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Oh My Tmux! My pretty + versatile tmux configuration that just works (imho the best tmux configuration)
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README.md updated README.me referencing tmux2 book by @bphogan 2017-07-09 10:48:26 +02:00


Self-contained, pretty and versatile .tmux.conf configuration file.




  • tmux >= 2.1 running inside Linux, Mac, OpenBSD, Cygwin or WSL (Bash on Ubuntu on Windows)
  • outside of tmux, $TERM must be set to xterm-256color

To install, run the following from your terminal: (you may want to backup your existing ~/.tmux.conf first)

$ cd
$ git clone https://github.com/gpakosz/.tmux.git
$ ln -s -f .tmux/.tmux.conf
$ cp .tmux/.tmux.conf.local .

Then proceed to customize your ~/.tmux.conf.local copy.

If you're a Vim user, setting the $EDITOR environment variable to vim will enable and further customize the vi-style key bindings (see tmux manual).

If you're new to tmux, I recommmend you read tmux 2: Productive Mouse-Free Development by @bphogan.


  • I'm running tmux HEAD and things don't work properly. What should I do?

    Please open an issue describing what doesn't work with upcoming tmux. I'll do my best to address it.

  • Status line is broken and/or gets duplicated at the bottom of the screen. What gives?

    This particularly happens on Linux when the distribution provides a version of glib that received Unicode 9.0 upgrades (glib >= 2.50.1) while providing a version of glibc that didn't (glibc < 2.26). You may also configure LC_CTYPE to use an UTF-8 locale. Typically VTE based terminal emulators rely on glib's g_unichar_iswide() function while tmux relies on glibc's wcwidth() function. When these two functions disagree, display gets messed up.

    This can also happen on macOS when using iTerm2 and "Use Unicode version 9 character widths" is enabled in Preferences... > Profiles > Text

    For that reason, the default ~/.tmux.conf.local file stopped using Unicode characters for which width changed in between Unicode 8.0 and 9.0 standards, as well as Emojis.

  • I installed Powerline and/or (patched) fonts but can't see Powerline symbols.

    First, you don't need to install Powerline. You only need fonts patched with Powerline symbols or the standalone PowerlineSymbols.otf font. Then make sure your ~/.tmux.conf.local copy uses the right code points for tmux_conf_theme_left_separator_XXX values.

  • I'm using Bash On Windows (WSL), colors and Powerline look are broken.

    There is currently a bug in the new console powering Bash On Windows preventing text attributes (bold, underscore, ...) to combine properly with colors. The workaround is to search your ~/.tmux.conf.local copy and replace attributes with 'none'.

    Also, until Window's console replaces its GDI based render with a DirectWrite one, Powerline symbols will be broken.

    The alternative is to use the Mintty terminal for WSL.


  • C-a acts as secondary prefix, while keeping default C-b prefix
  • visual theme inspired by Powerline
  • maximize any pane to a new window with <prefix> +
  • SSH aware username and hostname status line information
  • mouse mode toggle with <prefix> m
  • automatic usage of reattach-to-user-namespace if available
  • laptop battery status line information
  • uptime status line information
  • optional highlight of focused pane (tmux >= 2.1)
  • configurable new windows and panes behavior (optionally retain current path)
  • SSH aware split pane (reconnects to remote server, experimental)
  • copy to OS clipboard (needs reattach-to-user-namespace on macOS, xsel or xclip on Linux)
  • Facebook PathPicker integration if available
  • Urlview integration if available

tmux may be controlled from an attached client by using a key combination of a prefix key, followed by a command key. This configuration uses C-a as a secondary prefix while keeping C-b as the default prefix. In the following list of key bindings:

  • <prefix> means you have to either hit Ctrl + a or Ctrl + b
  • <prefix> c means you have to hit Ctrl + a or Ctrl + b followed by c
  • <prefix> C-c means you have to hit Ctrl + a or Ctrl + b followed by Ctrl + c

This configuration uses the following bindings:

  • <prefix> C-c creates a new session
  • <prefix> e opens ~/.tmux.conf.local with the editor defined by the $EDITOR environment variable (defaults to vim when empty)
  • <prefix> r reloads the configuration
  • <prefix> C-f lets you switch to another session by name
  • <prefix> C-h and <prefix> C-l let you navigate windows (default <prefix> n and <prefix> p are unbound)
  • <prefix> Tab brings you to the last active window
  • <prefix> h, <prefix> j, <prefix> k and <prefix> l let you navigate panes ala Vim
  • <prefix> H, <prefix> J, <prefix> K, <prefix> L let you resize panes
  • <prefix> < and <prefix> > let you swap panes
  • <prefix> + maximizes the current pane to a new window
  • <prefix> m toggles mouse mode on or off
  • <prefix> U launches Urlview (if available)
  • <prefix> F launches Facebook PathPicker (if available)
  • <prefix> Enter enters copy-mode
  • <prefix> b lists the paste-buffers
  • <prefix> p pastes from the top paste-buffer
  • <prefix> P lets you choose the paste-buffer to paste from
  • C-l clears both the screen and the history

