TMATE(1) General Commands Manual TMATE(1)

tmateterminal multiplexer

tmate [-2CluvV] [-c shell-command] [-f file] [-L socket-name] [-S socket-path] [command [flags]]

tmate is a terminal multiplexer: it enables a number of terminals to be created, accessed, and controlled from a single screen. tmate may be detached from a screen and continue running in the background, then later reattached.

When tmate is started it creates a new session with a single window and displays it on screen. A status line at the bottom of the screen shows information on the current session and is used to enter interactive commands.

A session is a single collection of under the management of tmate. Each session has one or more windows linked to it. A window occupies the entire screen and may be split into rectangular panes, each of which is a separate pseudo terminal (the pty(4) manual page documents the technical details of pseudo terminals). Any number of tmate instances may connect to the same session, and any number of windows may be present in the same session. Once all sessions are killed, tmate exits.

Each session is persistent and will survive accidental disconnection (such as ssh(1) connection timeout) or intentional detaching (with the ‘C-b d’ key strokes). tmate may be reattached using:

$ tmate attach

In tmate, a session is displayed on screen by a and all sessions are managed by a single server. The server and each client are separate processes which communicate through a socket in /tmp.

The options are as follows:

Force tmate to assume the terminal supports 256 colours.
Start in control mode (see the CONTROL MODE section). Given twice (-CC) disables echo.
Execute shell-command using the default shell. If necessary, the tmate server will be started to retrieve the default-shell option. This option is for compatibility with sh(1) when tmate is used as a login shell.
Specify an alternative configuration file. By default, tmate loads the system configuration file from /etc/tmux.conf, if present, then looks for a user configuration file at ~/.tmux.conf and ~/.tmate.conf.

The configuration file is a set of tmate commands which are executed in sequence when the server is first started. tmate loads configuration files once when the server process has started. The source-file command may be used to load a file later.

tmate shows any error messages from commands in configuration files in the first session created, and continues to process the rest of the configuration file.

tmate stores the server socket in a directory under TMUX_TMPDIR or /tmp if it is unset. The default socket is named . This option allows a different socket name to be specified, allowing several independent tmate servers to be run. Unlike -S a full path is not necessary: the sockets are all created in the same directory.

If the socket is accidentally removed, the SIGUSR1 signal may be sent to the tmate server process to recreate it (note that this will fail if any parent directories are missing).

Behave as a login shell. This flag currently has no effect and is for compatibility with other shells when using tmate as a login shell.
Specify a full alternative path to the server socket. If -S is specified, the default socket directory is not used and any -L flag is ignored.
tmate attempts to guess if the terminal is likely to support UTF-8 by checking the first of the LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE and LANG environment variables to be set for the string "UTF-8". This is not always correct: the -u flag explicitly informs tmate that UTF-8 is supported.

Note that tmate itself always accepts UTF-8; this controls whether it will send UTF-8 characters to the terminal it is running (if not, they are replaced by ‘_’).

Request verbose logging. This option may be specified multiple times for increasing verbosity. Log messages will be saved into tmux-client-PID.log and tmux-server-PID.log files in the current directory, where is the PID of the server or client process.
Report the tmate version.
command [flags]
This specifies one of a set of commands used to control tmate, as described in the following sections. If no commands are specified, the new-session command is assumed.


tmate may be controlled from an attached client by using a key combination of a prefix key, ‘C-b’ (Ctrl-b) by default, followed by a command key.

The default command key bindings are:

Send the prefix key (C-b) through to the application.
Rotate the panes in the current window forwards.
Suspend the tmate client.
Break the current pane out of the window.
Split the current pane into two, top and bottom.
List all paste buffers.
Rename the current session.
Split the current pane into two, left and right.
Kill the current window.
Prompt for a window index to select.
Switch the attached client to the previous session.
Switch the attached client to the next session.
Rename the current window.
Delete the most recently copied buffer of text.
Prompt for an index to move the current window.
0 to 9
Select windows 0 to 9.
Enter the tmate command prompt.
Move to the previously active pane.
Choose which buffer to paste interactively from a list.
List all key bindings.
Choose a client to detach.
Switch the attached client back to the last session.
Enter copy mode to copy text or view the history.
Paste the most recently copied buffer of text.
Create a new window.
Detach the current client.
Prompt to search for text in open windows.
Display some information about the current window.
Move to the previously selected window.
Change to the next window.
Select the next pane in the current window.
Change to the previous window.
Briefly display pane indexes.
Force redraw of the attached client.
Mark the current pane (see select-pane -m).
Clear the marked pane.
Select a new session for the attached client interactively.
Show the time.
Choose the current window interactively.
Kill the current pane.
Toggle zoom state of the current pane.
Swap the current pane with the previous pane.
Swap the current pane with the next pane.
Show previous messages from tmate, if any.
Page Up
Enter copy mode and scroll one page up.
Up, Down
Left, Right
Change to the pane above, below, to the left, or to the right of the current pane.
M-1 to M-5
Arrange panes in one of the five preset layouts: even-horizontal, even-vertical, main-horizontal, main-vertical, or tiled.
Arrange the current window in the next preset layout.
Move to the next window with a bell or activity marker.
Rotate the panes in the current window backwards.
Move to the previous window with a bell or activity marker.
C-Up, C-Down
C-Left, C-Right
Resize the current pane in steps of one cell.
M-Up, M-Down
M-Left, M-Right
Resize the current pane in steps of five cells.

Key bindings may be changed with the bind-key and unbind-key commands.

This section contains a list of the commands supported by tmate. Most commands accept the optional -t (and sometimes -s) argument with one of target-client, target-session target-window, or target-pane. These specify the client, session, window or pane which a command should affect.

target-client is the name of the pty(4) file to which the client is connected, for example either of /dev/ttyp1 or ttyp1 for the client attached to /dev/ttyp1. If no client is specified, tmate attempts to work out the client currently in use; if that fails, an error is reported. Clients may be listed with the list-clients command.

target-session is tried as, in order:

  1. A session ID prefixed with a $.
  2. An exact name of a session (as listed by the list-sessions command).
  3. The start of a session name, for example ‘mysess’ would match a session named ‘mysession’.
  4. An fnmatch(3) pattern which is matched against the session name.

If the session name is prefixed with an ‘=’, only an exact match is accepted (so ‘=mysess’ will only match exactly ‘mysess’, not ‘mysession’).

If a single session is found, it is used as the target session; multiple matches produce an error. If a session is omitted, the current session is used if available; if no current session is available, the most recently used is chosen.

target-window (or src-window or dst-window) specifies a window in the form session:window. session follows the same rules as for target-session, and window is looked for in order as:

  1. A special token, listed below.
  2. A window index, for example ‘mysession:1’ is window 1 in session ‘mysession’.
  3. A window ID, such as @1.
  4. An exact window name, such as ‘mysession:mywindow’.
  5. The start of a window name, such as ‘mysession:mywin’.
  6. As an fnmatch(3) pattern matched against the window name.

Like sessions, a ‘=’ prefix will do an exact match only. An empty window name specifies the next unused index if appropriate (for example the new-window and link-window commands) otherwise the current window in session is chosen.

The following special tokens are available to indicate particular windows. Each has a single-character alternative form.

^ The lowest-numbered window
$ The highest-numbered window
! The last (previously current) window
+ The next window by number
- The previous window by number

target-pane (or src-pane or dst-pane) may be a pane ID or takes a similar form to target-window but with the optional addition of a period followed by a pane index or pane ID, for example: ‘mysession:mywindow.1’. If the pane index is omitted, the currently active pane in the specified window is used. The following special tokens are available for the pane index:

! The last (previously active) pane
+ The next pane by number
- The previous pane by number
The top pane
The bottom pane
The leftmost pane
The rightmost pane
The top-left pane
The top-right pane
The bottom-left pane
The bottom-right pane
The pane above the active pane
The pane below the active pane
The pane to the left of the active pane
The pane to the right of the active pane

The tokens ‘+’ and ‘-’ may be followed by an offset, for example:

select-window -t:+2

In addition, , or may consist entirely of the token ‘{mouse}’ (alternative form ‘=’) to specify the most recent mouse event (see the MOUSE SUPPORT section) or ‘{marked}’ (alternative form ‘~’) to specify the marked pane (see select-pane -m).

