tmux is a terminal multiplexer. You can run programs inside a tmux session, detach session and continue running programs in background, reattach later.


tmux is available in all linux distributions. You can install it using your distribution’s package manager. In Arch Linux:

$ sudo pacman -S tmux


You can start tmux by invoking tmux command inside your terminal.


The default modifier key is Ctrl + b followed by a key. Press Ctrl + b and then hit another key and tmux will get it.

You can change the default keybindings in ~/.tmux.conf.

$ vi ~/.tmux.conf


unbind C-b
set option -g prefix `

Here I have removed the default prefix and have bounded “`” as prefix. I found it useful than default prefix.

Detach session

You can detach a tmux session by sending it Prefix followed by d.

Re attach session

You can reattach to a running tmux session by simply invoking tmux attach-session -t <target_session>. You can get session’s name using tmux ls.


By default, tmux will start a new window running a shell inside it. You can create new windows by pressing Prefix followed by c.

You can go to next window by pressing Prefix followed by n.

Or you can hit Prefix followed by w and tmux will show you windows opened and you can select which window you want to go to.

To kill a window, go to the window and hit Prefix followed by x.


A window can have multiple panes.

To split current window into two panes horizontally, hit Prefix followed by %. To split current window into two panes vertically, hit Prefix followed by ". To go to next pane, hit Prefix followed by o. To toggle between panes, hit Prefix followed by ;. To kill a pane you’re inside, hit Prefix followed by x.

My tmux.conf

Below is my customized tmux.conf. You can copy and then customize it to your needs, its well documented with comments.

$ cat ~/.tmux.conf

#  ██████████ ████     ████ ██     ██ ██     ██
# ░░░░░██░░░ ░██░██   ██░██░██    ░██░░██   ██
#     ░██    ░██░░██ ██ ░██░██    ░██ ░░██ ██
#     ░██    ░██ ░░███  ░██░██    ░██  ░░███
#     ░██    ░██  ░░█   ░██░██    ░██   ██░██
#     ░██    ░██   ░    ░██░██    ░██  ██ ░░██
#     ░██    ░██        ░██░░███████  ██   ░░██
#     ░░     ░░         ░░  ░░░░░░░  ░░     ░░
#  ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
# ░▓ Author ▓ AK <>
# ░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
# ░░░░░░░░░░

# source powerline
source /usr/lib/python3.8/site-packages/powerline/bindings/tmux/powerline.conf

# Custom Prefix
unbind C-b
set-option -g prefix `
bind ` send-prefix

# Shell
set -g default-command /bin/zsh
set -g default-shell /bin/zsh

# utf-8 support in status bar
#set -g status-utf8 on

# Reload the config
bind r source-file ~/.tmux.conf \; display "~/.tmux.conf reloaded"

# Synchronize panes
bind e setw synchronize-panes \; display "synchronize mode"

# Splits
unbind %
unbind '"'
bind h split-window -v
bind v split-window -h
#bind -n M-h send-keys

# enable vi-mode
setw -g mode-keys vi
set -g status-keys vi

# copy paste
unbind [
bind Escape copy-mode
unbind p
bind p paste-buffer
bind-key -T copy-mode-vi 'v' send -X begin-selection
bind-key -T copy-mode-vi 'y' send -X copy-pipe-and-cancel 'xclip -in -selection clipboard'

# command mode
bind : command-prompt

# Kill panes
bind x kill-pane

# Status on off key
bind t set status

# Lock the tty

bind b run-shell "$HOME/.local/bin/unilock"

# Alerts
setw -g monitor-activity on
set -g visual-activity on

# Enable mouse mode
setw -g mouse on

# Default terminal mode
set -g default-terminal 'screen-256color'

# Status and colors
set -g status-justify left
set -g status-interval 2
set -g status-bg colour25
set -g status-fg colour222

# Window status
set-option -g status-position bottom
setw -g window-status-format "#[bg=colour246, fg=colour14, bold] #W "
setw -g window-status-current-format "#[bg=colour25, fg=colour14, bold] #W "

# Right status
set -g status-right-length 100
set -g status-right  '#(~/.local/bin/tmux-status)'
set -g status-left-length 50
set -g status-left ''

# Visuals
setw -g monitor-activity on
set-option -g bell-action none
set-option -g visual-activity on
set-option -g visual-bell off
set-option -g visual-silence off

# clock
set -g clock-mode-colour colour20

# urlview
run-shell $HOME/.local/bin/tmux.urlview

# resize panes
setw -g aggressive-resize on

# No delay
set -sg escape-time 0

# History
set -g history-limit 10000

# Scrolling
set-option -g terminal-overrides 'xterm*:smcup@:rmcup@'

# Panes index
set -g pane-base-index 1
set -g renumber-windows on

# Windows index
set -g base-index 1

# Layouts
bind Z previous-layout
bind X next-layout

# Detach others
bind D detach -a

# Navigate and resize splits
is_vim="ps -o state= -o comm= -t '#{pane_tty}' \
    | grep -iqE '^[^TXZ ]+ +(\\S+\\/)?g?(view|n?vim?x?)(diff)?$'"
bind -n C-h if-shell "$is_vim" "send-keys C-h"  "select-pane -L"
bind -n C-j if-shell "$is_vim" "send-keys C-j"  "select-pane -D"
bind -n C-k if-shell "$is_vim" "send-keys C-k"  "select-pane -U"
bind -n C-l if-shell "$is_vim" "send-keys C-l"  "select-pane -R"
bind -n M-h if-shell "$is_vim" "send-keys M-h" "resize-pane -L 2"
bind -n M-l if-shell "$is_vim" "send-keys M-l" "resize-pane -R 2"
bind -n M-k if-shell "$is_vim" "send-keys M-k" "resize-pane -U 2"
bind -n M-j if-shell "$is_vim" "send-keys M-j" "resize-pane -D 2"

Auto start tmux on boot

I have these lines in my shell startup file ~/.zprofile.

$ cat ~/.zprofile

#  ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
# ░▓ Author ▓ Abdullah <>
# ░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
# ░░░░░░░░░░

# Start X at login

if [[ -z $DISPLAY ]] && [[ $(tty) = /dev/tty1 ]]; then
  exec startx -- vt1 -keeptty &>/dev/null
elif [[ $(tty) != /dev/tty1 ]]; then
  sudo loadkeys $HOME/.loadkeysrc
  tmux has-session -t $USER || tmux new-session -t $USER && tmux attach-session -t $USER

So if I login from other than tty1, and if there is an already running tmux session, it attaches me to it. Else starts a new session and get me there. 😉