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Configurations for a Friendlier tmux Status Bar

Matt Swensen
Originally published at on ・2 min read

At work, the engineering team uses tmux to manage the several instances of the services we run to develop the Lucid suite locally. It is a phenomenal terminal management system and the best part is that it is highly configurable. If you enjoy working in the command-line and haven’t checked it out yet, you need to!

This is what the default status bar looks like with a few windows open:

tmux status bar before configurations

I added a few config options to my ~/.tmux.conf file to make the status bar easier to read:

This is what the status bar looks like now:

tmux status bar after configurations (Terminal theme is the beautiful Tomorrow Theme by Chris Kempson.)

Update 5/16/2015 I still love and use tmux every day. I have recently moved from the default to the fantastic, in part because it has wonderful tmux integrations. In a nutshell, it is possible to attach to a tmux session with a special command-line flag that uses native iTerm panes/tabs/windows in place of the tmux panes and windows. This allows for easier scrolling, better copy/pasting, and better mouse integrations (i.e., switching between panes). It has loads of other features as well. I can't recommend it enough.

Update 8/26/2017 It's been just over three years since I wrote this post, and I still use tmux every day. My custom tmux status bar theme has largely remained the same as outlined above, too. For the rest of my development environment, I recently built a tool called themer that greatly simplifies keeping a consistent theme between editors, terminals, other apps, and even desktop wallpaper. Check out themer here.

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