to open Personalize (see screenshot below).

 

 

 

 

 

From there, click on Mouse Pointers, and you’ll see the same screen and function choices.

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