Sessions, window and panes are each numbered with a unique ID; session IDs are prefixed with a ‘$’, windows with a ‘@’, and panes with a ‘%’. These are unique and are unchanged for the life of the session, window or pane in the tmate server. The pane ID is passed to the child process of the pane in the TMUX_PANE environment variable. IDs may be displayed using the ‘session_id’, ‘window_id’, or ‘pane_id’ formats (see the FORMATS section) and the display-message, list-sessions, list-windows or list-panes commands.

shell-command arguments are sh(1) commands. This may be a single argument passed to the shell, for example:

new-window 'vi /etc/passwd'

Will run:

/bin/sh -c 'vi /etc/passwd'

Additionally, the new-window, new-session, split-window, respawn-window and respawn-pane commands allow shell-command to be given as multiple arguments and executed directly (without ‘sh -c’). This can avoid issues with shell quoting. For example:

$ tmate new-window vi /etc/passwd

Will run vi(1) directly without invoking the shell.

command [arguments] refers to a tmate command, passed with the command and arguments separately, for example:

bind-key F1 set-window-option force-width 81

Or if using sh(1):

$ tmate bind-key F1 set-window-option force-width 81

Multiple commands may be specified together as part of a . Each command should be separated by spaces and a semicolon; commands are executed sequentially from left to right and lines ending with a backslash continue on to the next line, except when escaped by another backslash. A literal semicolon may be included by escaping it with a backslash (for example, when specifying a command sequence to bind-key).

Example tmate commands include:

refresh-client -t/dev/ttyp2

rename-session -tfirst newname

set-window-option -t:0 monitor-activity on

new-window ; split-window -d

bind-key R source-file ~/.tmux.conf \; \
	display-message "source-file done"

Or from sh(1):

$ tmate kill-window -t :1

$ tmate new-window \; split-window -d

$ tmate new-session -d 'vi /etc/passwd' \; split-window -d \; attach

The tmate server manages clients, sessions, windows and panes. Clients are attached to sessions to interact with them, either when they are created with the new-session command, or later with the attach-session command. Each session has one or more windows into it. Windows may be linked to multiple sessions and are made up of one or more panes, each of which contains a pseudo terminal. Commands for creating, linking and otherwise manipulating windows are covered in the WINDOWS AND PANES section.

The following commands are available to manage clients and sessions:

[-dEr] [-c working-directory] [-t target-session]
(alias: attach
) If run from outside tmate, create a new client in the current terminal and attach it to target-session. If used from inside, switch the current client. If -d is specified, any other clients attached to the session are detached. -r signifies the client is read-only (only keys bound to the detach-client or switch-client commands have any effect)

If no server is started, attach-session will attempt to start it; this will fail unless sessions are created in the configuration file.

The target-session rules for attach-session are slightly adjusted: if tmate needs to select the most recently used session, it will prefer the most recently used session.

-c will set the session working directory (used for new windows) to working-directory.

If -E is used, the update-environment option will not be applied.

[-aP] [-s target-session] [-t target-client]
(alias: detach
) Detach the current client if bound to a key, the client specified with -t, or all clients currently attached to the session specified by -s. The -a option kills all but the client given with -t. If -P is given, send SIGHUP to the parent process of the client, typically causing it to exit.
[-t target-session]
(alias: has
) Report an error and exit with 1 if the specified session does not exist. If it does exist, exit with 0.
Kill the tmate server and clients and destroy all sessions.
[-aC] [-t target-session]
Destroy the given session, closing any windows linked to it and no other sessions, and detaching all clients attached to it. If -a is given, all sessions but the specified one is killed. The -C flag clears alerts (bell, activity, or silence) in all windows linked to the session.
[-F format] [-t target-session]
(alias: lsc
) List all clients attached to the server. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section. If target-session is specified, list only clients connected to that session.
(alias: lscm
) List the syntax of all commands supported by tmate.
[-F format]
(alias: ls
) List all sessions managed by the server. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section.
[-t target-client]
(alias: lockc
) Lock target-client, see the lock-server command.
[-t target-session]
(alias: locks
) Lock all clients attached to target-session.
[-AdDEP] [-c start-directory] [-F format] [-n window-name] [-s session-name] [-t target-session] [-x width] [-y height] [shell-command]
(alias: new
) Create a new session with name session-name.

The new session is attached to the current terminal unless -d is given. window-name and shell-command are the name of and shell command to execute in the initial window. If -d is used, -x and -y specify the size of the initial window (80 by 24 if not given).

If run from a terminal, any termios(4) special characters are saved and used for new windows in the new session.

The -A flag makes new-session behave like attach-session if session-name already exists; in this case, -D behaves like -d to attach-session.

If -t is given, the new session is with target-session. This means they share the same set of windows - all windows from target-session are linked to the new session, any new windows are linked to both sessions and any windows closed removed from both sessions. The current and previous window and any session options remain independent and either session may be killed without affecting the other. -n and shell-command are invalid if -t is used.

The -P option prints information about the new session after it has been created. By default, it uses the format ‘#{session_name}:’ but a different format may be specified with -F.

If -E is used, the update-environment option will not be applied.

[-S] [-t target-client]
(alias: refresh
) Refresh the current client if bound to a key, or a single client if one is given with -t. If -S is specified, only update the client's status bar.
[-t target-session] new-name
(alias: rename
) Rename the session to new-name.
[-JT] [-t target-client]
(alias: showmsgs
) Show client messages or server information. Any messages displayed on the status line are saved in a per-client message log, up to a maximum of the limit set by the message-limit server option. With -t, display the log for target-client. -J and -T show debugging information about jobs and terminals.
(alias: source
) Execute commands from path.
(alias: start
) Start the tmate server, if not already running, without creating any sessions.
[-t target-client]
(alias: suspendc
) Suspend a client by sending SIGTSTP (tty stop).
[-Elnpr] [-c target-client] [-t target-session] [-T key-table]
(alias: switchc
) Switch the current session for client target-client to target-session. If -l, -n or -p is used, the client is moved to the last, next or previous session respectively. -r toggles whether a client is read-only (see the attach-session command).

If -E is used, update-environment option will not be applied.

-T sets the client's key table; the next key from the client will be interpreted from key-table. This may be used to configure multiple prefix keys, or to bind commands to sequences of keys. For example, to make typing ‘abc’ run the list-keys command:

bind-key -Ttable2 c list-keys
bind-key -Ttable1 b switch-client -Ttable2
bind-key -Troot   a switch-client -Ttable1

A tmate window may be in one of several modes. The default permits direct access to the terminal attached to the window. The other is copy mode, which permits a section of a window or its history to be copied to a paste buffer for later insertion into another window. This mode is entered with the copy-mode command, bound to ‘[’ by default. It is also entered when a command that produces output, such as list-keys, is executed from a key binding.

The keys available depend on whether emacs or vi mode is selected (see the mode-keys option). The following keys are supported as appropriate for the mode:

^ M-m
G M-<
Escape C-g
Enter M-w
j Down
h Left
l Right
M M-r
k Up
d C-u
D C-k
$ C-e
: g
C-d M-Down
C-u M-Up
; ;
, ,
f f
C-f Page down
e M-f
p C-y
C-b Page up
b M-b
q Escape
v R
C-Down or C-e C-Down
C-Up or C-y C-Up
? C-r
/ C-s
0 C-a
Space C-Space
g M->

The next and previous word keys use space and the ‘-’, ‘_’ and ‘@’ characters as word delimiters by default, but this can be adjusted by setting the word-separators session option. Next word moves to the start of the next word, next word end to the end of the next word and previous word to the start of the previous word. The three next and previous space keys work similarly but use a space alone as the word separator.

The jump commands enable quick movement within a line. For instance, typing ‘f’ followed by ‘/’ will move the cursor to the next ‘/’ character on the current line. A ‘;’ will then jump to the next occurrence.

