2/10/219:00 am Mac Basics: The Pointer and Cursor The cursor or pointer is a primary tool you use on your Mac to get things done. The pointer changes to show you what action is being performed. The cursor is used to show where you are acting inside of text. Check out Mac Basics: The Pointer and Cursor at YouTube for closed captioning and more options. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let's take a look at the Pointer and Cursor on your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 800 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. The Pointer on your Mac is this little arrow that moves around on the screen when you use your mouse or trackpad. Very few people refer to this as the Pointer. Most people refer to it as the Cursor. But I'm going to show you in a minute that the cursor is actually something a little different. But it's perfectly okay to refer to this as either the Pointer or the Cursor. Some people refer to it as the Mouse. The mouse is actually the physical device. The thing that you see on the screen is either the Pointer or the Cursor. So whether you call it the Pointer or the Cursor it's this little arrow you see moving around here as I move my finger on my trackpad. Use it to point to things to take an action on your screen. For instance if I wanted to open this file I would just move the cursor over it and then I could double click it. A single click will select it. So anytime you want to click something on the screen there are two actions you need to take. One is to move the cursor over the item and the other one is to then click. You could also drag. Which is to move the cursor over an item, click and then drag around and then release. You can also click in a blank area in a lot of apps like in the Finder here and then drag a rectangle to make a selection of multiple items. Now the cursor will change to look different in different situations. For instance let's say I'm going to move this file into this folder. You could see the cursor stays the same the whole time. But if I hold the Option key down then I'm actually making a copy of the item and you could see the cursor now has a little arrow with a green circle with a plus sign in it indicating that I'm copying, not moving, a file. But you could also see a different cursor if you move it to the edge of a window. If I move to the left edge here notice how it changes to a two-headed arrow, left and right, indicating that I could drag the edge of this window left or right. If I move it to the corner then it's on a diagonal so I can drag up or down. The cursor even changes as you're dragging. The line here between the sidebar and the main part of the Finder window allows me to drag that as well. You could see I get a cursor with a vertical line and left and right arrows. If I wanted to drag an item out of the Finder sidebar here I could click and drag it. Notice if I move it far enough to the right I get a circle with an x in it indicating that I'm about to remove this item from the sidebar. So pay attention to how the cursor looks to get an indication of what sort of action you're about to perform. When you go into a graphics program, like let's open Preview by double clicking and open this file here. You could see the cursor changes to crosshairs. That's to indicate that I can select a portion of an image by clicking and dragging. You could see when I have a selection if I move my cursor over any of the dots the cursor changes to indicate which direction I can move the line or corner. Sometimes you even get a cursor that looks like a little spinning color wheel. This is the WAIT cursor. It's telling you that an action being performed by your Mac or the app that you're using is taking a little time and you can't interact with the app while that's going on. So you'll see that spinning cursor telling you to please wait. Now let's go into an app where I'm writing some text. Here's the Mail app. I'm going to compose a message. Now I've got actually two cursors on the screen. Technically a Pointer and a Cursor. The blinking line is the text cursor. Or just the cursor. You see the cursor is supposed to refer to an indicator on the screen that shows you where you're about to insert text when you type on the keyboard. Whereas the thing that you control with the mouse or trackpad is the Pointer. But you can refer to them both as the cursor or maybe one as the cursor and the other as the Text Cursor. So when I type something the line is showing me exactly where the next character is supposed to go. Now I can move the text cursor by using the regular cursor or pointer. So I could position it where I want. Notice I have a different type of pointer now. I've got this kind of vertical line with a flourish as the top and bottom and a line crossing it in the middle. So, I can click here and I move the text cursor there showing that I can type and insert text at that point. Or if I use the Delete key I'm going to delete to the left from that point. Notice if I were to select some text by clicking and dragging it actually creates this highlighted area showing what I have selected and there is no text cursor. But if I were to type it would simply replace the text that's highlighted or if I hit the Delete key it deletes that text. You can see as soon as I do that, since nothing is selected, I get the blinking text cursor again at that location. In addition to using the Pointer to be able to reposition the text cursor you can also use the Arrow keys. Left and right. Up and down. Now there are some System Preferences that have to do with the cursor. If you go to System Preferences and then Accessibility and then Display there's a whole section for Cursor. There are two settings. One is the cursor size. So you can actually make the cursor larger if you're having trouble seeing it on the screen. You also have the ability to shake the mouse across the desk or move your finger quickly on the trackpad to locate the cursor. So this is what happens when you do that. You can see the cursor grows temporarily. The idea is if you have a lot of things going on on your screen or you have multiple displays sometimes you can lose the cursor and not know where it is. Show you can use this to quickly locate it. It draws your eye to it. Now notice this will not effect the size of the text cursor. The text cursor size reflects the size of the text. Notice the size of the line here. I'm going to Command A to select all and then increase the size of the text. So now when I place the cursor in a spot notice the vertical line is the size of the text there. So it's much taller. Meanwhile the pointer is still the same size but you can adjust that where I just showed you there in System Preferences. I always get asked by people if there is a way to make your cursor standout more, especially if you're making a presentation. You may notice that when I click here you can see that with this little expanding red circle. That's actually done in my video recording software, ScreenFlow. So that's not something I'm seeing on my Mac while I'm recording. It's something that's added during editing and then exported in the video. Now the software you are using to share your screen may actually have some functions that allow you to highlight your cursor or highlight clicks. But if it doesn't you can always go to the App Store, search for Cursor, and there are a whole variety of different apps in the Mac App Store that will change the look of the cursor or allow you to emphasize where you click.Related Subjects: Mac Basics (31 videos) Related Video Tutorials: Mac Basics: Using The Menu Bar ― Mac Basics: How To Use Split View ― Mac Basics: How To Rename Files ― Mac Basics: How To Preview Files Comments: 4 Responses to “Mac Basics: The Pointer and Cursor” Pharfel 2 years ago You last sentence refer to the Mac App Store for cursor options. I couldn't find any free ones and most are for presentations. None have many ratings at all. Can you recommend one? Thanks, and I love your tips! Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Pharfel: Sorry, I don't really use any as I use Screenflow which lets me do that in post production. I've used Mousepose in the past, but I don't think that is in the Mac App Store. Michael 2 years ago Hi Gary, thanks again for all that you do for the industry. My question is that the balloon position coming up under the mouse pointer never made sense to me but I have yet to find a solution for this. Is there a setting I am missing to show the balloon above the pointer? Thanks. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Michael: What do you mean, precisely, by "balloon?" Do you mean the tooltip text that appears under the pointer? Like if you put the pointer over the back button in Safari, you get the text "Show the previous page." It seems to always appear just under the cursor, with the left side directly under. Comments Closed.