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You know this concept from your car driving lessons: You have your steering wheel and your pedals and mirrors and the instructor has got his own set (in most countries minus the steering wheel).

In our small-group training sessions, our students take turns and apply what they have learnt in front of the class: one set of screens to work, three more screens to follow along.

We need large mouse pointers with different colours for training: One for the trainee that is active, and a pointing-only mouse-pointer for the trainer. (Optionally the trainer could actively use his/her mouse and also click stuff, but the pointer should in this case change colour or give a visual feedback.)

So far we are already using two mice, and Windows can handle that just fine. But it is often confusing to the class, to follow who is doing what.

For those who love context: This is for complex and full screens, like when we train for desktop publishing with not-trivial documents. It takes a lot of time, for the teacher to orally explain what tool to grab and where to find certain hidden options. So pointing is more efficient than telling.

We do not limit our search to free or open source tools, we could spend some money for such a tool, because we only need very few licences. If there were a similar tool for Linux, especially OpenSuse, we would also love to hear about it, but that is optional too.

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Warning: read the full text before downloading.

IMHO, Eithermouse is what you need.

  • It shows multiple cursors (one per mouse)
  • It is free (donation ware)
  • It's open source (source code provided, but no FOSS license)
  • It works on Windows
  • You can mirror the mouse cursor to better distinguish the teacher cursor from the student cursor

Disadvantages:

  • When both participants move the mouse simultaneously, I noticed some flickering.

  • The mouse that has a mirrored cursor may become invisible when being moved over a text field.

  • The application may be detected as a trojan/virus by quite a few virus scanners. I can't fully judge about this, especially not when it comes to the binary file that is provided for download. However, the author also provides the source code (download the ZIP file).

    I have not read the complete 2500 lines of code, but it's quite likely that the identification as a trojan or dropper comes from this part of the code:

    Download

    It is there for downloading updates of the software.

    If you use this in a company, talk to your IT department before downloading and using.

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  • PluralInput seems to be a commercial alternative, but they seem to have serious problems. – Thomas Weller Jun 20 at 11:36
  • Thank you, looks promissing. Will install and test. Might also write to the dev and suggest multi-colour pointers for our training-scenario. Might give him plenty new users... If it works for our traning-room, will come here and give the green tick. – Martin Zaske Jun 21 at 12:10
  • I did already download it and tried installing. But I got dire virus warnings. So I look over the developer web page again and try some tools to maybe confirm that the file is clean, but I can find not much evidence that the virus warning is false. I believe the conditions of my employment do not let me use this tool in our main office until I have some documentation that would speak in favour of this tool, without any conflict of interest. Bother... – Martin Zaske Jul 7 at 13:39

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