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

Do you ever lose your mouse pointer? This free, handy tool can help.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Hand on a mouse
Somnath_DC/Getty Images

I don't know if it's a sign of failing eyesight (or old age), but I often lose track of the mouse pointer when I'm using my computer. Sometimes it hides 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.

Also: How to screen record in Windows 10 or Windows 11

Part of Microsoft's free PowerToys, a program named simply Mouse utilities, offers four 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. The third tool will help you move your mouse pointer long distances across the screen. And the fourth one 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. 

Also: How to turn on live captions in Windows 11

Here's how this all works.

How to find your mouse pointer with the PowerToys Mouse utilities


If you don't already have PowerToys, download and install the PowerToysSetup.exe file from the program's GitHub page. If you do already have it, make sure you're running the latest version.

1. Open the PowerToys Settings

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. 

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.

Also: How to remap keys using Keyboard Manager in Microsoft's PowerToys

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.

Enabling Find My Mouse

Enable Find My Mouse.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

2. Click Appearance & behavior

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.

Adjusting Find My Mouse Appearance & behavior

Adjust Find My Mouse Appearance & behavior.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

3. Click Excluded apps

Click the menu for Excluded 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.

Excluding applications in Mouse utilities

Excluded applications.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

4. 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.

Find My Mouse in action

Use Find My Mouse. 

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

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. 

Also: How to use the free PowerToys FancyZones in Windows

To set up a different key combination, click the entry for Activation shortcut and press the shortcut keys you wish to use. Click Save.

Enabling Mouse Highlighter

Enable Mouse Highlighter. 

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

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.

Adjusting Mouse Highlighter Appearance & behavior

Adjust Mouse Highlighter Appearance & behavior.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

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.

Mouse Highlighter in action

Use Mouse Highlighter.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Mouse Jump

Mouse Jump displays a smaller version of your entire desktop, so that you can move your mouse cursor across the screen more quickly. This is of benefit with especially large screens.

Setting up Mouse Jump

Set up Mouse Jump.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Turn on the switch for Mouse Jump and note the Activation shortcut. Position your mouse cursor at any corner of the screen and press the shortcut. 

Also: How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?

A smaller version of your desktop then pops up. Simply move your mouse across this screen and click the area where you want the cursor to appear. The cursor jumps to the new spot, and the smaller desktop window goes away.

Mouse Jump in action

Use Mouse Jump to jump across the screen.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

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. 

Also: The best silent mouse

Click the entry for Activation shortcut if you want to change the hotkey combination to enable this option.

Enabling Mouse Pointer Crosshairs

Enable Mouse Pointer Crosshairs.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

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.

Adjusting Mouse Pointer Crosshairs

Adjust Mouse Pointer Crosshairs.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

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.

Mouse Pointer Crosshairs in action

Use Mouse Pointer Crosshairs.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET
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