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


10 Answers 10


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.

  • 1
    The part 4 is really important! Because the icon theme will change between applications Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 7:45
  • 1
    Yep, step 4 is needed, or else you'll only see the cursor theme used in certain places, such as Firefox. A big +1 from me because this was also driving me nuts in 12.04. Note that this will change the cursor for every user and on the login screen, however. Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 5:20
  • You can use unity tweak tool instead of gnome tweak tool.
    – Akronix
    Commented Dec 6, 2014 at 16:49
  • 2
    Trying this, I only still see it in firefox. I even tried a full restart and compiz --replace
    – Jonathan
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 19:22
  • I get the same result, the cursor is only changed inside the firefox, not the whole system. When I go to the desktop or navigate to the menu items, it still shows the old(default) cursor.
    – ollydbg23
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 3:26

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

  • 1
    You, Sir, have found the missing point! I've literally tried every dirty trick in the book to get my favorite cursor theme working (been using it since 11.10). Never had to struggle this much, but your solution did the trick. Thank you!
    – FuzzyQ
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 10:29
  • Still works with Lightdm on 20.04.
    – mchid
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 1:20

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)

  • 1
    I'm not sure if I'd call that quite easy, involving buttons like alt-f2 and multiple steps. But, I also have the issue many are having where the cursor only shows correctyl in firefox.
    – Jonathan
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 19:32
  • sudo update-alternatives --config x-cursor-theme update-alternatives: error: cannot stat file '/etc/alternatives/x-cursor-theme': Too many levels of symbolic links Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 21:50

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.


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.

  • This one is the only solution that works with my Wine software.
    – Robin
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 4:17

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.

  • This works OK in my system: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, so if you need to change the cursor for all the windows and applications, you have to edit the index.theme file manually. Great!
    – ollydbg23
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 3:50
  • This worked AWESOME in my desktop env: XFCE4 with UBUNTU 20.0, changing index.theme with chmod 777 YourCursorLocation is the best idea. Thanks man!!! Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 3:02
  • Also ensure you use icons that will loads, e.g.: gnome-look.org/p/1701595 Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 3:46

(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.


gnome-tweak-tool can help with this.

  • Hm… How? There are other, more detailed answers mentioning gnome-tweak-tool.
    – Melebius
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 12:32

After change cursor.theme file of your theme (I use the theme OpenZone_Black)

[Icon Theme] Inherits=OpenZone_Black    

Sometimes you need install you theme so that you can choose it in alternative x-cursor-theme:

  1. record your theme

  2. add to alternative x-cursor-theme:

    sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme x-cursor-theme /usr/share/icons/$CURSOR/cursor.theme 20

Then change theme use the following command:

 sudo update-alternatives --config x-cursor-theme

The easiest, quickest, and cleanest way to change the cursor to black theme is like this, I think:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface cursor-theme 'DMZ-Black'

sudo update-alternatives --set x-cursor-theme /usr/share/icons/DMZ-Black/cursor.theme

You can list your available themes with update-alternatives --list x-cursor-theme and replace in the above as you see fit.

On a side note: The comic cursor theme exists as a package, e.g. apt install comixcursors-righthanded.

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