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Manage Cursor Styles with Tailwind CSS Effortlessly and Easily

Understanding Tailwind Cursors

What Makes Tailwind Cursors Special?

Tailwind CSS, known for its utility-first approach, simplifies styling by providing low-level utility classes. Cursors, often overlooked, play a pivotal role in user interactions. Tailwind takes this simplicity to a new level, enabling developers to manage cursors effortlessly.

Tailwind Cursor Utility Classes

In Tailwind, cursor utilities are classes that define the type of cursor to be displayed when interacting with an element. From the familiar pointer to custom cursors, Tailwind empowers you to dictate how users perceive and engage with your web elements.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the power of Tailwind CSS in changing cursor styles and how you can leverage it to create engaging and interactive user interfaces. We’ll cover everything from the basic usage of Tailwind Cursor utility classes to customizing cursor styles and applying them in real-world examples.

So let’s dive in and master the art of cursor styles with Tailwind CSS!

The Tailwind Cursor Palette

  1. Default Cursors :
    Tailwind comes equipped with a set of default cursors, each serving a specific purpose. Whether it’s indicating a clickable link or a draggable element, Tailwind’s defaults cover the basics.

  2. Customizing Cursors to Match Your Style:
    Tailwind’s true beauty lies in customization. Discover how to break away from defaults and match your cursor styles with the unique personality of your project.

Basic Usage Of Tailwind Cursor

The basic usage of Tailwind Cursor utility classes involves applying the “cursor-{style}” class to an element. For example, if you want to display a pointer cursor when hovering over a button, you can apply the “cursor-pointer” class to it.

<button type="button" class="cursor-pointer ...">

By using the “cursor-pointer” class, you can provide visual feedback to users that the button is clickable, enhancing the overall usability of your application.

Applying Conditionally

Tailwind CSS allows you to conditionally apply utility classes using variant modifiers. This means that you can apply cursor styles based on specific conditions or states of an element.

For example, you can use the “focus:cursor-auto” variant modifier to only apply the “cursor-auto” utility when an element is in focus.

<div class="cursor-not-allowed focus:cursor-auto mx-auto max-w-md text-center absolute p-4 left-1/2 top-1/2 border-4 border-green-500">
  Conditional placement of cursor

In this example,

  • The “cursor-not-allowed” class will always be applied to the <div>

  • The “cursor-auto” class will only be applied when the element is in focus.

  • This allows you to dynamically change the cursor style based on user interactions, providing a more interactive and intuitive experience.

Breakpoints and Media Queries

  • Variant modifiers can also be used to target media queries like responsive breakpoints, dark mode, prefers-reduced motion, etc.

  • This means that you can define different cursor styles for different screen sizes or user preferences.

  • For example, by using the “md:cursor-auto” variant modifier, you can apply the “cursor-auto” utility only at medium screen sizes and above.

<div class="cursor-not-allowed md:cursor-auto mx-auto max-w-md text-center absolute p-4 left-1/2 top-1/2 border-4 border-green-500">
  Cursor based on screen size

This allows you to create responsive designs where the cursor style adapts based on the user’s device or viewport size. By tailoring the cursor style to specific contexts, you can further optimize the user experience of your web applications.

Exploring Cursor Styles in Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS provides a wide range of utility classes for different cursor styles. These utility classes allow you to easily change the mouse cursor based on the desired visual effect or interaction pattern. Let’s explore some of the most commonly used cursor styles in Tailwind CSS:

These utility classes can be applied to any HTML element to change the cursor style. For example, if you want to have a button with a cursor zoom-in cursor on hover, you can apply the “cursor-zoom-in” class to it.

<button type="button" class="cursor-zoom-in ...">
  Zoom In

By using the appropriate cursor styles, you can enhance the visual feedback and interactivity of your web applications, making them more engaging for users.

Customizing Cursor Styles in Tailwind CSS

  • Tailwind CSS allows you to customize the default cursor values by editing the theme.cursor or theme.extend.cursor section in the tailwind.config.js file.

  • This gives you the flexibility to define your own custom cursor values and use them as utility classes in your project.

  • To customize the cursor styles, open the tailwind.config.js file and locate the theme.cursor or theme.extend.cursor section.

  • Here’s an example of how you can extend the theme to add a custom cursor value:

module.exports = {
  theme: {
    extend: {
      cursor: {
        'fancy': 'url(hand.cur), pointer',

In this example,

  • We’ve added a custom cursor value called “fancy” that uses a custom .cur file for the cursor and falls back to the pointer cursor if the custom file is not supported.

  • You can define any number of custom cursor values based on your project requirements.

  • Once you’ve defined the custom cursor value in the tailwind.config.js file, you can use it as a utility class in your HTML code.

