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I’m trying to set up a new mouse cursor theme on my Ubuntu 16.04, and everything I look up keeps telling that me it stores the icons in the /usr/share/icons folder, but there's nothing in this folder at all (I do have show hidden files enabled). Am I doing something wrong?

Every tutorial on Ask Ubuntu, and every single help desk site, keeps telling me that the cursor icons are stored there, but they’re not there for some reason. All I want to do is figure out how to install a simple mouse cursor icon that I downloaded.

But how can I follow all the step by step tutorials online, when I can’t even complete step one since I can’t find where the cursors are stored?

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The cursors are indeed installed in the /usr/share/icons folder. User specific cursor themes can be installed in ~/.local/share/icons folder. You might have got confused because of all those icon themes there.

Ubuntu treats icon themes and cursor themes similarly. However, the cursor theme folder includes an index.theme file and cursors folder. This differentiates them from regular icon themes.


Creating a custom cursor theme

Creating a custom cursor theme involves basically these three steps

  1. First Create a directory naming it as the Cursor theme name. For example, Clear.

  2. Create a folder named cursors that folder. You'll put your cursors files in this folder. The cursors should be named following specific naming guide line (Check the linked Ubuntu forum page for the guideline). You can also find the names from the default cursor theme DMZ-White.

  3. Create a file named index.theme in the same level as cursors folder. The content of the file should be like these.

    [Icon Theme]
    Name=Clear
    Comment=Clear Cursor Theme
    

    The Name field's value is cursor theme name. It is cAsE-SenSitiVe. So, make sure this is exactly same as the folder name. The Comment field can contain any line of text.

Tools:

  • You may find xcursorgen helpful. It converts a PNG image to Xcursor format file which can be used as a cursor. It comes with x11-apps package.

Additionally, Check these links for further help

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The top folder isn't user it is usr. This is what shows up in my plain vanilla Ubuntu 16.04:

usr/share/icons

Using Nautilus simply click on Computer on the left pane. Then in the main pane click usr then share then icons.

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