Additionally, vi-choice, vi-edit and vi-copy named tables are adjusted to closely match my own Vim configuration

Bindings for the vi-choice mode-table:

  • h collapses the current tree node
  • l expands the current tree node
  • H collapses all the tree nodes
  • L expands all the tree nodes
  • K jumps to the start of list (tmux 2.0+)
  • L jumps to the end of list (tmux 2.0+)
  • Escape cancels the current operation

Bindings for the vi-edit mode-table:

  • H jumps to the start of line
  • L jumps to the end of line
  • q cancels the current operation
  • Escape cancels the current operation

Bindings for the vi-copy mode-table:

  • v begins selection / visual mode
  • C-v toggles between blockwise visual mode and visual mode
  • H jumps to the start of line
  • L jumps to the end of line
  • y copies the selection to the top paste-buffer
  • Escape cancels the current operation

The "maximize any pane to a new window with <prefix> +" feature is different from builtin resize-pane -Z as it allows you to further split a maximized pane. It's also more flexible by allowing you to maximize a pane to a new window, then change window, then go back and the pane is still in maximized state in its own window. You can then minimize a pane by using <prefix> + either from the source window or the maximized window.

Maximize pane

Mouse mode allows you to set the active window, set the active pane, resize panes and automatically switches to copy-mode to select text.

Mouse mode


While this configuration tries to bring sane default settings, you may want to customize it further to your needs. Instead of altering the ~/.tmux.conf file and diverging from upstream, the proper way is to edit the ~/.tmux.conf.local file.

Please refer to the default ~/.tmux.conf.local file to know more about variables you can adjust to alter different behaviors. Pressing <prefix> e will open ~/.tmux.conf.local with the editor defined by the $EDITOR environment variable (defaults to vim when empty).

Enabling the Powerline look

Powerline originated as a status-line plugin for Vim. Its popular eye-catching look is based on the use of special symbols: Powerline Symbols

To make use of these symbols, there are several options:

Please see the Powerline manual for further details.

Then edit the ~/.tmux.conf.local file (<prefix> e) and adjust the following variables:


Configuring the status line

Contrary to the first iterations of this configuration, by now you have total control on the content and order of status-left and status-right.

Edit the ~/.tmux.conf.local file (<prefix> e) and adjust the tmux_conf_theme_status_left and tmux_conf_theme_status_right variables to your own preferences.

This configuration supports the following builtin variables:

  • #{battery_bar}: horizontal battery charge bar
  • #{battery_percentage}: battery percentage
  • #{battery_status}: is battery charging or discharging?
  • #{battery_vbar}: vertical battery charge bar
  • #{circled_session_name}: circled session number, up to 20
  • #{hostname}: SSH aware hostname information
  • #{hostname_ssh}: SSH aware hostname information, blank when no SSH connection detected
  • #{loadavg}: load average
  • #{pairing}: is session attached to more than one client?
  • #{prefix}: is prefix being depressed?
  • #{root}: is current user root?
  • #{uptime_d}: uptime days
  • #{uptime_h}: uptime hours
  • #{uptime_m}: uptime minutes
  • #{uptime_s}: uptime seconds
  • #{username}: SSH aware username information
  • #{username_ssh}: SSH aware username information, blank when no SSH connection detected

Accessing the macOS clipboard from within tmux sessions

Chris Johnsen created the reattach-to-user-namespace utility that makes pbcopy and pbpaste work again within tmux.

To install reattach-to-user-namespace, use either MacPorts or Homebrew:

$ port install tmux-pasteboard


$ brew install reattach-to-user-namespace

Once installed, reattach-to-usernamespace will be automatically detected.

Using the configuration under Cygwin within Mintty

I don't recommend running this configuration with Cygwin anymore. Forking under Cygwin is extremely slow and this configuration issues a lot of run-shell commands under the hood. As such, you will experience high CPU usage. As an alternative consider using Mintty terminal for WSL.


It is possible to use this configuration under Cygwin within Mintty, however support for Unicode symbols and emojis lacks behind Mac and Linux.

Particularly, Mintty's text rendering is implemented with GDI which has limitations:

  • color emojis are only available through DirectWrite starting with Windows 8.1
  • display of double width symbols, like the battery discharging symbol indicator (U+1F50B) is buggy

To get Unicode symbols displayed properly, you have to use font linking. Open regedit.exe then navigate to the registry key at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontLink\SystemLink and add a new entry for you preferred font to link it with the Segoe UI Symbol font.