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How to change the mouse cursor on Ubuntu Linux

Are you tired of the default cursor on your Ubuntu Linux desktop? Want to change it? Follow this guide to learn how to change the cursor theme on Ubuntu Linux!

Where to get cursor themes for Ubuntu?

If you wish to change the cursor theme on Ubuntu, you must first download and install a theme. So where do you get cursor themes from? Pling.com. Pling is a website where artists and creators can upload Linux theme files.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to get your hands on a cursor theme for Ubuntu.

Step 1: Head over to pling.com in your favorite web browser. Once there, find the sidebar and click on the “Linux/Unix Desktops” option.

Step 2: After selecting the “Linux/Unix Desktops” menu option, you’ll see a new sidebar. Look for the “Cursors” option in the sidebar and click on it with the mouse.

Step 3: Once you’ve selected the “Cursors” option, you’ll be presented with cursor themes for your Ubuntu Linux desktop. To view the most popular, select the “Rating” tab. Otherwise, browse for your favorite.

Step 4: When you’ve found a cursor theme on Pling.com, click on it to go to the cursor theme’s Pling.com page. Then, select the “Files” tab, and download the theme to your computer.

Installing a cursor theme on Ubuntu

Installing a cursor theme on Ubuntu isn’t difficult for new users. To start, you must open up a terminal window on the Ubuntu desktop. You can open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard or by searching for “terminal” in the app menu and launching it that way.

With the terminal window open, use the cd command and move into the “Downloads” folder where you’ve downloaded your theme file.

cd ~/Downloads/

Once in the downloads folder, run the ls command and view the contents of your “Downloads” directory.

ls

In the printout that ls shows in the terminal, look for your theme and highlight the filename with the mouse.  For example, if you downloaded “oreo_white_cursors.tar.gz,” highlight it with the mouse.

After highlighting the theme filename, right-click on it with the mouse and select the “copy” button to copy your filename to the clipboard.

With the theme filename in your clipboard, it is time to extract the files. You’ll need to type the following command to extract the theme files.

For TarGZ/TarXZ files

Type tar xvf, then right-click in the terminal and click “Paste” to paste your theme’s filename.

tar xvf my-cursor-theme.tar.gz

For ZIP files

Type unzip, then right-click in the terminal and click “Paste” to paste your theme’s filename.

unzip my-cursor-theme.zip

After extracting your theme files, rerun the ls command to view the “Downloads” folder.

ls

Inside the “Downloads” folder, look for the extracted theme folder and highlight it with the mouse. In this example, the extracted theme folder is named “oreo_white_cursors” yours will differ.

Once the theme folder is highlighted, select “Copy” to add it to your clipboard. Then, write the mv command to install the cursor theme to your Ubuntu system. In this example, the cursor theme folder is “oreo_white_cursors” yours will differ, so be sure to change it.

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/icons/
mv oreo_white_cursors/ ~/.local/share/icons/

How to change the mouse cursor theme on Ubuntu Linux

There are many ways to activate your new cursor theme on Ubuntu. However, the best (and easiest) way is to use the Gnome Tweaks application. However, you must install this program first.

Installing Gnome Tweaks

Open up a terminal window to install the Gnome Tweaks app on your Ubuntu system. You can open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard. Or, search for “terminal” in the app menu and launch it that way.

With the terminal window open, use the apt install command to install the Gnome Tweaks app on Ubuntu.

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

Change the cursor

With the Gnome Tweaks application installed on your Ubuntu Linux system, press the Win key on the keyboard. Then, type in “Tweaks.” Next, select the app in the Ubuntu search results that says “Tweaks”.

With the Tweaks app open, follow the step-by-step instructions below to change your cursor on Ubuntu.

Step 1: Find the “Appearance” button in the left-hand sidebar in Tweaks. When you’ve located it, click on it with the mouse.

Step 2: In the “Appearance” area, find the “Themes” section. In this section, locate the “Cursor” section. “Cursor” is where you can change your cursor theme on Ubuntu.

Step 3: Click on the “Cursor” drop-down menu and select your newly installed cursor theme to change the cursor on Ubuntu.

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