Commands in copy mode may be prefaced by an optional repeat count. With vi key bindings, a prefix is entered using the number keys; with emacs, the Alt (meta) key and a number begins prefix entry. For example, to move the cursor forward by ten words, use ‘M-1 0 M-f’ in emacs mode, and ‘10w’ in vi.

Mode key bindings are defined in a set of named tables: vi-edit and emacs-edit for keys used when line editing at the command prompt; vi-choice and emacs-choice for keys used when choosing from lists (such as produced by the choose-window command); and vi-copy and emacs-copy used in copy mode. The tables may be viewed with the list-keys command and keys modified or removed with bind-key and unbind-key. If append-selection, copy-selection, or start-named-buffer are given the -x flag, tmate will not exit copy mode after copying. copy-pipe copies the selection and pipes it to a command. For example the following will bind ‘C-w’ not to exit after copying and ‘C-q’ to copy the selection into /tmp as well as the paste buffer:

bind-key -temacs-copy C-w copy-selection -x
bind-key -temacs-copy C-q copy-pipe "cat >/tmp/out"

The paste buffer key pastes the first line from the top paste buffer on the stack.

The synopsis for the copy-mode command is:

[-Meu] [-t target-pane]
Enter copy mode. The -u option scrolls one page up. -M begins a mouse drag (only valid if bound to a mouse key binding, see MOUSE SUPPORT). -e specifies that scrolling to the bottom of the history (to the visible screen) should exit copy mode. While in copy mode, pressing a key other than those used for scrolling will disable this behaviour. This is intended to allow fast scrolling through a pane's history, for example with:
bind PageUp copy-mode -eu

Each window displayed by tmate may be split into one or more ; each pane takes up a certain area of the display and is a separate terminal. A window may be split into panes using the split-window command. Windows may be split horizontally (with the -h flag) or vertically. Panes may be resized with the resize-pane command (bound to ‘C-up’, ‘C-down’ ‘C-left’ and ‘C-right’ by default), the current pane may be changed with the select-pane command and the rotate-window and swap-pane commands may be used to swap panes without changing their position. Panes are numbered beginning from zero in the order they are created.

A number of preset are available. These may be selected with the select-layout command or cycled with next-layout (bound to ‘Space’ by default); once a layout is chosen, panes within it may be moved and resized as normal.

The following layouts are supported:

Panes are spread out evenly from left to right across the window.
Panes are spread evenly from top to bottom.
A large (main) pane is shown at the top of the window and the remaining panes are spread from left to right in the leftover space at the bottom. Use the main-pane-height window option to specify the height of the top pane.
Similar to main-horizontal but the large pane is placed on the left and the others spread from top to bottom along the right. See the main-pane-width window option.
Panes are spread out as evenly as possible over the window in both rows and columns.

In addition, select-layout may be used to apply a previously used layout - the list-windows command displays the layout of each window in a form suitable for use with select-layout. For example:

$ tmate list-windows
0: ksh [159x48]
    layout: bb62,159x48,0,0{79x48,0,0,79x48,80,0}
$ tmate select-layout bb62,159x48,0,0{79x48,0,0,79x48,80,0}

tmate automatically adjusts the size of the layout for the current window size. Note that a layout cannot be applied to a window with more panes than that from which the layout was originally defined.

Commands related to windows and panes are as follows:

[-dP] [-F format] [-s src-pane] [-t dst-window]
(alias: breakp
) Break src-pane off from its containing window to make it the only pane in dst-window. If -d is given, the new window does not become the current window. The -P option prints information about the new window after it has been created. By default, it uses the format ‘#{session_name}:#{window_index}’ but a different format may be specified with -F.
[-aepPq] [-b buffer-name] [-E end-line] [-S start-line] [-t target-pane]
(alias: capturep
) Capture the contents of a pane. If -p is given, the output goes to stdout, otherwise to the buffer specified with -b or a new buffer if omitted. If -a is given, the alternate screen is used, and the history is not accessible. If no alternate screen exists, an error will be returned unless -q is given. If -e is given, the output includes escape sequences for text and background attributes. -C also escapes non-printable characters as octal \xxx. -J joins wrapped lines and preserves trailing spaces at each line's end. -P captures only any output that the pane has received that is the beginning of an as-yet incomplete escape sequence.

-S and -E specify the starting and ending line numbers, zero is the first line of the visible pane and negative numbers are lines in the history. ‘-’ to -S is the start of the history and to -E the end of the visible pane. The default is to capture only the visible contents of the pane.

[-F format] [-t target-window] [template]
Put a window into client choice mode, allowing a client to be selected interactively from a list. After a client is chosen, ‘%%’ is replaced by the client pty(4) path in template and the result executed as a command. If template is not given, "detach-client -t '%%'" is used. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section. This command works only if at least one client is attached.
[-F format] [-t target-window] [template]
Put a window into session choice mode, where a session may be selected interactively from a list. When one is chosen, ‘%%’ is replaced by the session name in template and the result executed as a command. If template is not given, "switch-client -t '%%'" is used. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section. This command works only if at least one client is attached.
[-suw] [-b session-template] [-c window-template] [-S format] [-W format] [-t target-window]
Put a window into tree choice mode, where either sessions or windows may be selected interactively from a list. By default, windows belonging to a session are indented to show their relationship to a session.

Note that the choose-window and choose-session commands are wrappers around choose-tree.

If -s is given, will show sessions. If -w is given, will show windows.

By default, the tree is collapsed and sessions must be expanded to windows with the right arrow key. The -u option will start with all sessions expanded instead.

If -b is given, will override the default session command. Note that ‘%%’ can be used and will be replaced with the session name. The default option if not specified is "switch-client -t '%%'". If -c is given, will override the default window command. Like -b, ‘%%’ can be used and will be replaced with the session name and window index. When a window is chosen from the list, the session command is run before the window command.

If -S is given will display the specified format instead of the default session format. If -W is given will display the specified format instead of the default window format. For the meaning of the -s and -w options, see the FORMATS section.

This command works only if at least one client is attached.

[-F format] [-t target-window] [template]
Put a window into window choice mode, where a window may be chosen interactively from a list. After a window is selected, ‘%%’ is replaced by the session name and window index in template and the result executed as a command. If template is not given, "select-window -t '%%'" is used. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section. This command works only if at least one client is attached.
[-t target-client]
(alias: displayp
) Display a visible indicator of each pane shown by target-client. See the display-panes-time, display-panes-colour, and display-panes-active-colour session options. While the indicator is on screen, a pane may be selected with the ‘0’ to ‘9’ keys.
[-CNT] [-F format] [-t target-window] match-string
(alias: findw
) Search for the fnmatch(3) pattern match-string in window names, titles, and visible content (but not history). The flags control matching behavior: -C matches only visible window contents, -N matches only the window name and -T matches only the window title. The default is -CNT. If only one window is matched, it'll be automatically selected, otherwise a choice list is shown. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section. This command works only if at least one client is attached.
[-bdhv] [-l size | -p percentage] [-s src-pane] [-t dst-pane]
(alias: joinp
) Like split-window, but instead of splitting dst-pane and creating a new pane, split it and move src-pane into the space. This can be used to reverse break-pane. The -b option causes src-pane to be joined to left of or above dst-pane.

If -s is omitted and a marked pane is present (see select-pane -m), the marked pane is used rather than the current pane.

