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tmux cheatsheet

tmux cheat sheet

(C-x means ctrl+x, M-x means alt+x)

Prefix key

The default prefix is C-b. If you (or your muscle memory) prefer C-a, you need to add this to ~/.tmux.conf:

# remap prefix to Control + a
set -g prefix C-a
# bind 'C-a C-a' to type 'C-a'
bind C-a send-prefix
unbind C-b

I'm going to assume that C-a is your prefix.

Sessions, windows, panes

Session is a set of windows, plus a notion of which window is current.

Window is a single screen covered with panes. (Once might compare it to a ‘virtual desktop’ or a ‘space’.)

Pane is a rectangular part of a window that runs a specific command, e.g. a shell.

Getting help

Display a list of keyboard shortcuts:

C-a ?

Navigate using Vim or Emacs shortcuts, depending on the value of mode-keys. Emacs is the default, and if you want Vim shortcuts for help and copy modes (e.g. j, k, C-u, C-d), add the following line to ~/.tmux.conf:

setw -g mode-keys vi

Any command mentioned in this list can be executed as tmux something or C-a :something (or added to ~/.tmux.conf).

Managing sessions

Creating a session:

tmux new-session -s work

Create a new session that shares all windows with an existing session, but has its own separate notion of which window is current:

tmux new-session -s work2 -t work

Attach to a session:

tmux attach -t work

Detach from a session: C-a d.

Switch between sessions:

C-a (          previous session
C-a )          next session
C-a L          ‘last’ (previously used) session
C-a s          choose a session from a list


C-a $          rename the current session

Managing windows

Create a window:

C-a c          create a new window

Switch between windows:

C-a 1 ...      switch to window 1, ..., 9, 0
C-a 9
C-a 0
C-a p          previous window
C-a n          next window
C-a l          ‘last’ (previously used) window
C-a w          choose window from a list

Switch between windows with a twist:

C-a M-n        next window with a bell, activity or
               content alert
C-a M-p        previous such window


C-a ,          rename the current window
C-a &          kill the current window

Managing split panes

Creating a new pane by splitting an existing one:

C-a "          split vertically (top/bottom)
C-a %          split horizontally (left/right)

Switching between panes:

C-a left       go to the next pane on the left
C-a right      (or one of these other directions)
C-a up
C-a down
C-a o          go to the next pane (cycle through all of them)
C-a ;          go to the ‘last’ (previously used) pane

Moving panes around:

C-a {          move the current pane to the previous position
C-a }          move the current pane to the next position
C-a C-o        rotate window ‘up’ (i.e. move all panes)
C-a M-o        rotate window ‘down’
C-a !          move the current pane into a new separate
               window (‘break pane’)
C-a :move-pane -t :3.2
               split window 3's pane 2 and move the current pane there

Resizing panes:

C-a M-up, C-a M-down, C-a M-left, C-a M-right
               resize by 5 rows/columns
C-a C-up, C-a C-down, C-a C-left, C-a C-right
               resize by 1 row/column

Applying predefined layouts:

C-a M-1        switch to even-horizontal layout
C-a M-2        switch to even-vertical layout
C-a M-3        switch to main-horizontal layout
C-a M-4        switch to main-vertical layout
C-a M-5        switch to tiled layout
C-a space      switch to the next layout


C-a x          kill the current pane
C-a q          display pane numbers for a short while

Other config file settings

Force a reload of the config file on C-a r:

unbind r
bind r source-file ~/.tmux.conf

Some other settings that I use:

setw -g xterm-keys on
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R3DDY97 commented Oct 29, 2018


The -v and -h flags on split-window stand for “vertical” and “horizontal” splits,
but to tmux,
a vertical split means creating a new pane below the existing pane so the panes are stacked vertically on top of each other.

A horizontal split means creating a new pane next to the existing one so the panes are stacked horizontally across the screen.

So, in order to divide the window vertically, we use a “horizontal” split,
and to divide it horizontally, we use a “vertical” split

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asison-witekio commented Nov 8, 2018

Here is an easy to follow cheatsheet. HERE

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hktalent commented Dec 19, 2018

@asison-witekio @andreyvit @tsrivishnu
how ?

#tmux new -s xxx -d
tmux send -t xxx 'C-a "' Enter

tmux send-keys -t "$pane" C-z 'some -new command' Enter
tmux select-pane -t "$pane"
tmux select-window -t "$window"
tmux attach-session -t "$session"

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shikari7 commented Jul 28, 2019

A good alternative prefix key that I use with screen instead of C-a is C-\. I'll make this switch with tmux too.

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yuis-ice commented Feb 2, 2022

What a helpful doc. Thanks mate.

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MarkBennett commented Mar 15, 2022

I wish I could react to the original gist, but will comment to say cheers instead! 🍻

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