On a text terminal, the cursor’s appearance is controlled by the terminal, largely out of the control of Emacs. Some terminals offer two different cursors: a visible static cursor, and a very visible blinking cursor. By default, Emacs uses the very visible cursor, and switches to it when you start or resume Emacs. If the variable
nil when Emacs starts or resumes, it uses the normal cursor.
On a graphical display, many more properties of the text cursor can be altered. To customize its color, change the
:background attribute of the face named
cursor (see Face Customization). (The other attributes of this face have no effect; the text shown under the cursor is drawn using the frame’s background color.) To change its shape, customize the buffer-local variable
cursor-type; possible values are
box (the default),
hollow (a hollow box),
bar (a vertical bar),
(bar . n) (a vertical bar
n pixels wide),
hbar (a horizontal bar),
(hbar . n) (a horizontal bar
n pixels tall), or
nil (no cursor at all).
By default, the cursor stops blinking after 10 blinks, if Emacs does not get any input during that time; any input event restarts the count. You can customize the variable
blink-cursor-blinks to control that: its value says how many times to blink without input before stopping. Setting that variable to a zero or negative value will make the cursor blink forever. To disable cursor blinking altogether, change the variable
nil (see Easy Customization), or add the line
to your init file. Alternatively, you can change how the cursor looks when it blinks off by customizing the list variable
blink-cursor-alist. Each element in the list should have the form
(on-type . off-type); this means that if the cursor is displayed as
on-type when it blinks on (where
on-type is one of the cursor types described above), then it is displayed as
off-type when it blinks off.
Some characters, such as tab characters, are extra wide. When the cursor is positioned over such a character, it is normally drawn with the default character width. You can make the cursor stretch to cover wide characters, by changing the variable
x-stretch-cursor to a non-
The cursor normally appears in non-selected windows as a non-blinking hollow box. (For a bar cursor, it instead appears as a thinner bar.) To turn off cursors in non-selected windows, change the variable
To make the cursor even more visible, you can use HL Line mode, a minor mode that highlights the line containing point. Use
M-x hl-line-mode to enable or disable it in the current buffer.
M-x global-hl-line-mode enables or disables the same mode globally.