Did you know why the mouse cursor is slanted and not straight?

mouse cursor

Whether you are a Windows, Linux or MacOS user, you are probably quite used to handle the mouse with which to move the cursor, but have you ever wondered why the cursor is always slightly tilted? In addition, it is always in the same way: to the left if we look from bottom to top. In this article we are going to tell you the story of why the mouse cursor is it tilted this way, and why will it continue to be so for the remains.

We are facing one of those legacies of computing that comes from many, many years ago, and that everything tends to continue in the same way until the end of time, like the QWERTY layout on keyboards.

The history of the mouse cursor

At the beginning of time, when the precursor mouse we use today was invented, the cursor was a simple vertical arrow. We are talking about the days of Douglas Engelbart, a Xerox engineer and inventor of the mouse (and of its cursor, of course) in 1981. But of course, it didn’t take them long to realize that using a completely vertical arrow had certain disadvantages for orientation and for select exactly what they were trying to point the mouse at…

When the first mouse-based GUI machine was built, the Xerox Parc, they made the decision to slightly skew the cursor to the left and actually make it an arrow instead of a simple line, as they realized that with the resolution that the monitors had at that time, it was quite difficult to distinguish that vertical line and, above all, to differentiate it from the cursor that, even today, marks where we are going in a text.

At the beginning the mouse arrow was inclined at exactly 45 degrees with respect to the vertical, but nowadays the design has evolved and, depending on the operating system and even its version, we can find some inclinations or others… but always with the common denominator: it is slightly tilted to the left.

In any case, what we have told you is nothing more than an assumption that has been accepted by the community, since in reality the exact reason why this decision was made to tilt the mouse arrow to one side is not known. . What is certain is that it makes perfect sense… can you imagine that the mouse cursor was a simple vertical line? It would really be a lot harder to even find where it is on the screen, especially with the high resolutions of today’s monitors.


Finally, if curiosity has led you to read this article until the end, you may also wonder why the cursor is leaning to the left and not the other way around… this is not known for sure either, but it is also supposed to be by inheritance, since its inventor was right-handed (and a large percentage of the population, in fact), and it would be the natural posture of the right hand, no more and no less.