[-a] [-t target-pane]
(alias: killp
) Destroy the given pane. If no panes remain in the containing window, it is also destroyed. The -a option kills all but the pane given with -t.
[-a] [-t target-window]
(alias: killw
) Kill the current window or the window at target-window, removing it from any sessions to which it is linked. The -a option kills all but the window given with -t.
[-de] [-t target-window]
(alias: lastp
) Select the last (previously selected) pane. -e enables or -d disables input to the pane.
[-t target-session]
(alias: last
) Select the last (previously selected) window. If no target-session is specified, select the last window of the current session.
(alias: linkw
) Link the window at src-window to the specified dst-window. If dst-window is specified and no such window exists, the src-window is linked there. With -a, the window is moved to the next index up (following windows are moved if necessary). If -k is given and dst-window exists, it is killed, otherwise an error is generated. If -d is given, the newly linked window is not selected.
[-as] [-F format] [-t target]
(alias: lsp
) If -a is given, target is ignored and all panes on the server are listed. If -s is given, target is a session (or the current session). If neither is given, target is a window (or the current window). For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section.
[-a] [-F format] [-t target-session]
(alias: lsw
) If -a is given, list all windows on the server. Otherwise, list windows in the current session or in target-session. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section.
[-bdhv] [-l size | -p percentage] [-s src-pane] [-t dst-pane]
(alias: movep
) Like join-pane, but src-pane and dst-pane may belong to the same window.
[-ardk] [-s src-window] [-t dst-window]
(alias: movew
) This is similar to link-window, except the window at src-window is moved to dst-window. With -r, all windows in the session are renumbered in sequential order, respecting the base-index option.
[-adkP] [-c start-directory] [-F format] [-n window-name] [-t target-window] [shell-command]
(alias: neww
) Create a new window. With -a, the new window is inserted at the next index up from the specified target-window, moving windows up if necessary, otherwise target-window is the new window location.

If -d is given, the session does not make the new window the current window. target-window represents the window to be created; if the target already exists an error is shown, unless the -k flag is used, in which case it is destroyed. shell-command is the command to execute. If shell-command is not specified, the value of the default-command option is used. -c specifies the working directory in which the new window is created.

When the shell command completes, the window closes. See the remain-on-exit option to change this behaviour.

The TERM environment variable must be set to “screen” for all programs running tmate. New windows will automatically have “TERM=screen” added to their environment, but care must be taken not to reset this in shell start-up files.

The -P option prints information about the new window after it has been created. By default, it uses the format ‘#{session_name}:#{window_index}’ but a different format may be specified with -F.

[-t target-window]
(alias: nextl
) Move a window to the next layout and rearrange the panes to fit.
[-a] [-t target-session]
(alias: next
) Move to the next window in the session. If -a is used, move to the next window with an alert.
[-o] [-t target-pane] [shell-command]
(alias: pipep
) Pipe any output sent by the program in target-pane to a shell command. A pane may only be piped to one command at a time, any existing pipe is closed before shell-command is executed. The shell-command string may contain the special character sequences supported by the status-left option. If no shell-command is given, the current pipe (if any) is closed.

The -o option only opens a new pipe if no previous pipe exists, allowing a pipe to be toggled with a single key, for example:

bind-key C-p pipe-pane -o 'cat >>~/output.#I-#P'
[-t target-window]
(alias: prevl
) Move to the previous layout in the session.
[-a] [-t target-session]
(alias: prev
) Move to the previous window in the session. With -a, move to the previous window with an alert.
[-t target-window] new-name
(alias: renamew
) Rename the current window, or the window at target-window if specified, to new-name.
[-DLMRUZ] [-t target-pane] [-x width] [-y height] [adjustment]
(alias: resizep
) Resize a pane, up, down, left or right by adjustment with -U, -D, -L or -R, or to an absolute size with -x or -y. The adjustment is given in lines or cells (the default is 1).

With -Z, the active pane is toggled between zoomed (occupying the whole of the window) and unzoomed (its normal position in the layout).

-M begins mouse resizing (only valid if bound to a mouse key binding, see MOUSE SUPPORT).

[-k] [-t target-pane] [shell-command]
(alias: respawnp
) Reactivate a pane in which the command has exited (see the remain-on-exit window option). If shell-command is not given, the command used when the pane was created is executed. The pane must be already inactive, unless -k is given, in which case any existing command is killed.
[-k] [-t target-window] [shell-command]
(alias: respawnw
) Reactivate a window in which the command has exited (see the remain-on-exit window option). If shell-command is not given, the command used when the window was created is executed. The window must be already inactive, unless -k is given, in which case any existing command is killed.
[-DU] [-t target-window]
(alias: rotatew
) Rotate the positions of the panes within a window, either upward (numerically lower) with -U or downward (numerically higher).
[-nop] [-t target-window] [layout-name]
(alias: selectl
) Choose a specific layout for a window. If layout-name is not given, the last preset layout used (if any) is reapplied. -n and -p are equivalent to the next-layout and previous-layout commands. -o applies the last set layout if possible (undoes the most recent layout change).
[-DdegLlMmRU] [-P style] [-t target-pane]
(alias: selectp
) Make pane target-pane the active pane in window target-window, or set its style (with -P). If one of -D, -L, -R, or -U is used, respectively the pane below, to the left, to the right, or above the target pane is used. -l is the same as using the last-pane command. -e enables or -d disables input to the pane.

-m and -M are used to set and clear the . There is one marked pane at a time, setting a new marked pane clears the last. The marked pane is the default target for -s to join-pane, swap-pane and swap-window.

Each pane has a style: by default the window-style and window-active-style options are used, select-pane -P sets the style for a single pane. For example, to set the pane 1 background to red:

select-pane -t:.1 -P 'bg=red'

-g shows the current pane style.

[-lnpT] [-t target-window]
(alias: selectw
) Select the window at target-window. -l, -n and -p are equivalent to the last-window, next-window and previous-window commands. If -T is given and the selected window is already the current window, the command behaves like last-window.
[-bdhvP] [-c start-directory] [-l size | -p percentage] [-t target-pane] [shell-command] [-F format]
(alias: splitw
) Create a new pane by splitting target-pane: -h does a horizontal split and -v a vertical split; if neither is specified, -v is assumed. The -l and -p options specify the size of the new pane in lines (for vertical split) or in cells (for horizontal split), or as a percentage, respectively. The -b option causes the new pane to be created to the left of or above target-pane. All other options have the same meaning as for the new-window command.
[-dDU] [-s src-pane] [-t dst-pane]
(alias: swapp
) Swap two panes. If -U is used and no source pane is specified with -s, dst-pane is swapped with the previous pane (before it numerically); -D swaps with the next pane (after it numerically). -d instructs tmate not to change the active pane.

If -s is omitted and a marked pane is present (see select-pane -m), the marked pane is used rather than the current pane.

[-d] [-s src-window] [-t dst-window]
(alias: swapw
) This is similar to link-window, except the source and destination windows are swapped. It is an error if no window exists at src-window.

Like swap-pane, if -s is omitted and a marked pane is present (see select-pane -m), the window containing the marked pane is used rather than the current window.

(alias: unlinkw
) Unlink target-window. Unless -k is given, a window may be unlinked only if it is linked to multiple sessions - windows may not be linked to no sessions; if -k is specified and the window is linked to only one session, it is unlinked and destroyed.


tmate allows a command to be bound to most keys, with or without a prefix key. When specifying keys, most represent themselves (for example ‘A’ to ‘Z’). Ctrl keys may be prefixed with ‘C-’ or ‘^’, and Alt (meta) with ‘M-’. In addition, the following special key names are accepted: , , , , , , (Delete), End, , , to , , (Insert), , , , and . Note that to bind the ‘"’ or ‘'’ keys, quotation marks are necessary, for example:

bind-key '"' split-window
bind-key "'" new-window

Commands related to key bindings are as follows:

[-cnr] [-t mode-table] [-T key-table] key command [arguments]
(alias: bind
) Bind key key to command. Keys are bound in a key table. By default (without -T), the key is bound in the prefix key table. This table is used for keys pressed after the prefix key (for example, by default ‘c’ is bound to new-window in the prefix table, so ‘C-b c’ creates a new window). The root table is used for keys pressed without the prefix key: binding ‘c’ to new-window in the root table (not recommended) means a plain ‘c’ will create a new window. -n is an alias for -T root. Keys may also be bound in custom key tables and the switch-client -T command used to switch to them from a key binding. The -r flag indicates this key may repeat, see the repeat-time option.

If -t is present, key is bound in mode-table: the binding for command mode with -c or for normal mode without. See the WINDOWS AND PANES section and the list-keys command for information on mode key bindings.

