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In Windows, it is possible to set pressing Ctrl to display the current location of the mouse pointer, as per this tutorial.

Is there a way of setting a key or key combination to perform the same action in Ubuntu? Note, this is the opposite of turning this function off, as detailed at How do I turn off "show mouse" when I press Ctrl?.

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6 Answers 6

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GNOME based environments (including default Ubuntu)

Open Terminal and run the following command

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.mouse locate-pointer true

Now if you press ctrl the pointer should be highlighted.

KDE

In KDE, go to System Settings -> Desktop Effects -> Track Mouse. Click on the cog icon beside that, and set ctrl as the modifier key.

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  • 3
    This solution has been a huge pain for me. I turned this feature on early after adopting the Gnome Desktop and didn't realize this was the issue behind my ctlr-* shortcuts being hijacked. For instance, ctrl-c and ctlr-v don't work as expected because this function overrides them. I was able to work around it by for instance holding down ctrl, then highlighting text I wanted to copy and then copying instead of highlighting and then crtl-c. I rely heavily on shortcuts and this was driving me nuts. Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 18:37
  • @RonCollins You can undo this by running gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.mouse locate-pointer false.
    – pomsky
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 21:11
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    Btw, No such key “locate-pointer”
    – Snowcrash
    Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 12:49
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    @Snowcrash For newer Ubuntu releases, see this answer: askubuntu.com/a/1271583/480481
    – pomsky
    Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 13:21
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It is possible to find this option in the GNOME Tweaks. Just go to 'Keyboard & Mouse' -> 'Pointer Location' and turn it on/off.

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  • That workaround is too heavy. Additionally, I would need to see my cursor in first place to navigate there, or just use the keyboard.
    – neverMind9
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 11:34
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    And I bet a bunch it's not in your average Linux distro - e.g. I'm using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and don't see those options.
    – Snowcrash
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 15:20
  • It is there in 18.04 tweaks but it no longer works (it used to work for a few days, until I played with Appearance, since then I am fighting small cursors and fonts and this "Pointer Location" seems to be dead. This all makes Ubuntu 18 a very bad experience for someone who was used to Ubuntu 16...
    – axd
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 11:40
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    @axd I just occasionally find out it works with Ctrl + Fn
    – Serge P
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 21:14
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In 20.04, this is a slightly different location now for gsettings to work with.

In 20.04, this is the org.gnome.desktop.interface locate-pointer object. So:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface locate-pointer true
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In 20.04, for those who wanted a feature more similar to macOS's one, there's now Jiggle which is a Gnome Shell extension that enlarges your cursor when shaking the mouse.

Once installed, the extension can be configured using GNOME Extensions or GNOME Tweaks.

GitHub page

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  • This works. But there's no guide as to how you change settings like Shake time.
    – Snowcrash
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 14:27
  • @Snowcrash, Jiggle's settings can be changed from GNOME Tweaks. I've updated my answer.
    – gion
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 14:10
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For those using Ubuntu 18.04:

Enable it with Gnome Tweak tools or use the command:

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.mouse locate-pointer true

Then use Fn+Ctrl (not just Ctrl).

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  • VERSION="20.04.2 LTS (Focal Fossa)" : No such key “locate-pointer”
    – Snowcrash
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 8:51
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If you prefer a graphical way in Ubuntu 20.04 and later, you can go to Settings → Universal Access → toggle Locate pointer on in the Pointing & Clicking section.

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