Getting started with tmux



In this post, we will write about tmux, which is a terminal multiplexer, a lot like GNU Screen but much more powerful. If you spend a lot of time in a CLI, then you’ll love tmux.

What is tmux?

According to the tmux authors:

tmux is a terminal multiplexer. What is a terminal multiplexer? It lets you switch easily between several programs in one terminal, detach them (they keep running in the background) and reattach them to a different terminal. And do a lot more.


Installation is pretty straightforward if you have Ubuntu or any other Debian-based distribution you can install tmux with:

sudo apt-get install tmux

on CentOS/Fedora:

yum install tmux

and on MacOS:

brew install tmux

After installation, to start tmux run tmux in your terminal window.

Configuration & Prefix key

The global configuration file is located at /etc/tmux.conf and the user specific configuration file is located at ~/.tmux.conf. The default prefix is Ctrl-b but if you want to change it to Ctrl-a (GNU Screen’s default prefix), you need to add the following code to your ~/.tmux.conf file:

unbind C-b
set -g prefix C-a
bind C-a send-prefix

Session Management

tmux is developed on a client-server model which means that the session is stored on the server and persist beyond ssh logout.

The following command will create a new session called mysession:

tmux new-session -s mysession

To attach to a session run:

tmux attach -t mysession

To list all session run:

tmux ls

You can kill a session using the following command:

tmux kill-session -t mysession

Frequently used sessions commands

Ctrl-b d	  Detach from the current session 
Ctrl-b (          Go to previous session
Ctrl-b )          Go to next session
Ctrl-b L          Go to previously used session
Ctrl-b s          Choose a session from the sessions list

Windows (tabs) Management

Each session can have multiple windows. By default all windows are numbered starting from zero.

Frequently used windows (tabs) commands

Ctrl-b 1  Switch to window 1
Ctrl-b c  Create new window
Ctrl-b w  List all windows
Ctrl-b n  Go to next window
Ctrl-b p  Go to previous window
Ctrl-b f  Find window
Ctrl-b ,  Name window
Ctrl-b w  Choose a window from the windows list
Ctrl-b &  Kill the current window

Panes Management

With tmux, you can split windows into multiple panes.

Frequently used panes commands

Ctrl-b "		Split the pane vertically (top/bottom)
Ctrl-b %		Split the pane horizontally (left/right)
Ctrl-b q		Show pane numbers
Ctrl-b x		Kill the current pane
Ctrl-b +		Break pane into window
Ctrl-b -		Restore pane from window
Ctrl-b left		Go to the next pane on the left
Ctrl-b right            Go to the next pane on the right
Ctrl-b up		Go to the next pane on the top
Ctrl-b down		Go to the next pane on the bottom
Ctrl-b o                Cycle through all panes
Ctrl-b ;                Go to previously used pane



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