To view the default bindings and possible commands, see the list-keys command.

[-t mode-table] [-T key-table]
(alias: lsk
) List all key bindings. Without -T all key tables are printed. With -T only key-table.

With -t, the key bindings in mode-table are listed; this may be one of: vi-edit, emacs-edit, vi-choice, emacs-choice, vi-copy or emacs-copy.

[-lMR] [-t target-pane] key ...
(alias: send
) Send a key or keys to a window. Each argument key is the name of the key (such as ‘C-a’ or ‘npage’ ) to send; if the string is not recognised as a key, it is sent as a series of characters. The -l flag disables key name lookup and sends the keys literally. All arguments are sent sequentially from first to last. The -R flag causes the terminal state to be reset.

-M passes through a mouse event (only valid if bound to a mouse key binding, see MOUSE SUPPORT).

[-2] [-t target-pane]
Send the prefix key, or with -2 the secondary prefix key, to a window as if it was pressed.
[-acn] [-t mode-table] [-T key-table] key
(alias: unbind
) Unbind the command bound to key. -c, -n, -T and -t are the same as for bind-key. If -a is present, all key bindings are removed.

The appearance and behaviour of tmate may be modified by changing the value of various options. There are three types of option: server options, session options and window options.

The tmate server has a set of global options which do not apply to any particular window or session. These are altered with the set-option -s command, or displayed with the show-options -s command.

In addition, each individual session may have a set of session options, and there is a separate set of global session options. Sessions which do not have a particular option configured inherit the value from the global session options. Session options are set or unset with the set-option command and may be listed with the show-options command. The available server and session options are listed under the set-option command.

Similarly, a set of window options is attached to each window, and there is a set of global window options from which any unset options are inherited. Window options are altered with the set-window-option command and can be listed with the show-window-options command. All window options are documented with the set-window-option command.

tmate also supports user options which are prefixed with a ‘@’. User options may have any name, so long as they are prefixed with ‘@’, and be set to any string. For example:

$ tmate setw -q @foo "abc123"
$ tmate showw -v @foo

Commands which set options are as follows:

[-agoqsuw] [-t target-session | target-window] option value
(alias: set
) Set a window option with -w (equivalent to the set-window-option command), a server option with -s, otherwise a session option. If -g is given, the global session or window option is set. The -u flag unsets an option, so a session inherits the option from the global options (or with -g, restores a global option to the default).

The -o flag prevents setting an option that is already set and the -q flag suppresses errors about unknown or ambiguous options.

With -a, and if the option expects a string or a style, value is appended to the existing setting. For example:

set -g status-left "foo"
set -ag status-left "bar"

Will result in ‘foobar’. And:

set -g status-style "bg=red"
set -ag status-style "fg=blue"

Will result in a red background blue foreground. Without -a, the result would be the default background and a blue foreground.

Available window options are listed under set-window-option.

value depends on the option and may be a number, a string, or a flag (on, off, or omitted to toggle).

Available server options are:

Set the number of buffers; as new buffers are added to the top of the stack, old ones are removed from the bottom if necessary to maintain this maximum length.
Set the default terminal for new windows created in this session - the default value of the TERM environment variable. For tmate to work correctly, this be set to ‘screen’, ‘tmux’, ‘tmate’ or a derivative of them.
Set the time in milliseconds for which tmate waits after an escape is input to determine if it is part of a function or meta key sequences. The default is 500 milliseconds.
[on | off]
If enabled, the server will exit when there are no attached clients.
[on | off]
When enabled, focus events are requested from the terminal if supported and passed through to applications running in tmate. Attached clients should be detached and attached again after changing this option.
If not empty, a file to which tmate will write command prompt history on exit and load it from on start.
Set the number of error or information messages to save in the message log for each client. The default is 100.
[on | off]
Attempt to set the terminal clipboard content using the \e]52;...\007 xterm(1) escape sequences. This option is on by default if there is an Ms entry in the terminfo(5) description for the client terminal. Note that this feature needs to be enabled in xterm(1) by setting the resource:
disallowedWindowOps: 20,21,SetXprop

Or changing this property from the xterm(1) interactive menu when required.

Contains a list of entries which override terminal descriptions read using terminfo(5). string is a comma-separated list of items each a colon-separated string made up of a terminal type pattern (matched using fnmatch(3)) and a set of entries.

For example, to set the ‘clearterminfo(5) entry to ‘\e[H\e[2J’ for all terminal types and the ‘dch1’ entry to ‘\e[P’ for the ‘rxvt’ terminal type, the option could be set to the string:


The terminal entry value is passed through strunvis(3) before interpretation. The default value forcibly corrects the ‘colors’ entry for terminals which support 256 colours:


Available session options are:

If keys are entered faster than one in milliseconds, they are assumed to have been pasted rather than typed and tmate key bindings are not processed. The default is one millisecond and zero disables.
Set the base index from which an unused index should be searched when a new window is created. The default is zero.
[any | none | current | other]
Set action on window bell. any means a bell in any window linked to a session causes a bell in the current window of that session, none means all bells are ignored, current means only bells in windows other than the current window are ignored and other means bells in the current window are ignored but not those in other windows.
[on | off]
If on, ring the terminal bell when an alert occurs.
Set the command used for new windows (if not specified when the window is created) to shell-command, which may be any sh(1) command. The default is an empty string, which instructs tmate to create a login shell using the value of the default-shell option.
Specify the default shell. This is used as the login shell for new windows when the default-command option is set to empty, and must be the full path of the executable. When started tmate tries to set a default value from the first suitable of the SHELL environment variable, the shell returned by getpwuid(3), or /bin/sh. This option should be configured when tmate is used as a login shell.
[on | off]
If enabled and the session is no longer attached to any clients, it is destroyed.
[on | off]
If on (the default), the client is detached when the session it is attached to is destroyed. If off, the client is switched to the most recently active of the remaining sessions.
Set the colour used by the display-panes command to show the indicator for the active pane.
Set the colour used by the display-panes command to show the indicators for inactive panes.
Set the time in milliseconds for which the indicators shown by the display-panes command appear.
Set the amount of time for which status line messages and other on-screen indicators are displayed. If set to 0, messages and indicators are displayed until a key is pressed. time is in milliseconds.
Set the maximum number of lines held in window history. This setting applies only to new windows - existing window histories are not resized and retain the limit at the point they were created.
Set the default key table to key-table instead of root.
Lock the session (like the lock-session command) after number seconds of inactivity. The default is not to lock (set to 0).
Command to run when locking each client. The default is to run lock(1) with -np.
Set status line message command style, where style is a comma-separated list of characteristics to be specified.

These may be ‘bg=colour’ to set the background colour, ‘fg=colour’ to set the foreground colour, and a list of attributes as specified below.

The colour is one of: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, aixterm bright variants (if supported: brightred, brightgreen, and so on), colour0 to colour255 from the 256-colour set, default, or a hexadecimal RGB string such as ‘#ffffff’, which chooses the closest match from the default 256-colour set.

The attributes is either none or a comma-delimited list of one or more of: bright (or bold), dim, underscore, blink, reverse, hidden, or italics, to turn an attribute on, or an attribute prefixed with ‘no’ to turn one off.

Examples are:


With the -a flag to the set-option command the new style is added otherwise the existing style is replaced.