  • For example, if you want to apply the “fancy” cursor style to a button, you can use the “cursor-fancy” class.

<button type="button" class="cursor-fancy ...">
  Fancy Button

By customizing cursor styles in Tailwind CSS, you can create unique and visually appealing user interfaces that align with your design vision.

For example, the blue droplet cursor pointer cursor below in the gif is an example of a custom cursor

Refer to DigitalOcean documentation to create above shown custom cursor pointer

The fun does not end here by following this blog you can even use emojis as custom cursor pointers.
So as it’s clear what you can imagine you can build Tailwind CSS along with Purecode is there to be your companion in your development journey.

Using Arbitrary Values in Cursor Utility Classes

In some cases, you may need to use an arbitrary cursor value that doesn’t fit into the default set of cursor styles provided by Tailwind CSS.

To accomplish this, you can use square brackets to generate a property with any arbitrary value.

<div class="cursor-[url(hand.cur),_pointer]">
  <!-- ... -->

In this example, we’re using the cursor-[url(hand.cur),_pointer] class to apply a custom cursor value. The square brackets allow us to define a cursor value that consists of both a URL and a fallback value. This technique gives you the flexibility to use any cursor value that is not natively supported by Tailwind CSS.

Using arbitrary values in cursor utility classes enables you to create highly customized and unique cursor styles for your web applications. It allows you to explore and experiment with different cursor effects to make your interfaces stand out.

Applying Tailwind Cursor in Real-world Examples

To demonstrate how Tailwind Cursor can be applied in real-world examples, let’s explore the implementation of a sticky hover effect using Tailwind CSS and React.

Setting up the Environment

Before we dive into the code, make sure you have a basic understanding of React and Tailwind CSS. Ensure that you have a working development environment with Node.js and npm installed.

Implementing the Hover Effect

To create the sticky hover effect, we will utilize custom hooks and components in React. Let’s start by creating the necessary hooks.

import { useEffect, useState } from "react"

export function useMousePosition() {
  const [mousePosition, setMousePosition] = useState({
    x: null,
    y: null,

  useEffect(() => {
    const updateMousePosition = (ev) => {
        x: ev.clientX,
        y: ev.clientY,

    window.addEventListener("mousemove", updateMousePosition)

    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("mousemove", updateMousePosition)
  }, [])

  return mousePosition

In the above code snippet,

  1. We define a custom hook called “useMousePosition” that tracks the mouse position on the screen.

  2. This hook updates the mouse position whenever the “mousemove” event is triggered and cleans up the event listener when the component unmounts.

  3. Next, let’s create another custom hook called “useHoverEffect”

  4. It utilizes the “useMousePosition” hook and calculates the offset for the hover effect.

import { useRef } from "react"
import { useHoverEffect } from "./useHoverEffect"

export function Button({ children }) {
  const elementRef = useRef(null)
  const Effect = useHoverEffect(elementRef)

  return (
    <button ref={elementRef} className="translate-0 group relative">
      <Effect />

For the above code snippet,

  1. We define a functional component called “Button” that serves as our hover effect container.

  2. The component creates a ref using the “useRef” hook to access the underlying DOM element.

  3. It also utilizes the “useHoverEffect” hook, which calculates the offset for the hover effect based on the mouse position.

  4. Now, let’s implement the “useHoverEffect” hook.

import { useEffect, useState } from "react"
import { useMousePosition } from "./useMousePosition"

export function useHoverEffect(ref) {
  const mousePosition = useMousePosition()
  const [offsetX, setOffsetX] = useState(0)
  const [offsetY, setOffsetY] = useState(0)

  useEffect(() => {
    const element = ref.current

    if (!element) return
    if (!mousePosition.x || !mousePosition.y) return

    const rect = element.getBoundingClientRect()

    setOffsetX(mousePosition.x - rect.left - rect.width / 2)
    setOffsetY(mousePosition.y - rect.top - rect.height / 2)
  }, [mousePosition, ref])

  return function Effect() {
    return (
        className="absolute inset-0 -z-10 translate-x-[var(--x)] translate-y-[var(--y)] rounded-lg opacity-0 transition-opacity duration-200 group-hover:bg-gray-800 group-hover:opacity-10"
          "--x": `${offsetX / 8}px`,
          "--y": `${offsetY / 6}px`,

In the above code snippet,

  1. The “useHoverEffect” hook calculates the offset for the hover effect based on the mouse position and element position.

  2. It updates the offset values whenever the mouse position or reference to the underlying DOM element changes.

  3. The “useHoverEffect” hook returns a component called “Effect” that represents the hover effect.

  4. This component utilizes Tailwind CSS’s utility classes to apply a translation and opacity effect based on the calculated offsets.

