30.19 Pointer Shape

You can specify the mouse pointer style for particular text or images using the pointer text property, and for images with the :pointer and :map image properties. The values you can use in these properties are in the table below. The actual shapes may vary between systems; the descriptions are examples.


The usual mouse pointer style used over text (an “I”-like shape).


An arrow that points north-west.


A hand that points upwards.


A right-left arrow.


An up-down arrow.


A rotating ring.

Over void parts of the window (parts that do not correspond to any of the buffer contents), the mouse pointer usually uses the arrow style, but you can specify a different style (one of those above) by setting void-text-area-pointer.

User Option: void-text-area-pointer

This variable specifies the mouse pointer style for void text areas. These include the areas after the end of a line or below the last line in the buffer. The default is to use the arrow (non-text) pointer style.

When using some window systems, you can specify what the text pointer style really looks like by setting the variable x-pointer-shape.

Variable: x-pointer-shape

This variable specifies the pointer shape to use ordinarily in the Emacs frame, for the text pointer style.

Variable: x-sensitive-text-pointer-shape

This variable specifies the pointer shape to use when the mouse is over mouse-sensitive text.

These variables affect newly created frames. They do not normally affect existing frames; however, if you set the mouse color of a frame, that also installs the current value of those two variables. See Font and Color Parameters.

The values you can use, to specify either of these pointer shapes, are defined in the file lisp/term/x-win.el. Use M-x apropos RET x-pointer RET to see a list of them.