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PointerStick is an excellent aid for any presentation

18 November 2011, Mike Williams

Often, during a presentation, you’ll want to highlight a particular area of the screen. The obvious solution is to use the mouse cursor, and sometimes – if you’re using a large projector, say – that may be enough.

Mouse cursors are generally unobtrusive, though, which is why you might lose track of yours even when you’re sitting in front of the screen. So if you’d like to make your point rather more obviously, then you may benefit from a new free tool, PointerStick.

Just launch the program and immediately a large virtual pointer stick appears. This doesn’t replace your mouse cursor, but rather runs alongside it, so as you move your mouse, the stick relocates to point at the same thing.

By default the stick is so large that no-one’s going to miss whatever it is you’re highlighting. But if you would prefer something a little more modest, simply clicking the PointerStick system tray icon reveals a useful console where you can tweak its size, colour, style and even transparency.

Usefully, you don’t have to display the stick all the time. It can be toggled off by triple-clicking the mouse, or applying a couple of hotkeys (Ctrl+Alt+Y or Ctrl+Alt+Z), so you need only have this visible when you need to highlight some particularly fine detail.

And perhaps most conveniently, PointerStick is portable, so there’s nothing to install. Just save the executable to a folder somewhere and run it whenever necessary.

The program does have one or two small quirks and annoyances. The stick changes its orientation whenever it approaches the edge of the screen, for instance, which can be a little distracting at first. And the console includes a few non-standard buttons which don’t actually look like buttons at all (to exit the program you’d click the “# Esc” text, for instance).

You’ll soon figure this out, though, and for the most part PointerStick makes a very useful presentation tool, or any time when you need to highlight something (if you’re taking a screen grab of something for a manual, say): it’s well-thought-out and easy to use.

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