Last Updated: February 25, 2016
· fsproru

Painless navigation between panes in tmux


iTerm has the same splitting panes feature as tmux. By default you can jump to the pane on a left by pressing a single keystroke Command+Alt+Left. However in Tmux, you need to press two keystrokes: Ctrl-B followed by Left.


I found that I move between panes very often. Hitting a one keystroke instead of two might speed up my workflow.


It turns out you can use tmux bind command with the -n flag to create a mapping that doesn't require pressing an extra Ctrl-B keystroke.


  1. If you use iTerm2, make sure that "option key acts as +Esc" setting is chosen on the Preferences->Profiles->Keys screen
  2. Put the following into your ~/.tmux.conf
bind -n 'M-Left' select-pane -L
bind -n 'M-Down' select-pane -D
bind -n 'M-Up' select-pane -U
bind -n 'M-Right' select-pane -R
  1. Reload your tmux session and voala!

Now you can use Alt-Left in tmux to move between panes without pressing Ctrl-B

Also, if you're using vim's navigation keys, you might use h, j ,k , l keys in your tmux mappings to be consistent.

bind -n M-h select-pane -L
bind -n M-j select-pane -D
bind -n M-k select-pane -U
bind -n M-l select-pane -R

More configuration fun