Cursor modes

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Cursor modes are a type of game mechanic in Terraria. Auto Select and Smart Cursor are the two cursor modes implemented to make using tools and placing objects more convenient.

Auto Select[edit | edit source]

Desktop versionConsole versionMobile version Desktop/Console/Mobile-Only Content: This section's information applies only to the Desktop, Console, and Mobile versions of Terraria.

Auto Select will automatically select an item to use, depending on where the cursor is pointed. The item does not need to be in the hot bar. By default, Auto Select is activated by pressing Shift on PC, R3 on PS3/PS4, or pressing down the right thumbstick on Xbox 360/Xbox 1.

Target Item Selected
Blocks and most Furniture Pickaxe
Tree, Giant Glowing Mushroom, or Cactus Axe
Altar, Shadow Orb or Crimson Heart Hammer
Extractinator Silt or Slush
Cannon Cannonball
Bunny Cannon Explosive Bunny
When you point at an empty space or a wall, a light source will be selected based on the following criteria
Cursor is far from the player Glowstick, Spelunker Glowstick or Flare Gun
Player and cursor are in water (or other liquid) Cursed Torch, Ichor Torch, Glowstick or Flare Gun
Player in water but cursor is not Cursed Torch or Ichor Torch
If none of the above apply Any torch

A Flare Gun without Flares won't be selected. Nor will other light sources such as candles. If more than one item is equally appropriate it will normally select the first one in your inventory. And if the preferred item is unavailable it will usually fall back to something else.

Smart Cursor[edit | edit source]

Smart Cursor selects a target based on the active item. Desktop versionBy default, it is toggled on and off by pressing Ctrl, or Mobile versionby holding down and dragging the right thumbstick. There is also an option in General Settings to make it last only while the key is held down. Smart Cursor mode is indicated by a slightly wider cursor, and the tile targeted is shown with a yellow box. On the 3DS version 3DS version, Smart Cursor is on by default unless the D-Pad or Touch Screen is used to target an area.

Active Item Behavior
Pickaxe Digs a passage wide enough to pass through in the direction indicated be the cursor. A tunnel going diagonally upwards will often have to be widened to go back down.

As of 1.3 a vertical tunnel will have a width of 2 tiles, this is reduced from 3 tiles in previous versions.

Axe Chops the base of the tree nearest the cursor. It will target branches when the base is out of range. An item that functions like an axe/pickaxe will target trees first then blocks. This can be easily seen with the Laser Drill (1.3+).
Hammer Removes the wall nearest the cursor.
Block Places a block at the nearest legal space to the cursor. If the space under the cursor already contains a block or other object, it will do nothing. However if the cursor is over an NPC or player, it will encase them in multiple layers. This is currently the only way to automatically fill a large area with blocks. On the Mobile version Mobile version, this is quite unreliable.
Wall Places a wall at the nearest legal space to the cursor. Unlike other items, walls will only be placed by Smart Cursor within line of sight of the player. This makes it easy to fill a room without the walls "spilling" out.
Platform Adds to existing platforms (in any direction, including vertical).
Minecart Track Extends existing tracks horizontally or diagonally.
Wrench Extends existing wires of the same color.
Wire Cutter Removes the wire nearest the cursor.
Acorn Places an acorn on top of grass if two blocks beside it are free.

Using Smart Cursor with a multi-function tool, like Drax or a Hamaxe, may have unexpected results. These tools will behave as an axe by default, meaning they always target a tree if one is in range.

Desktop version Enabling Smart Cursor for common blocks on Desktop version (Terraria 1.3 and later)[edit | edit source]

Click to see a list of pages to be merged It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Config.json settings.
Reason: "Editing of the config file should probably be explained in a single location."

A fresh installation of Terraria 1.3 or later will start with Smart Cursor disabled for placing common blocks. This setting applies to foreground blocks that you would use during construction, such as dirt, wood, and stone. The Smart Cursor will continue to behave as per the 1.2 standard for platforms and walls.

If you wish to use Smart Cursor for common blocks, you will need to edit Terraria's config.json file manually.

Edits to config.json must be performed while the game is not running, or else the new setting will not take effect. You may want to create a backup copy of the config.json file before editing, which will allow you to restore your original configuration later, if needed.

  1. Browse to your config.json file location (see config.json for common locations).
  2. Right-click config.json and choose Open With...
  3. Select Notepad (or your favorite text editor).
  4. Use the 'Find' option in your text editor and search for this:
    "UseSmartCursorForCommonBlocks": false,
  5. Edit the line so it now reads:
    "UseSmartCursorForCommonBlocks": true,
  6. Save your config.json file.
  7. Launch Terraria.

Now you will be allowed to use Smart Cursor for common blocks.