This Java Swing tip illustrates a method of implementing a fancy caret for your application. Developers may use this in gaming applications to provide animated caret to users.

 import javax.swing.*;
import javax.swing.text.*;
import java.awt.*;

public class FancyCaret extends DefaultCaret {

  protected synchronized void damage(Rectangle r) {
    if (r == null) return;

    // give values to x,y,width,height (inherited from java.awt.Rectangle)
    x = r.x; 
    y = r.y;
    height = r.height;
    // A value for width was probably set by paint(), which we leave alone.
    // But the first call to damage() precedes the first call to paint(), so
    // in this case we must be prepared to set a valid width, or else paint()
    // will receive a bogus clip area and caret will not get drawn properly.
    if (width <= 0) width = getComponent().getWidth();

    repaint(); // calls getComponent().repaint(x, y, width, height)
  }

  public void paint(Graphics g) {
    JTextComponent comp = getComponent();
    if (comp == null) return;

    int dot = getDot();
    Rectangle r = null;
    char dotChar;
    try { 
      r = comp.modelToView(dot);
      if (r == null) return;
      dotChar = comp.getText(dot, 1).charAt(0);
    } catch (BadLocationException e) { return; }

    if ( (x != r.x) || (y != r.y) ) {
      // paint() has been called directly, without a previous call to
      // damage(), so do some cleanup. (This happens, for example, when the
      // text component is resized.)
      repaint(); // erase previous location of caret
      x = r.x;   // Update dimensions (width gets set later in this method)
      y = r.y;
      height = r.height;
    }

    g.setColor(comp.getCaretColor());
    g.setXORMode(comp.getBackground()); // do this to draw in XOR mode

    if (dotChar == '\n') {
      int diam = r.height;
      if (isVisible())
        g.fillArc(r.x-diam/2, r.y, diam, diam, 270, 180); // half circle
      width = diam / 2 + 2;
      return;
    }

    if (dotChar == '\t') try {
      Rectangle nextr = comp.modelToView(dot+1);
      if ((r.y == nextr.y) && (r.x < nextr.x)) {
        width = nextr.x - r.x;
        if (isVisible()) g.fillRoundRect(r.x, r.y, width, r.height, 12, 12);
        return;
      }
      else dotChar = ' ';
    } catch (BadLocationException e) { dotChar = ' '; }

    width = g.getFontMetrics().charWidth(dotChar);
    if (isVisible()) g.fillRect(r.x, r.y, width, r.height);
  }

  public static void main(String args[]) {
    JFrame frame = new JFrame("FancyCaret demo");
    frame.setDefaultCloseOperation(JFrame.EXIT_ON_CLOSE);
    JTextArea area = new JTextArea(8, 32);
    area.setCaret(new FancyCaret());
    area.setText("VI\tVirgin Islands \nVA      Virginia\nVT\tVermont");
    frame.getContentPane().add(new JScrollPane(area), BorderLayout.CENTER);
    frame.pack();
    frame.setVisible(true);
  }
}