  5. The effect is triggered when the user hovers over the button component.

  6. To use this hover effect in your application, you can also simply render the “Button” component.

import { Button } from "./Button"

function App() {
  return (
    <div className="flex flex-col h-screen bg-slate-200 w-full space-x-4 justify-center items-center">
      <h1 className="text-3xl py-10">Hover on Elements</h1>
      <div className="grid grid-cols-2 gap-4">
          <p className="text-white p-4 text-2xl">Pointer</p>
          <p className="p-4 text-2xl">Not Allowed</p>
          <p className="p-4 text-2xl">Move</p>
          <p className="text-white p-4 text-2xl">Zoom in</p>

export default App

In the above code snippet, we render the “Button” component within a grid layout. Each button represents a different cursor style, and when we hover over it, the sticky hover effect applies.

By applying Tailwind Cursor utility classes and leveraging custom hooks and components, you can create interactive and visually appealing user experiences in your web applications.

Below is a video link that can help you create a draggable cursor effect.

Now that we have explored applying Tailwind Cursor in real-world examples, let’s move on to leveraging the cursor property in CSS.

Leveraging the Cursor Property in CSS

While Tailwind CSS provides a comprehensive set of utility classes for controlling the cursor style, it’s essential to understand the underlying CSS properties that drive these styles. The cursor property in CSS allows developers to change the mouse cursor on specific elements. Let’s delve into the various aspects of the cursor property and its available styles.

Default Cursor Styles

The cursor property offers several built-in cursor styles that can be applied to elements:

  • Default: The “default” cursor is used by default and indicates that no particular cursor style is specified.

  • Pointer: The “pointer” cursor is commonly used to indicate a link or interactive element.

  • Crosshair: The “crosshair” cursor displays a crosshair symbol and is often used for precise selection or measurement.

  • Help: The “help” cursor is typically represented by a question mark and signifies that help or assistance is available.

  • Move: The “move” cursor indicates that the element can be moved or dragged.

  • Text: The “text” cursor is shaped like an I-beam and indicates that the element represents text.

To apply these cursor styles in CSS, you can use the following syntax:

.element {
  cursor: style;

For example, to set the cursor style to “pointer” on a button element, you can use the following CSS rule:

button {
  cursor: pointer;

Custom Cursors

In addition to the built-in cursor styles, you can define custom cursors using SVG files or .cur files. This allows for even greater customization and personalization of the cursor style.

To define a custom cursor using an SVG file, you can use the “url()” function with the SVG file path as the value:

.element {
  cursor: url('/path/to/custom-cursor.svg');

The above code sets the cursor style of the element to a custom SVG file located at “/path/to/custom-cursor.svg”. When the user hovers over the element, the custom cursor will be displayed.

Alternatively, you can also use .cur files to define custom cursors. .cur files are binary files specifically designed for Windows systems. You can provide multiple file paths separated by commas to account for different browser compatibility:

.element {
  cursor: url('/path/to/custom-cursor.cur'), pointer;

In the above example, the custom cursor is defined using a .cur file located at “/path/to/custom-cursor.cur”. If the .cur file is not supported by the browser, the “pointer” cursor will be used as a fallback.

It’s worth noting that you should use custom cursors sparingly and thoughtfully. While they can enhance the visual appeal of a website, they can also impact usability if they are not easily distinguishable or if they hinder interaction with elements.

Now that we have explored the cursor property and its various styles, let’s talk about how we can troubleshoot some of our tailwind cursor pointer challenges

Troubleshooting Cursor Challenges

  1. Overcoming Common Cursor Issues
    Every developer faces challenges. Discover solutions to common cursor-related issues and ensure a smooth user experience.
  2. Ensuring Cross-Browser Compatibility
    Tailwind CSS prides itself on consistency. Learn tips to guarantee your custom cursors look and behave as intended across various browsers.

Conclusion: Tailwind Cursor Mastery

In this exhaustive guide, we’ve delved into the power and flexibility of Tailwind Cursor, navigating the intricacies of changing cursor styles in web applications. From basic usage and conditional applications to customization and practical applications using React and Tailwind CSS, we’ve covered it all.

We hope this journey equips you with the skills to leverage Tailwind Cursor effectively, enhancing your web application’s user experience and creating engaging interfaces. Keep accessibility, usability, and user preferences in mind when defining cursor styles.

As we wrap up our Tailwind CSS Cursor Mastery, your journey to UI brilliance is complete. Tailwind empowers you to bring creative visions to life, and with PureCode, coding becomes a colorful and efficient experience.

Ready to transform your projects? Dive into Tailwind CSS, experiment with cursors, and explore the efficiency of PureCode. Your code journey has never been more colorful and innovative.

Happy coding!

Yash Poojari

Yash Poojari