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Custom Cursors to Add to Your Website

Take your branding to the next level and add a custom cursor to your company website. Here’s everything you need to know about adding custom cursors to your site.

Adding a custom cursor to your website is a simple way to make your site standout. Most of the time, users don’t even notice the cursor. It’s just a blinking line that shows where the mouse is pointing. But a creative custom cursor can increase engagement by boosting customer interaction.

Adding a custom cursor is a great way to add branding to your website and make it your own. In other words, the right mouse pointer can keep views on your webpage longer. And that means customers are more likely to make a purchase or sign up for your mailing list.

When you start a business, you need a website that will drive customers to interact with your equipment. A customized cursor makes your website more fun to interact with. At the same time, you don’t want a custom cursor to be distracting or annoying. More than two decades ago, Microsoft Office 97 presented the world with a paperclip with the best of intentions. Instead, Clippy quickly became the number one support call generator and, consequently, an industry joke.

Finding the right balance may take a couple of tries, but adding a custom mouse pointer to your website can be a major plus for conversions and customer engagement.

What is a custom cursor?

A custom cursor is an intentional change to the default icon that flashes to show you where your mouse is pointing or where you are ready to type. Instead of a boring flashing line, you can add color, hover animations, or add click effects. On a computer, you can change the default cursor through the settings. For a webpage, you need a little HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Don’t let that intimidate you.

What is the purpose of a custom cursor?

A custom cursor makes your website unique. Custom cursors guide your visitors to interact with the webpage with arrows, help messages, guides, progress bars, and so on. A custom cursor replaces the default cursor used by your visitor’s browser to make the page more interesting and help users understand what will happen if they click on a link or drag an object.

Yes. A custom cursor is safe. However, just because a CSS cursor is safe doesn’t mean that your visitor will know that. It is possible that too much creativity will make a user hesitate.

For example, if you use too much animation or flashing when a visitor moves his mouse it may make him think something is wrong. Remember that the purpose of a custom cursor is to guide and communicate with your user. If web analytics show that customers are closing your website frequently after you add customization, you may want to step back on some of the changes.

Although custom cursors are safe, you have to be very careful about downloading cursors from different sites. In general, it is never safe to download code or files from websites that you don’t know. Before you download a custom cursor from a website offering free downloads, do some research to make sure that page has a solid reputation. Better yet, read on to see how to make a CSS cursor on your own that will suit your needs. It’s only a couple of lines of code that you can do even if you are a complete novice.

How do I customize the cursor on my website?

There are two primary ways to make a custom mouse cursor. You can use CSS or JavaScript. Before you add CSS or JavaScript, you’ll need to navigate to the CSS script that you want to modify. If you are using the MailChimp web page builder, go to the Add and Edit Web Page Sections panel in the MailChimp Web Page Builder.

Don’t be intimidated. It’s a simple change. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to your website dashboard and click Edit Site.
  2. Hover over the page you want to work with and click Edit Page.
  3. In the Mailchimp site builder, click on the Sections panel. The panel will expand to show you the sections on your web page.
  4. Hover over any section in the panel to view that area of the page.
  5. Click on the section where you want to customize your cursor to see style options.
  6. Click on edit to open the section and make your changes to the CSS code.

How to create a custom cursor using CSS

CSS has a property to customize cursors. You can use the cursor property in the body section of CSS to make your mouse pointer more interesting. You’ll need an image in PNG, JPEG, or SVG format. Then use the following snippet of code in the CSS of the section you want to customize to change the pointer to a graphic of your choice:

body { cursor: url(‘YourCursorImage.png'), auto; }

The cursor property lets you specify which of many cursors will appear. The default “auto” should be listed last. This allows the user’s browser to display its default cursor if nothing else works.

Just below is a table of some of your options that are available with CSS. Use the syntax:

cursor: value, auto;

For example, if you want to make the mouse cursor a blue circle showing the user to wait, then use the statement below. Adding “auto” at the end of the statement gives the browser a fallback option just in case it doesn’t know how to interpret that particular value.

cursor: progress, auto;

These are just a few of the hundreds of values you can use with the CSS cursor property. For a more complete list, see the Mozilla developer page.

Customizing color is also a great way to make your CSS cursor interesting, especially if you make the colors match your branding guidelines. You can change the color or size in the CSS script. Just be careful not to make your mouse pointer too large or difficult to see against the background of your webpage.

How to create a custom cursor using JavaScript

You need to change the DOM to customize the cursor in JavaScript. The first step is to create a division in the HTML code:

<div class="cursor pointed"></div>

Once you’ve set the div section, you can use JavaScript statements to make your customized cursor do what you want with a mouse move event. (That's just a fancy way of saying when the user moves the mouse or clicks somewhere on your webpage.) You’ll need CSS to hide the default cursor and to set both the X and Y coordinates. Here’s a sample of the syntax you’ll need.

body{ background-color: #1E1C44; cursor: none; }

.pointed{ width: 12px; height: 12px; background-color: red; border-radius: 25%; }

window.addEventListener('mousemove', moveCursor)

Note: Use the “none” value for the cursor property to hide the default cursor and show yours instead. The event listener will respond whenever a visitor to your website moves the mouse cursor.

Custom cursor for chrome

Chrome is the most popular web browser, so let’s start with Chrome’s custom cursor plugins. There are about a hundred free options, including Minecraft, lightsabers, and cartoons.

If you want, you can even use your own image as a cursor as long as it meets the size guidelines. Optimally, use a 16 by 16 or 32 by 32 pixel graphic. It is possible to use up to a 128 by 128 image, but try the smaller sizes first. For optimal viewing, Chrome recommends an image with a clear background. (If the background isn’t clear, then it will cover some of your website.) The extension is available at Google’s Chrome Web Store for free. After you install the extension, you will need to refresh your web page.

There are some major limitations to the Custom Cursor for Chrome. First, it will not work on most store pages. Second, it is limited to Chrome browsing. So the Chrome extension is not ideal for web designers, but it is a fast and dirty way to see what different mouse pointers will look like on your website.

Which browsers support CSS cursors and custom mouse cursors?

All modern browsers know how to support a customized CSS cursor. If a user is using an older browser, the “auto” at the end of the syntax will let them see the default cursor for that browser.

CSS Cursor Property Compatible Browsers:

  • Apple Safari 1.2 and later
  • Firefox - all versions
  • Google Chrome - all versions
  • Internet Explorer 4.0 and later
  • Opera 7 and later

Making a website stand out with a custom cursor. Customizing the cursor is just one of many ways you can make your web page more interactive and interesting. By making your website friendly and intuitive, you will attract and keep visitors. Don’t be afraid to experiment and let your creativity shine!

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