5 Useful Tips for Better Tmux Terminal Sessions

Are you tired of constantly opening and closing terminal windows or having to navigate through multiple sessions at once? Tmux (Terminal Multiplexer) is a powerful tool that can help you manage multiple terminal sessions within a single window. Here are 5 useful tips to improve your Tmux terminal sessions and enhance your productivity.

Learn Basics of Tmux

Before you start using Tmux, it's important to understand basic concepts and commands. Here are a few key terms −

  • Session − A collection of one or more windows.

  • Window − A single screen that contains one or more panes.

  • Pane − A rectangular space within a window that can run a command or display output.

Here are a few basic commands to get started −

  • tmux new-session − Creates a new Tmux session.

  • tmux attach-session − Attaches to an existing Tmux session.

  • tmux detach − Detaches from a Tmux session, leaving it running in background.

  • tmux list-sessions − Lists all running Tmux sessions.

With these basic commands, you can start using Tmux to manage your terminal sessions.

Customize Your Tmux Environment

One of benefits of Tmux is its flexibility and customization options. You can customize your Tmux environment to suit your needs, including changing color scheme, modifying status bar, and creating custom key bindings. Here are a few customization options −

Color Scheme

You can customize color scheme of your Tmux environment by modifying tmux.conf file. For example, you can change background color or color of status bar.

Status Bar

Status bar displays information about your Tmux session, including session name, window name, and current working directory. You can modify status bar by adding or removing information or changing its position.

Key Bindings

Tmux uses a variety of key bindings to perform actions, such as switching between windows or panes. You can customize these key bindings to suit your preferences by modifying tmux.conf file.

For example, to change color of status bar, you can add following line to your tmux.conf file −

set -g status-style bg=black,fg=white

Use Tmux for Remote Sessions

Tmux is not only useful for managing multiple terminal sessions on your local machine, but it can also be used for remote sessions. You can connect to a remote machine and manage multiple terminal sessions within a single Tmux window. Here are a few tips for using Tmux for remote sessions −

Connect to a Remote Machine

To connect to a remote machine, use ssh command. For example, to connect to a machine with IP address, use following command −

ssh user@

Start a New Tmux Session

Once you're connected to remote machine, start a new Tmux session by running tmux new-session command.

Detach From Session

If you need to disconnect from remote machine, use tmux detach command to detach from Tmux session. session will continue running in background.

Reattach to Session

To reattach to Tmux session, use tmux attach-session command.

Using Tmux for remote sessions can help you manage multiple terminal sessions on a remote machine without having to open multiple terminal windows.

Use Tmux with Vim

If you use Vim as your text editor, you can use Tmux to enhance your Vim experience. Tmux allows you to split your terminal window into multiple panes, which can be useful when working with multiple files or viewing multiple sections of a file at once. Here are a few tips for using Tmux with Vim −

Split Terminal Window

To split terminal window into two panes, use prefix % command. This will split window vertically, with one pane on left and one on right.

Switch Between Panes

Use prefix arrow keys command to switch between panes. For example, to switch to pane on left, use prefix left arrow command.

Open Vim in Each Pane

Once you have two panes, you can open Vim in each pane by running vim command. This will open Vim in current pane.

Use Vim Commands to Navigate Between Panes

Vim has a variety of commands for navigating between windows and buffers. For example, you can use :split command to split current window, or :bnext command to move to next buffer.

Using Tmux with Vim can help you be more productive when working with multiple files or sections of a file.

Use Tmux Plugins

Tmux has a variety of plugins that can enhance its functionality and provide additional features. Here are a few useful plugins to consider −

Tmux Resurrect

This plugin allows you to save and restore Tmux sessions, including all windows, panes, and processes. This can be useful if you need to reboot your machine or if your Tmux session is accidentally terminated.

Tmux Plugin Manager

This plugin manager makes it easy to install and manage Tmux plugins. It includes a variety of useful plugins, including ones for customizing status bar, improving pane management, and integrating with other tools like Vim and Git.

Tmux Copycat

This plugin provides advanced search and copy functionality within Tmux. It allows you to search for text within terminal output and copy it to clipboard.

Using Tmux plugins can help you customize and enhance your Tmux environment to better suit your needs.

Use Named Windows and Sessions

By default, Tmux assigns a number to each window and session, but you can assign a name to make it easier to identify. Use prefix , command to rename current window and prefix $ command to rename current session.

Resize Panes

You can resize panes in Tmux by using prefix + command to increase pane size or prefix - command to decrease it. You can also use prefix arrow keys command to resize panes horizontally or vertically.

Use Mouse Support

Tmux has built-in support for mouse input, which allows you to click on windows and panes to switch between them or resize them. To enable mouse support, add following line to your tmux.conf file.

Use Session and Window Templates

Tmux allows you to define templates for new sessions and windows, which can save you time and make it easier to manage your sessions. Use new-session -s session-name -n window-name command to create a new session with a specific name and window.

With these additional tips, you can further customize and streamline your Tmux environment to improve your productivity.


Tmux is a powerful tool that can help you manage multiple terminal sessions and improve your productivity. By learning basics, customizing your environment, using Tmux for remote sessions, using Tmux with Vim, using Tmux plugins, and implementing additional tips, you can take full advantage of Tmux and make your terminal sessions more efficient and effective.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started