How to Install New Cursor Themes in Ubuntu


I meddled with computer for 2 hours and came up with a sure SOLUTION for Installing New Cursor Themes on my Ubuntu.

Non-Compiz Users:
For non-compiz users its easy as downloading a new cursor theme and dragging and dropping it in >System>Preferences>Appearance.

Compiz Users:
I am a Compiz user and it was a great headache for me to find new ways to install a cursor theme in Ubuntu. So here are the fully simplified steps:

1. Download a nice looking cursor theme from or any other preferred website.

2. Extract the tar.gz file in the same folder.

3. Open terminal and become root by executing sudo su. Sudo is because you need root privileges to write something outside your home directory.

4. Now execute this command:
sudo cp -R ~/Desktop/Aqua /usr/share/icons/

~ Stands to be a shortcut to your home direcory. You can use it as it is.

cp is the “Copy” command

-R is the “recursive” option which means “copy the folder and it’s content”.

/Desktop/Aqua being your extracted folder path

/usr/share/icons/ is your destination folder path*DO NOT MODIFY THIS*

5. After copying check in the directory /usr/share/icons if your folder has been successfully copied. After that proceed to Step 6. If not, check to see if you have made any mistake in Step 4.

6. Now you need to edit the /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme file. Press ALT + F2 and enter:

gksu gedit /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme

Here, I suggest you don’t delete the “Inherits=DMZ-White” line, but comment it (add a “#” in front of this line) so you can easily revert the changes later on if you want.

7. And under this line, add an identical line given below (but without commenting it) with the exact name of the mouse cursor theme you got in Step 2.


So basically after editing, your /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme file should look like this (but obviously, replace “Aqua” with the mouse theme folder name you want to use from Step 2.

[Icon Theme]

8. Now either log out and log back in or restart Compiz by pressing Alt + F2 and entering:

compiz –replace

9. Thats it. Now enjoy your new cursor theme. If there was some problem encountered please feel free to comment on the BLOG.
Have fun! 🙂


  • M_L

    Nice tutorial but it’s a little overcomplicated.

    1.Why “sudo cp -R ~/Desktop/Aqua /usr/share/icons/” and so on, when you can simply alt+f2 “gksu nautilus” and paste theme folder to usr/share/icons/? What if I would like to try out 10 themes?:-)

    2.I also wonder if there is even a need to place themes in /usr/share/icons/ (other than make them available for all computer users of course). For a single user it’s more convenient to put cursor and icon themes to /home/”yourname”/.icons/ which allows to easily manage them through Appearance. It really doesn’t matter if you use compiz or not (I do – in Lucid) – if you create index.theme in /home/”yourname”/.icons/default/ it will be working exactly the same way as /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme (even with themes installed in usr/share/icons/). That way You don’t have to use “gksu” every time when you want to change cursor theme.

    • M_L: Thanx for the easy tutorial. 🙂 I did it the hard way, and was wondering if there was any other simpler way. 🙂 🙂

      • M_L

        Don’t mention it:-) Ubuntu team should fix this bug – I’ve met with rather rational opinion that it’s not only cosmetic issue but also huge problem for people who have problems with visual perception because you can’t change size of the cursor.

        • hope they will fix it in the ‘Natty Narwhal’ UBUNTU 11.04. 🙂 lets see how this ubuntu will turn out to be!