In a previous article on Windows 10 accessibility settings, I alluded to downloading large mouse pointers for Windows 10. This article will expand on that topic.
Why Not Use a Screen Magnifier?
Use of a screen magnification program such as Magic, iZoom, or ZoomText (among other options) can be a very sensitive subject for many individuals with low vision. Even encouraging them to use these products for the enlarged cursor alone and not magnifying the screen at all is a huge struggle. Downloading and installing a large cursor of their choice (and trust me, there are plenty to choose from) often aids the student in making the choice to use a more visible cursor rather than leaning over the computer monitor and craning their necks to try and find a “lost pointer”.
Another reason to not use these screen magnification programs is that they are not inexpensive Spending hundreds of dollars on a software program is overkill when you can either download free cursors or pay a one time nominal price for what your student wants or needs.
So What are my Options for Downloading Cursors?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that Windows can directly support both static (.cur) cursors and animated (.ani) cursors. Your student may want an animated cursor so it is easier to locate on the screen or he/she may want one that is a bit less flashy but contrasts well with their screen.
- There are many freeware cursors out there HOWEVER be careful that you are downloading them from a reputable site (I will provide some examples later on).
- There are also some sites and companies that provide cursor downloads or packages for a fee.
- Feeling adventurous? There are even ways to make your own cursors. By the way, this is another great option to help your students become invested in using the cursor they create.
Freeware is great...because free is amazing! But as with everything in life, there’s often a hidden price. So be careful that any freeware you download comes from a reputable site. I’ve done my best to ensure that the resources below are safe to download from.
Real World Graphics - RW Graphics has a pretty extensive library of cursors. It is even searchable, so you can narrow results by using search terms such as “large cursor” or “big pointer”. Even then you may end up with the occasional Big Brother themed cursor pack or Darth Vader pointer in your search results. So you do need to really sort through them and pick cursors that are appropriate for your student’s low vision needs. RW Graphics has a help section on installing cursors from their site.
The third site, Athena, has one .zip file of large cursors. It can be downloaded here, just look for the link to the .zip file about halfway down the page. This is a very simple pack if you are just looking for a basic larger cursor.
Lastly, Ace Centre out of the UK has one large file of enlarged pointers. The one difference is that this file must be downloaded as .exe file and installed. But once it is, it is immediately in your WIndows cursor library.
There are a couple of places that cursors can be downloaded for a fee.
RJ Cooper has a set of Biggy Cursors that can be easily downloaded. Not sure if they will work for your or your students? There is a 14 day free trial period for you to test them out. The larger pack is $59 while a smaller package sells for $39.
22 Point has quite a large selection of colored cursors in a variety of styles. It’s a great site to find cursors because there are so many to chose from and the prices are certainly reasonable.
Make Your Own Cursor!
If you are super-techie (and super adventurous) you can make your own cursor. Here is one resource that allows you to make your own mouse pointers such as cursor.cc. And as always, there are numerous other resources, so feel free to perform your own YouTube or Google search.
As a low vision user, I found that it was very hard to make a customized cursor...lots of eye strain and the end product was less than aesthetically pleasing. I’m not saying you shouldn't’ give it a shot, just that it seems to be very detailed work and might not be a good solution for everyone.
I’ve Downloaded What I Want, Now What?
If you are using Windows 8, My Windows Hub has a nice how-to article.
Windows Techies works for either Windows 7 or Windows 8
Finally, if you are still running Windows 7, this article from Into Windows can help
Obviously, if you run a Google or YouTube search, you can find a guide that fits your needs as well.
Beware the Evil Network Restrictions!
Network restrictions are what I’d call a “necessary evil”. After all, administrators have to protect school and workplace systems from being compromised by viruses. As we all know, there are tons of phishing schemes and clickbait lures all over the internet and all it takes is one person to “click here” and the entire system can be infected by a virus, data destroyed, or personal information accessed by some very shifty characters.
That being said, if you are not a network administrator of the PC you want to download enlarged pointers on to, please contact a network administrator to ensure that workplace procedures are being followed.