How to keep track of your mouse pointer with the PowerToys Mouse utilities





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I don’t know if it’s a sign of failing eyesight (or old age, but don’t tell anyone), but I often lose track of the mouse pointer when I’m using my computer. Sometimes it likes to hide at the edges of my monitor. Other times it appears to vanish into thin air. If you ever run into the same dilemma, there’s a helpful program that can come to your aid.

Part of Microsoft’s free PowerToys, a program simply named Mouse utilities, offers three separate tools to help you track down your mouse pointer when it goes missing. One tool will shine a spotlight on the mouse pointer if you shake your mouse or press the Ctrl key a couple of items. Another tool highlights every mouse click you make. And the third tool draws crosshairs on the pointer so you can easily see it. You can also tweak each tool, so they assist you without getting in your way. Here’s how this works.

If you don’t already have PowerToys, download and install the PowerToysSetup.exe file from the program’s GitHub page. PowerToys and its various programs generally work the same in both Windows 10 and 11. Open the PowerToys Settings window by double-clicking its System Tray icon. Select the entry for Mouse utilities.

Find My Mouse

To try the utility for Find My Mouse, turn on its switch. Choose how you want to activate Find My Mouse mode. Click the dropdown menu for Activation Method. Keeping the default of Press Left Control Twice means this is activated by double pressing the Left Ctrl key on your keyboard. Changing to the option of Shake Mouse means it’s activated if you just shake the mouse. If you opt for Shake Mouse, you can then adjust the sensitivity by entering a specific number in the field for Shake minimum distance (Figure 1).

Enable Find My Mouse

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If you don’t want this mode to get triggered when you’re playing a game, check the box for Do not activate when Game Mode is on.

Next, click the menu for Appearance & behavior. By default, Find My Mouse mode highlights your mouse pointer with a white spotlight while the rest of the screen goes darker or dimmer. Overlay opacity determines the opacity of the screen that surrounds the spotlight. Background color sets the color of the screen. With Spotlight color, you can change the spotlight from white to a different color. Spotlight radius modifies the size of the spotlight. Spotlight initial zoom sets the zoom level for the spotlight. Animation duration controls the time before the spotlight itself pops up (Figure 2).

Adjust Find My Mouse appearance and behavior

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Click the menu for Exclude apps. Here, you can add any applications for which you don’t want the spotlight to appear. To add an app, type the name of its executable file in the window (Figure 3).

Exclude applications

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To see Find My Mouse in action, double press the Ctrl key or shake your mouse. The spotlight will zero in on your mouse pointer so you can easily see it (Figure 4).

Use Find My Mouse

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Mouse Highlighter

Next in the lineup is Mouse Highlighter, which displays a small, highlighted circle anywhere you left-click or right-click your mouse. To enable this, turn on the switch for Mouse Highlighter. By default, you press Windows Key + Shift + H to turn on the highlighter. To set up a different key combination, click the entry for Activation shortcut and press the shortcut keys you wish to use. Click Save (Figure 5).

Enable Mouse Highlighter

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Click the setting for Appearance & behavior. Here, you can change the left-click and right-click colors, adjust the opacity, modify the radius of the highlight, and change the fade delay and duration (Figure 6).

Adjust Mouse Highlighter Appearance and behavior

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To try the highlighter, press the associated hotkey combination. Click the left mouse button and then the right button. You should see the small highlight circle appear for both types of clicks. Press the hotkey combination again to turn off the highlighter (Figure 7).

Use Mouse Highlighter

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Mouse Pointer Crosshairs

And rounding up the list is Mouse Pointer Crosshairs, which draws crosshairs lines to pinpoint the mouse cursor. Turn on the switch for Mouse Pointer Crosshairs. Click the entry for Activation shortcut if you want to change the hotkey combination to enable this option (Figure 8).

Enable Mouse Pointer Crosshairs

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Open the menu for Appearance & behavior. You can now change the color of the crosshairs, adjust the opacity, increase or decrease the radius and thickness, and modify the border color and size (Figure 9).

Adjust Mouse Pointer Crosshairs

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To see this one in action, press the defined hotkey combination. The crosshairs lines appear on the screen with your mouse pointer in the center. Press the hotkey combination to turn off the crosshairs (Figure 10).

Use Mouse Pointer Crosshairs

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