The follow contents is mainly reprinted of Learn X in Y Minutes.


TMUX is a terminal multiplexer: it enables a number of terminals to be created, accessed, and controlled from a single screen. tmux may be detached from a screen and continue running in the background then later reattached.

tmux conform C/S mode, including followed modules:

  • server - run tmux in terminal to start a server;
  • session - a server can include serveral sessions;
  • window - a session can include serveral windows;
  • pane - a window can include serveral panes.
DIRECTIVE Description
tmux [command] Run a command
‘tmux’ with no commands will create a new session
[new] Create a new session
-s “Session” Create named session
-n “Window” Create named Window
-c “/dir” Start in target directory
[attach] Attach last/available session
-t “#” Attach target session
-d Detach the session from other instances
[ls] List open sessions
-a List all open sessions
[lsw] List windows
-a List all windows
-s List all windows in session
[lsp] List panes
-a List all panes
-s List all panes in session
-t List all panes in target
[kill-window] Kill current window
-t “#” Kill target window
-a Kill all windows
-a -t “#” Kill all windows but the target
[kill-session] Kill current session
-t “#” Kill target session
-a Kill all sessions
-a -t “#” Kill all sessions but the target

Key Bindings

The method of controlling an attached tmux session is via key combinations called ‘Prefix’ keys.

Key Description
C-b ‘Prefix’ combination required to use keybings
? List all key bindings
: Enter the tmux command prompt
r Force redraw of the attached client
t Show current time
d Detach the current client
D Choose a client to detach
[ Enter Copy Mode to copy text or view history.
] Paste what you have copied
~ Show info messages
s Select a new session for the attached client
c Create a new window
n Change to the next window
p Change to the previous window
l Switch to last window
w Choose the current window interactively
& Kill the current window
0-9 Select windows 0 to 9
, Rename current window
. Renumber current window NO.
f Find plain in all windows
% Split the current pane into two, left and right
Split the current pane into two, top and bottom
q Show NO. of splited panes
; Switch to last pane
U/D/L/R Change to the pane above, below, left, or right
! Break the current pane out of the window.
x Kill the current pane
o Switch to next pane in current window
C-o Rotate all panes anti-clockwise
M-o Rotate all panes clockwise
C-U/D/L/R Resize the current pane in steps of one cell
M-U/D/L/R Resize the current pane in steps of five cells
Space Toggle in preset pane layouts including even-horizontal, even-vertical, main-horizontal, main-vertical, tiled
{ Swap the current pane with the previous pane
} Swap the current pane with the next pane
M-1 to M-5 Arrange panes
M-1 even-horizontal
M-2 even-vertical
M-3 main-horizontal
M-4 main-vertical
M-5 tiled


tmux.conf can be used to set options automatically on start up, much like how .vimrc or init.el are used.

# Example tmux.conf

### General

# Scrollback/History limit
set -g history-limit 2048

# Index Start
set -g base-index 1

# Mouse
set-option -g -q mouse on

# Force reload of config file
unbind r
bind r source-file ~/.tmux.conf

### Keybinds

# Unbind C-b as the default prefix
unbind C-b

# Set new default prefix
set-option -g prefix ` 

# Return to previous window when prefix is pressed twice
bind C-a last-window
bind ` last-window

# Allow swapping C-a and ` using F11/F12
bind F11 set-option -g prefix C-a
bind F12 set-option -g prefix `

# Keybind prefrence
setw -g mode-keys vi
set-option -g status-keys vi

# Moving between panes with vim movement keys
bind h select-pane -L
bind j select-pane -D
bind k select-pane -U
bind l select-pane -R

# Window Cycle/Swap
bind e previous-window
bind f next-window
bind E swap-window -t -1
bind F swap-window -t +1

# Easy split pane commands
bind = split-window -h
bind - split-window -v
unbind '"'
unbind %

# Activate inner-most session (when nesting tmux) to send commands
bind a send-prefix

### Theme

# Statusbar Color Palatte
set-option -g status-justify left
set-option -g status-bg black
set-option -g status-fg white
set-option -g status-left-length 40
set-option -g status-right-length 80

# Pane Border Color Palette
set-option -g pane-active-border-fg green
set-option -g pane-active-border-bg black
set-option -g pane-border-fg white
set-option -g pane-border-bg black

# Message Color Palette
set-option -g message-fg black
set-option -g message-bg green

# Window Status Color Palette
setw -g window-status-bg black
setw -g window-status-current-fg green
setw -g window-status-bell-attr default
setw -g window-status-bell-fg red
setw -g window-status-activity-attr default
setw -g window-status-activity-fg yellow

### UI

# Notification
setw -g monitor-activity on
set -g visual-activity on
set-option -g bell-action any
set-option -g visual-bell off

# Automatically set window titles
set-option -g set-titles on
set-option -g set-titles-string '#H:#S.#I.#P #W #T' # window number,program name,active (or not)

# Statusbar Adjustments
set -g status-left "#[fg=red] #H#[fg=green]:#[fg=white]#S#[fg=green] |#[default]"

# Show performance counters in statusbar
# Requires
set -g status-interval 4
set -g status-right "#[fg=green] | #[fg=white]#(tmux-mem-cpu-load)#[fg=green] | #[fg=cyan]%H:%M #[default]"

Copy and Paste

Acturally, there has two ways to copy and paste, at the same time, little differences between them.

+[ & +]

In this way, you will be just allowed to copy and paste in TMUX but not system clipboard. Do like this:

  • run <prefix>+[ to active Copy Mode;
  • enter <SPC> to start selecting region;
  • then enter <Enter>;
  • now, you can paste the contents by <prefix>+].

C-S-c & C-S-v

In this way, it can be used in all the system. In addition, you can active mouse mode. Do like this:

  • make sure that you have set set-option -g mouse on in ~/.tmux.conf;
  • press <Shift>, at the same time, use mouse to select the contents you want to copy;
  • then, press <C-S-c> to copy and press <C-S-v> to paste.