Set status line message style. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
[on | off]
If on, tmate captures the mouse and allows mouse events to be bound as key bindings. See the MOUSE SUPPORT section for details.
Set the key accepted as a prefix key. In addition to the standard keys described under KEY BINDINGS, prefix can be set to the special key ‘None’ to set no prefix.
Set a secondary key accepted as a prefix key. Like prefix, prefix2 can be set to ‘None’.
[on | off]
If on, when a window is closed in a session, automatically renumber the other windows in numerical order. This respects the base-index option if it has been set. If off, do not renumber the windows.
Allow multiple commands to be entered without pressing the prefix-key again in the specified time milliseconds (the default is 500). Whether a key repeats may be set when it is bound using the -r flag to bind-key. Repeat is enabled for the default keys bound to the resize-pane command.
[on | off]
Set the remain-on-exit window option for any windows first created in this session. When this option is true, windows in which the running program has exited do not close, instead remaining open but inactivate. Use the respawn-window command to reactivate such a window, or the kill-window command to destroy it.
[on | off]
Attempt to set the client terminal title using the and terminfo(5) entries if they exist. tmate automatically sets these to the \e]0;...\007 sequence if the terminal appears to be xterm(1). This option is off by default.
String used to set the window title if set-titles is on. Formats are expanded, see the FORMATS section.
[on | off]
Show or hide the status line.
Update the status bar every interval seconds. By default, updates will occur every 15 seconds. A setting of zero disables redrawing at interval.
[left | centre | right]
Set the position of the window list component of the status line: left, centre or right justified.
[vi | emacs]
Use vi or emacs-style key bindings in the status line, for example at the command prompt. The default is emacs, unless the VISUAL or EDITOR environment variables are set and contain the string ‘vi’.
Display string (by default the session name) to the left of the status bar. string will be passed through strftime(3) and formats (see FORMATS) will be expanded. It may also contain any of the following special character sequences:
Colour or attribute change
A literal ‘#

For details on how the names and titles can be set see the NAMES AND TITLES section. For a list of allowed attributes see the message-command-style option.

Examples are:

#(sysctl vm.loadavg)
#[fg=yellow,bold]#(apm -l)%%#[default] [#S]

The default is ‘[#S] ’.

Set the maximum length of the left component of the status bar. The default is 10.
Set the style of the left part of the status line. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
[top | bottom]
Set the position of the status line.
Display string to the right of the status bar. By default, the current window title in double quotes, the date and the time are shown. As with status-left, string will be passed to strftime(3) and character pairs are replaced.
Set the maximum length of the right component of the status bar. The default is 40.
Set the style of the right part of the status line. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
Set status line style. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
Set a space-separated string containing a list of environment variables to be copied into the session environment when a new session is created or an existing session is attached. Any variables that do not exist in the source environment are set to be removed from the session environment (as if -r was given to the set-environment command). The default is "DISPLAY SSH_ASKPASS SSH_AUTH_SOCK SSH_AGENT_PID SSH_CONNECTION WINDOWID XAUTHORITY".
[on | off]
If on, display a status line message when activity occurs in a window for which the monitor-activity window option is enabled.
[on | off]
If this option is on, a message is shown on a bell instead of it being passed through to the terminal (which normally makes a sound). Also see the bell-action option.
[on | off]
If monitor-silence is enabled, prints a message after the interval has expired on a given window.
Sets the session's conception of what characters are considered word separators, for the purposes of the next and previous word commands in copy mode. The default is ‘ -_@’.
[-agoqu] [-t target-window] option value
(alias: setw
) Set a window option. The -a, -g, -o, -q and -u flags work similarly to the set-option command.

Supported window options are:

[on | off]
Aggressively resize the chosen window. This means that tmate will resize the window to the size of the smallest session for which it is the current window, rather than the smallest session to which it is attached. The window may resize when the current window is changed on another sessions; this option is good for full-screen programs which support SIGWINCH and poor for interactive programs such as shells.
[on | off]
Allow programs to change the window name using a terminal escape sequence (\ek...\e\\). The default is on.
[on | off]
This option configures whether programs running inside tmate may use the terminal alternate screen feature, which allows the and terminfo(5) capabilities. The alternate screen feature preserves the contents of the window when an interactive application starts and restores it on exit, so that any output visible before the application starts reappears unchanged after it exits. The default is on.
[on | off]
Control automatic window renaming. When this setting is enabled, tmate will rename the window automatically using the format specified by automatic-rename-format. This flag is automatically disabled for an individual window when a name is specified at creation with new-window or new-session, or later with rename-window, or with a terminal escape sequence. It may be switched off globally with:
set-window-option -g automatic-rename off
The format (see FORMATS) used when the automatic-rename option is enabled.
Set clock colour.
[12 | 24]
Set clock hour format.
Prevent tmate from resizing a window to greater than width or height. A value of zero restores the default unlimited setting.
Set the width or height of the main (left or top) pane in the main-horizontal or main-vertical layouts.
[vi | emacs]
Use vi or emacs-style key bindings in copy and choice modes. As with the status-keys option, the default is emacs, unless VISUAL or EDITOR contains ‘vi’.
Set window modes style. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
[on | off]
Monitor for activity in the window. Windows with activity are highlighted in the status line.
Monitor for silence (no activity) in the window within interval seconds. Windows that have been silent for the interval are highlighted in the status line. An interval of zero disables the monitoring.
Set the height of the other panes (not the main pane) in the main-horizontal layout. If this option is set to 0 (the default), it will have no effect. If both the main-pane-height and other-pane-height options are set, the main pane will grow taller to make the other panes the specified height, but will never shrink to do so.
Like other-pane-height, but set the width of other panes in the main-vertical layout.
Set the pane border style for the currently active pane. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option. Attributes are ignored.
Like base-index, but set the starting index for pane numbers.
Set the pane border style for panes aside from the active pane. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option. Attributes are ignored.
[on | off]
A window with this flag set is not destroyed when the program running in it exits. The window may be reactivated with the respawn-window command.
[on | off]
Duplicate input to any pane to all other panes in the same window (only for panes that are not in any special mode).
Set the style for the window's active pane. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
Set status line style for windows with an activity alert. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
Set status line style for windows with a bell alert. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
Like window-status-format, but is the format used when the window is the current window.
Set status line style for the currently active window. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
Set the format in which the window is displayed in the status line window list. See the status-left option for details of special character sequences available. The default is ‘#I:#W#F’.
Set status line style for the last active window. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
Sets the separator drawn between windows in the status line. The default is a single space character.
Set status line style for a single window. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
Set the default window style. For how to specify style, see the message-command-style option.
[on | off]
If this option is set, tmate will generate xterm(1) -style function key sequences; these have a number included to indicate modifiers such as Shift, Alt or Ctrl. The default is off.
If this option is set, searches will wrap around the end of the pane contents. The default is on.
[-gqsvw] [-t target-session | target-window] [option]
(alias: show
) Show the window options (or a single window option if given) with -w (equivalent to show-window-options), the server options with -s, otherwise the session options for target session. Global session or window options are listed if -g is used. -v shows only the option value, not the name. If -q is set, no error will be returned if option is unset.
[-gv] [-t target-window] [option]
(alias: showw
) List the window options or a single option for target-window, or the global window options if -g is used. -v shows only the option value, not the name.

tmate allows commands to run on various triggers, called . Each hook has a . The following hooks are available:

Run when a window has activity. See monitor-activity.
Run when a window has received a bell.
Run when a window has been silent. See monitor-silence.
Run when a client is attached.
Run when a client is detached
Run when a client is resized.
Run when the program running in a pane exits, but remain-on-exit is on so the pane has not closed.
Run when the program running in a pane exits.

Hooks are managed with these commands:

[-g] [-t target-session] hook-name command
Sets hook hook-name to command. If -g is given, is added to the global list of hooks, otherwise it is added to the session hooks (for target-session with -t). Like options, session hooks inherit from the global ones.
[-g] [-t target-session]
Shows the global list of hooks with -g, otherwise the session hooks.

If the mouse option is on (the default is off), tmate allows mouse events to be bound as keys. The name of each key is made up of a mouse event (such as ‘MouseUp1’) and a location suffix (one of ‘Pane’ for the contents of a pane, ‘Border’ for a pane border or ‘Status’ for the status line). The following mouse events are available:

MouseUp1 MouseDrag1 MouseDragEnd1
MouseUp2 MouseDrag2 MouseDragEnd2
MouseUp3 MouseDrag3 MouseDragEnd3

Each should be suffixed with a location, for example ‘MouseDown1Status’.

The special token ‘{mouse}’ or ‘=’ may be used as target-window or target-pane in commands bound to mouse key bindings. It resolves to the window or pane over which the mouse event took place (for example, the window in the status line over which button 1 was released for a ‘MouseUp1Status’ binding, or the pane over which the wheel was scrolled for a ‘WheelDownPane’ binding).

