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Last active Mar 31, 2017
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tmux basics


Install on Mac using brew install tmux and start with tmux

main commands

See help (list of commands) with Control-b ? key combination. Leave help view by pressing q key. From now on use Control-b (aka C-b) to start all tmux commands (C-b is called command prefix and can be changed, see tmux.config options).


Split into vertical panes C-b % and navigate left - right using C-b LEFT and C-b RIGHT. Split pane horizontally using C-b ". To close a pane either type command exit or C-d.

Windows (collections of panes)

To start new tmux window use C-b c (c stands for create). Then you can navigate back and forth using C-b n and C-b p (as in next and previous).


Detach from a session, but leave it running in the background C-b d (lowercase d stands for detach). See list of tmux sessions from "normal" terminal tmux ls. Then attach to specific name of the session (first column) using tmux attach -t <name>. To rename the current session use C-b $.

  • To see and switch to another session from inside tmux use C-b s (lower case s stands for session) or by pressing C-b ( and C-b )
  • Rename a session from outside tmux using tmux rename-session -t <name> <new name>
  • Create a new session from terminal right tmux new -t <name>
  • Kill session from a terminal tmux kill-session -t <name>

Cool thing about tmux sessions - they stay even if you accidentally close the terminal application.

Pane zoom

Zoom in / out for a ssingle pane using C-b z


You can change tmux options by creating ~/.tmux.conf file. For example to use C-a as a prefix instead of C-b you can enter the following:

# set C-a as the prefix combination
unbind C-b
set-option -g prefix C-a
bind-key C-a send-prefix

Exit all tmux sessions and start again for changes to take effect. Or reload the config file from the tmux itself using prefix : then typing source ~/.tmux.conf and "enter". You can even bind a key to quickly source the config file by having in the file itself

# easy reloading
bind R source-file ~/.tmux.conf


You cannot scroll through the previous output in a pane using mouse. You need to switch to copy mode using prefix [ and then use up and down arrows. Use q to quit the copy mode.

Mouse mode

You can enable mouse mode to allow switching panes, resizing them and even scrolling using mouse by typing prefix : and then set mouse on. A good idea is to enable keys to quickly switch mouse mode on and off in your ~/.tmux.conf file

# mouse mode keys
bind m set -g mouse on
bind M set -g mouse off

extra info

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