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Gtk+/Gnome Application Development
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Changing the Cursor

You can change the cursor shape at any time; cursor shapes are set on a window-by-window basis with gdk_window_set_cursor() (Figure 9). By default, windows use their parent's cursor; you can restore the default cursor by setting a window's cursor to NULL.

Two ways are provided to create a cursor. The simplest way is to choose a cursor from the cursor font that comes with X. The cursor font contains cursors instead of characters; you can view it with the command xfd -fn cursor. You can also browse the available cursors using the testgtk program that comes with GTK+. Each cursor shape has a constant defined in gdk/gdkcursors.h. gdk_cursor_new() accepts one of these constants as its only argument:


  GdkCursor* cursor;
  cursor = gdk_cursor_new(GDK_CLOCK);
  gdk_window_set_cursor(window, cursor);
  gdk_cursor_destroy(cursor);

Notice that you can destroy the cursor as soon as you attach it to a window; GdkCursor is a client-side handle for a server-side resource, and X will keep the server-side resource around as long as it's in use.

If none of the cursors in the cursor font are appropriate, you can create a custom cursor from a bitmap. Two bitmaps, actually: the source pixmap, and the mask. Since these are bitmaps, every pixel is either on or off (0 or 1). If a pixel is 0 in the mask, that pixel will be transparent. If a pixel is 1 in both pixmaps, it will be displayed in the fg (foreground) color passed to gdk_cursor_new_from_pixmap(). If a pixel is 1 in the mask but 0 in the source pixmap, it will be displayed in the bg (background) color. The source and mask pixmaps must be the same size, and they must have a depth of one.

The foreground and background colors should be contrasting, so the cursor will be visible against any background. Most cursors are drawn in the foreground color and outlined in the background color. (To see this, move an X cursor over a dark background; you will notice a white outline around its edges.) To achieve this, mask should be slightly larger than source, but the same shape.

The final two arguments to gdk_cursor_new_from_pixmap() are the coordinates of the cursor's hot spot. This is the point drawn at the mouse pointer's location---the tip of an arrow cursor, or the center of a crosshair cursor. gdk_cursor_new_from_pixmap() will fail if the hot spot is not within the bitmap.

#include <gdk/gdk.h>

GdkCursor* gdk_cursor_new(GdkCursorType cursor_type);

GdkCursor* gdk_cursor_new_from_pixmap(GdkPixmap* source, GdkPixmap* mask, GdkColor* fg, GdkColor* bg, gint x, gint y);

void gdk_cursor_destroy(GdkCursor* cursor);

void gdk_window_set_cursor(GdkWindow* window, GdkCursor* cursor);

Figure 9. GdkCursor

Gtk+/Gnome Application Development
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