The send-keys -M flag may be used to forward a mouse event to a pane.

The default key bindings allow the mouse to be used to select and resize panes, to copy text and to change window using the status line. These take effect if the mouse option is turned on.

Certain commands accept the -F flag with a format argument. This is a string which controls the output format of the command. Replacement variables are enclosed in ‘#{’ and ‘}’, for example ‘#{session_name}’. The possible variables are listed in the table below, or the name of a tmate option may be used for an option's value. Some variables have a shorter alias such as ‘#S’, and ‘##’ is replaced by a single ‘#’.

Conditionals are available by prefixing with ‘?’ and separating two alternatives with a comma; if the specified variable exists and is not zero, the first alternative is chosen, otherwise the second is used. For example ‘#{?session_attached,attached,not attached}’ will include the string ‘attached’ if the session is attached and the string ‘not attached’ if it is unattached, or ‘#{?automatic-rename,yes,no}’ will include ‘yes’ if automatic-rename is enabled, or ‘no’ if not.

A limit may be placed on the length of the resultant string by prefixing it by an ‘=’, a number and a colon. Positive numbers count from the start of the string and negative from the end, so ‘#{=5:pane_title}’ will include at most the first 5 characters of the pane title, or ‘#{=-5:pane_title}’ the last 5 characters. Prefixing a time variable with ‘t:’ will convert it to a string, so if ‘#{window_activity}’ gives ‘1445765102’, ‘#{t:window_activity}’ gives ‘Sun Oct 25 09:25:02 2015’. The ‘b:’ and ‘d:’ prefixes are basename(3) and dirname(3) of the variable respectively. A prefix of the form ‘s/foo/bar/:’ will substitute ‘foo’ with ‘bar’ throughout.

In addition, the first line of a shell command's output may be inserted using ‘#()’. For example, ‘#(uptime)’ will insert the system's uptime. When constructing formats, tmate does not wait for ‘#()’ commands to finish; instead, the previous result from running the same command is used, or a placeholder if the command has not been run before. Commands are executed with the tmate global environment set (see the ENVIRONMENT section).

The following variables are available, where appropriate:

If pane is in alternate screen
Saved cursor X in alternate screen
Saved cursor Y in alternate screen
Sample of start of buffer
Size of the specified buffer in bytes
Integer time client last had activity
Integer time client created
1 if client is in control mode
Height of client
Current key table
Name of the client's last session
PID of client process
1 if prefix key has been pressed
1 if client is readonly
Name of the client's session
Terminal name of client
Pseudo terminal of client
1 if client supports utf8
Width of client
Name of command in use, if any
Pane cursor flag
Cursor X position in pane
Cursor Y position in pane
Number of bytes in window history
Maximum window history lines
Size of history in bytes
#H Hostname of local host
#h Hostname of local host (no domain name)
Pane insert flag
Pane keypad cursor flag
Pane keypad flag
Line number in the list
Pane mouse any flag
Pane mouse button flag
Pane mouse standard flag
1 if active pane
Bottom of pane
Current command if available
Current path if available
1 if pane is dead
Exit status of process in dead pane
Height of pane
#D Unique pane ID
If pane is in a mode
If input to pane is disabled
#P Index of pane
Left of pane
PID of first process in pane
Right of pane
Command pane started with
If pane is synchronized
Pane tab positions
#T Title of pane
Top of pane
Pseudo terminal of pane
Width of pane
Server PID
Bottom of scroll region in pane
Top of scroll region in pane
Scroll position in copy mode
List of window indexes with alerts
Number of clients session is attached to
Integer time of session last activity
Integer time session created
Integer time session last attached
Number of session group
1 if session in a group
Height of session
Unique session ID
1 if multiple clients attached
#S Name of session
Width of session
Number of windows in session
Server socket path
Server start time
Integer time of window last activity
1 if window active
1 if window has bell
Matched data from the find-window
#F Window flags
Height of window
Unique window ID
#I Index of window
1 if window is the last used
Window layout description, ignoring zoomed window panes
1 if window is linked across sessions
#W Name of window
Number of panes in window
1 if window has silence alert
Window layout description, respecting zoomed window panes
Width of window
1 if window is zoomed
Pane wrap flag

tmate distinguishes between names and titles. Windows and sessions have names, which may be used to specify them in targets and are displayed in the status line and various lists: the name is the tmate identifier for a window or session. Only panes have titles. A pane's title is typically set by the program running inside the pane and is not modified by tmate. It is the same mechanism used to set for example the xterm(1) window title in an X(7) window manager. Windows themselves do not have titles - a window's title is the title of its active pane. tmate itself may set the title of the terminal in which the client is running, see the set-titles option.

A session's name is set with the new-session and rename-session commands. A window's name is set with one of:

  1. A command argument (such as -n for new-window or new-session).
  2. An escape sequence:
    $ printf '\033kWINDOW_NAME\033\\'
  3. Automatic renaming, which sets the name to the active command in the window's active pane. See the automatic-rename option.

When a pane is first created, its title is the hostname. A pane's title can be set via the OSC title setting sequence, for example:

$ printf '\033]2;My Title\033\\'

When the server is started, tmate copies the environment into the ; in addition, each session has a session environment. When a window is created, the session and global environments are merged. If a variable exists in both, the value from the session environment is used. The result is the initial environment passed to the new process.

The update-environment session option may be used to update the session environment from the client when a new session is created or an old reattached. tmate also initialises the TMUX variable with some internal information to allow commands to be executed from inside, and the TERM variable with the correct terminal setting of ‘screen’.

Commands to alter and view the environment are:

[-gru] [-t target-session] name [value]
(alias: setenv
) Set or unset an environment variable. If -g is used, the change is made in the global environment; otherwise, it is applied to the session environment for target-session. The -u flag unsets a variable. -r indicates the variable is to be removed from the environment before starting a new process.
[-gs] [-t target-session] [variable]
(alias: showenv
) Display the environment for target-session or the global environment with -g. If variable is omitted, all variables are shown. Variables removed from the environment are prefixed with ‘-’. If -s is used, the output is formatted as a set of Bourne shell commands.

tmate includes an optional status line which is displayed in the bottom line of each terminal. By default, the status line is enabled (it may be disabled with the status session option) and contains, from left-to-right: the name of the current session in square brackets; the window list; the title of the active pane in double quotes; and the time and date.

The status line is made of three parts: configurable left and right sections (which may contain dynamic content such as the time or output from a shell command, see the status-left, status-left-length, status-right, and status-right-length options below), and a central window list. By default, the window list shows the index, name and (if any) flag of the windows present in the current session in ascending numerical order. It may be customised with the window-status-format and window-status-current-format options. The flag is one of the following symbols appended to the window name:

Denotes the current window.
- Marks the last window (previously selected).
Window is monitored and activity has been detected.
! A bell has occurred in the window.
The window has been silent for the monitor-silence interval.
The window contains the marked pane.
The window's active pane is zoomed.

The # symbol relates to the monitor-activity window option. The window name is printed in inverted colours if an alert (bell, activity or silence) is present.

The colour and attributes of the status line may be configured, the entire status line using the status-style session option and individual windows using the window-status-style window option.

The status line is automatically refreshed at interval if it has changed, the interval may be controlled with the status-interval session option.

Commands related to the status line are as follows:

[-I inputs] [-p prompts] [-t target-client] [template]
Open the command prompt in a client. This may be used from inside tmate to execute commands interactively.

If template is specified, it is used as the command. If present, -I is a comma-separated list of the initial text for each prompt. If -p is given, prompts is a comma-separated list of prompts which are displayed in order; otherwise a single prompt is displayed, constructed from template if it is present, or ‘:’ if not.

Both inputs and prompts may contain the special character sequences supported by the status-left option.

