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I often lose track of the location of the cursor when I bring my attention to something off-screen (a book, a mobile device, etc).
Since I have a big display, moving the mouse a little won't do the trick because the cursor is too small to be noticed in the peripheral view.

I wonder if there's a free tool that highlights the cursor after the mouse has been inactive for an arbitrary period of time.

I use OS X 10.9.2 (Mavericks)

I think a shortcut to would come in handy if there is no option for an inactivity timer.

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Windows has an accessibility option to enable hitting the control key to ping the mouse, I'd be surprised if a similar feature was not available on a Mac. –  Jordan McGuigan May 3 at 19:49
    
@rraallvv Does it have to highlight after some time or are you willing to press a shortcut? –  ṧнʊß May 3 at 19:52
    
@rraallw Which operating system? (for some reason I thought you'd said Mac OS X, but after rereading your question I saw that you had made no mention of the OS) –  nidunc May 3 at 21:01
    
@JordanMcGuigan Mac OS X doesn't have that particular feature, but it can zoom in to the location of the cursor when pressing a combination of keys, and zoom out again with another combination of keys. –  nidunc May 3 at 21:04
    
@nidunc I updated the question to add the information you are asking for. –  rraallvv May 3 at 21:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Mouse locator is what you are looking for. The requirements are:

Universal binary compatible with both PowerPC and Intel processors. Requires Mac OSX version 10.4 (Tiger) or later. (321KB)

so it will work with you. This uses a shortcut as a trigger to 'ping' the cursor's location or a timer (in trigger delay) to show the cursor location.

You will be able to find your cursor very easily with this:

Highly visible locator instantly reveals your mouse position.

It installs this as a separate System Preference Pane.

These are all the options you can change:

enter image description here

I would recommend using F5 as the shortcut key because it is generally used for nothing on the Mac (by default)

If you want, you could also make your cursor slightly bigger, but this could be annoying, maybe covering words or letters when doing other stuff, but there is always the option!:

You’ll find the setting within the Universal Access pane of System Preferences (Apple menu->System Preferences). Click the Mouse & Trackpad tab and then click and drag the Cursor Size slider. The changes will take effect immediately, so choose a size you’re happy with.

Read more over here

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Isn't F5 used to reload pages (in web browsers for example)? Or is that just Windows... –  nidunc May 3 at 21:43
    
@nidunc Only on Windows, AFAIK, to refresh in Mac, you press CMD+R –  ṧнʊß May 4 at 13:01
    
@shub Firefox still uses F5 additionally to CMD+R on OS X but with any other browser you're right. –  2called-chaos May 4 at 16:29
    
@2called-chaos Ahhhh... ok, I didn't know that –  ṧнʊß May 4 at 16:32
    
Mouse Locator doesn't work with Mavericks. (Or to be more precise. It works until the screen blanks, then you need to go back into the System Preferences panel and re-enable it, which is pretty annoying). –  fred Jul 29 at 21:53

I believe Mouse Locator will perfectly suit your needs

From the website:

  • Highly visible locator instantly reveals your mouse position.
  • Controllable trigger time period, from 1 second to 30 minutes.
  • Eliminates the frustrating search of your screen.
  • Indispensable addition to Mac OS X, v10.4 or later required.

So, you can set the amount of time the mouse has to be inactive for before it triggers itself. However, you can also set a shortcut to manually activate it.
You can also set the amount of time the locator is displayed for, even for infinity!

Settings page
Picture of settings page

You can also change the graphic which is used (by default it looks like the one on the top-right of the picture)

For more information, and a lengthy review, have a look at this: Mouse Locator - Cursor, cursor, where for art thou? - Mac OS X Hints

Mac OS X also has a built-in feature of zooming in on the mouse pointer:

I just zoom in
Authored by: mzs on Feb 20, '06 09:17:36AM


Under Universal Access in System Preferences I have Zoom enabled. Whenever I cannot find my mouse I just press ++= and my screen zooms in to where my mouse cursor is. Then I zoom back out with ++-.

Per a comment on the linked Mac OS X Hints article. 3

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