Mouse pointer

Updated: 12/05/2021 by Computer Hope
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A mouse cursor, also known as a mouse arrow, or mouse pointer, is a graphical image used to activate or control certain elements in a graphical user interface. More plainly, it indicates where your mouse should perform its next action, such as opening a program or dragging a file to another location. The mouse pointer follows the path of the user's hand as they move their mouse. The graphic shows an example of a mouse cursor.


See our mouse page for a full explanation of a mouse, types of mice, and other related information.

Example of a mouse pointer

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In the animated next to this paragraph, you'll see an example of a mouse cursor moving around the screen. By default, it looks like a pointed arrow. When positioned over selectable text, it appears as an I-beam cursor. When hovering over a link, it appears as a pointing hand.

Other examples of mouse pointers not pictured include the two-headed arrow, four-headed arrow, and the hourglass.

Why is it called a mouse pointer?

It's named a mouse pointer because you're using a computer mouse to move around a pointer showing you where it would click.

Cursor, Double-headed arrow, Finger, Mouse, Mouse terms, Operating system terms, Pointer, Pointing device