Before the command is executed, the first occurrence of the string ‘%%’ and all occurrences of ‘%1’ are replaced by the response to the first prompt, the second ‘%%’ and all ‘%2’ are replaced with the response to the second prompt, and so on for further prompts. Up to nine prompt responses may be replaced (‘%1’ to ‘%9’).

[-p prompt] [-t target-client] command
(alias: confirm
) Ask for confirmation before executing command. If -p is given, prompt is the prompt to display; otherwise a prompt is constructed from command. It may contain the special character sequences supported by the status-left option.

This command works only from inside tmate.

[-p] [-c target-client] [-t target-pane] [message]
(alias: display
) Display a message. If -p is given, the output is printed to stdout, otherwise it is displayed in the target-client status line. The format of message is described in the FORMATS section; information is taken from target-pane if -t is given, otherwise the active pane for the session attached to target-client.

tmate maintains a set of named paste buffers. Each buffer may be either explicitly or automatically named. Explicitly named buffers are named when created with the set-buffer or load-buffer commands, or by renaming an automatically named buffer with set-buffer -n. Automatically named buffers are given a name such as ‘buffer0001’, ‘buffer0002’ and so on. When the buffer-limit option is reached, the oldest automatically named buffer is deleted. Explicitly named are not subject to buffer-limit and may be deleted with delete-buffer command.

Buffers may be added using copy-mode or the set-buffer and load-buffer commands, and pasted into a window using the paste-buffer command. If a buffer command is used and no buffer is specified, the most recently added automatically named buffer is assumed.

A configurable history buffer is also maintained for each window. By default, up to 2000 lines are kept; this can be altered with the history-limit option (see the set-option command above).

The buffer commands are as follows:

[-F format] [-t target-window] [template]
Put a window into buffer choice mode, where a buffer may be chosen interactively from a list. After a buffer is selected, ‘%%’ is replaced by the buffer name in template and the result executed as a command. If template is not given, "paste-buffer -b '%%'" is used. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section. This command works only if at least one client is attached.
[-t target-pane]
(alias: clearhist
) Remove and free the history for the specified pane.
[-b buffer-name]
(alias: deleteb
) Delete the buffer named buffer-name, or the most recently added automatically named buffer if not specified.
[-F format]
(alias: lsb
) List the global buffers. For the meaning of the -F flag, see the FORMATS section.
[-b buffer-name] path
(alias: loadb
) Load the contents of the specified paste buffer from path.
[-dpr] [-b buffer-name] [-s separator] [-t target-pane]
(alias: pasteb
) Insert the contents of a paste buffer into the specified pane. If not specified, paste into the current one. With -d, also delete the paste buffer. When output, any linefeed (LF) characters in the paste buffer are replaced with a separator, by default carriage return (CR). A custom separator may be specified using the -s flag. The -r flag means to do no replacement (equivalent to a separator of LF). If -p is specified, paste bracket control codes are inserted around the buffer if the application has requested bracketed paste mode.
[-a] [-b buffer-name] path
(alias: saveb
) Save the contents of the specified paste buffer to path. The -a option appends to rather than overwriting the file.
[-a] [-b buffer-name] [-n new-buffer-name] data
(alias: setb
) Set the contents of the specified buffer to data. The -a option appends to rather than overwriting the buffer. The -n option renames the buffer to new-buffer-name.
[-b buffer-name]
(alias: showb
) Display the contents of the specified buffer.

Miscellaneous commands are as follows:

[-t target-pane]
Display a large clock.
[-bF] [-t target-pane] shell-command command [command]
(alias: if
) Execute the first command if shell-command returns success or the second command otherwise. Before being executed, shell-command is expanded using the rules specified in the FORMATS section, including those relevant to target-pane. With -b, shell-command is run in the background.

If -F is given, shell-command is not executed but considered success if neither empty nor zero (after formats are expanded).

(alias: lock
) Lock each client individually by running the command specified by the lock-command option.
[-b] [-t target-pane] shell-command
(alias: run
) Execute shell-command in the background without creating a window. Before being executed, shell-command is expanded using the rules specified in the FORMATS section. With -b, the command is run in the background. After it finishes, any output to stdout is displayed in copy mode (in the pane specified by -t or the current pane if omitted). If the command doesn't return success, the exit status is also displayed.
[-L | -S | -U] channel
(alias: wait
) When used without options, prevents the client from exiting until woken using wait-for -S with the same channel. When -L is used, the channel is locked and any clients that try to lock the same channel are made to wait until the channel is unlocked with wait-for -U. This command only works from outside tmate.

tmate understands some unofficial extensions to terminfo(5):

Set the cursor colour. The first takes a single string argument and is used to set the colour; the second takes no arguments and restores the default cursor colour. If set, a sequence such as this may be used to change the cursor colour from inside tmate:
$ printf '\033]12;red\033\\'
, Se
Set or reset the cursor style. If set, a sequence such as this may be used to change the cursor to an underline:
$ printf '\033[4 q'

If Se is not set, Ss with argument 0 will be used to reset the cursor style instead.

Indicate that the terminal supports the ‘direct colour’ RGB escape sequence (for example, \e[38;2;255;255;255m).
Store the current buffer in the host terminal's selection (clipboard). See the set-clipboard option above and the xterm(1) man page.

tmate offers a textual interface called . This allows applications to communicate with tmate using a simple text-only protocol.

In control mode, a client sends tmate commands or command sequences terminated by newlines on standard input. Each command will produce one block of output on standard output. An output block consists of a %begin line followed by the output (which may be empty). The output block ends with a %end or %error. %begin and matching %end or %error have two arguments: an integer time (as seconds from epoch) and command number. For example:

%begin 1363006971 2
0: ksh* (1 panes) [80x24] [layout b25f,80x24,0,0,2] @2 (active)
%end 1363006971 2

In control mode, tmate outputs notifications. A notification will never occur inside an output block.

The following notifications are defined:

The tmate client is exiting immediately, either because it is not attached to any session or an error occurred. If present, reason describes why the client exited.
window-id window-layout window-visible-layout window-flags
The layout of a window with ID window-id changed. The new layout is window-layout. The window's visible layout is window-visible-layout and the window flags are window-flags.
pane-id value
A window pane produced output. value escapes non-printable characters and backslash as octal \xxx.
session-id name
The client is now attached to the session with ID session-id, which is named name.
The current session was renamed to name.
A session was created or destroyed.
The window with ID window-id was created but is not linked to the current session.
The window with ID window-id was linked to the current session.
The window with ID window-id closed.
window-id name
The window with ID window-id was renamed to name.

Default tmate configuration file.
System-wide configuration file.

To create a new tmate session running vi(1):

$ tmate new-session vi

Most commands have a shorter form, known as an alias. For new-session, this is new:

$ tmate new vi

Alternatively, the shortest unambiguous form of a command is accepted. If there are several options, they are listed:

$ tmate n
ambiguous command: n, could be: new-session, new-window, next-window

Within an active session, a new window may be created by typing ‘C-b c’ (Ctrl followed by the ‘b’ key followed by the ‘c’ key).

Windows may be navigated with: ‘C-b 0’ (to select window 0), ‘C-b 1’ (to select window 1), and so on; ‘C-b n’ to select the next window; and ‘C-b p’ to select the previous window.

A session may be detached using ‘C-b d’ (or by an external event such as ssh(1) disconnection) and reattached with:

$ tmate attach-session

Typing ‘C-b ?’ lists the current key bindings in the current window; up and down may be used to navigate the list or ‘q’ to exit from it.

Commands to be run when the tmate server is started may be placed in the ~/.tmux.conf configuration file. Common examples include:

Changing the default prefix key:

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

Turning the status line off, or changing its colour:

set-option -g status off
set-option -g status-style bg=blue

Setting other options, such as the default command, or locking after 30 minutes of inactivity:

set-option -g default-command "exec /bin/ksh"
set-option -g lock-after-time 1800

Creating new key bindings:

bind-key b set-option status
bind-key / command-prompt "split-window 'exec man %%'"
bind-key S command-prompt "new-window -n %1 'ssh %1'"


Nicholas Marriott <>

March 25, 2013 Linux 6.7.0-arch3-1