How to Adjust Pane Sizes in Tmux [3 Simple Methods]

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Last updated: June 25, 2023

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To adjust pane sizes in Tmux, you can try these three methods:

  1. Resize panes using Ctrl + arrow keys in Tmux.
  2. Click and drag to adjust pane sizes in Tmux.
  3. Personalize pane resizing with custom key combinations in Tmux.

Adjusting pane sizes in Tmux can sometimes present common issues like unresponsive keyboard shortcuts, inconsistent mouse support, incorrect pane splitting, unexpected proportional resizing behavior, and conflicting custom keybindings. To resolve these problems, ensure you are in the correct mode, check for conflicts, confirm settings, and double-check keybindings and configurations.

Read the guide below to discover three different methods to adjust pane sizes in tmux and know about some common errors with solutions.

Tmux, the Terminal multiplexer, revolutionizes command-line productivity by enabling efficient multitasking and streamlined workflow. One of its key features is the ability to divide your Terminal window into multiple panes, each functioning as an independent Terminal. Adjusting pane sizes in Tmux offers unparalleled flexibility in tailoring your workspace to meet your specific needs. Whether you prefer a split-screen layout, a tiled arrangement, or a customized combination, Tmux empowers you to create an environment that optimizes your productivity. In this article, I will walk you through a range of techniques and methods to adjust pane sizes in Tmux, and I will also discuss some common errors, providing you with a comprehensive toolkit to optimize your workspace.

How to Adjust Panes Sizes in Tmux

To adjust pane sizes in Tmux, you can utilize keyboard shortcuts by entering command mode with Ctrl+b and using arrow keys to resize panes. Mouse support allows for intuitive resizing by clicking and dragging the separator. Custom keybindings provide a personalized approach by assigning preferred key combinations.

1. Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts in Tmux provide a quick and efficient way to adjust pane sizes. Using the Ctrl and arrow keys, you can easily expand or shrink panes in the desired direction, optimizing the space allocation within your Tmux workspace. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Press Ctrl+b to enter Tmux command mode. While in command mode, hold Ctrl and press the arrow keys (up, down, left, or right) to resize the pane in the desired direction.
  1. The pane will increase or decrease in the specified direction, redistributing the available space to other panes.

2. Mouse Support

Leveraging mouse support in Tmux enables intuitive and visual resizing of panes. By clicking and dragging the separator between panes, you can easily increase or decrease the sizes of specific panes, providing a seamless and interactive resizing experience. Follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that your Terminal emulator supports mouse input within Tmux by opening the configuration file of Tmux using the following command:
<strong>vi ~/.tmux.conf</strong>
  1. The command will open the configuration file.
  1. Enter the following command to enable the mouse in Tmux:
<strong>set-option -g mouse on</strong>
  1. Save this file and exit.
  1. Move the mouse cursor to the separator between two panes that you want to resize. Drag the separator in the desired direction to increase or decrease the size of the respective panes.

3. Custom Keybindings:

Custom keybindings provide a personalized approach to resizing panes in Tmux. By assigning your preferred key combinations to resizing actions, you can tailor the Tmux experience to match your workflow and preferences, making adjusting pane sizes more efficient and aligned with your needs. Follow these steps:

  1. Open your Tmux configuration file (~/.tmux.conf) using a text editor.
  2. Assign custom key combinations to the pane resizing actions you prefer.
  1. Save the changes to the configuration file.
  2. Reload the configuration using the command tmux source-file ~/.tmux.conf for the changes to take effect.
  1. Now, you can use your custom keybindings to resize panes in Tmux according to your specified combinations.

Troubleshooting and Common Issues

While adjusting pane sizes in Tmux, you might encounter some common issues. By troubleshooting these common issues, you can overcome obstacles and ensure a smooth experience when adjusting pane sizes in Tmux. Here are five common errors and solutions to address them:

  • 🔒 Unresponsive Keyboard Shortcuts: The keyboard shortcuts for resizing panes in Tmux are not working. To resolve this issue, ensure that you are in the correct mode by pressing Ctrl+b to enter Tmux command mode before using the keyboard shortcuts. Check for any conflicts with other programs or Terminal emulators that may be affecting the keybindings. Verify that your Tmux configuration file (~/.tmux.conf) does not have conflicting keybindings or overrides.
  • 🖱️ Inconsistent Mouse Support: The mouse support for resizing panes in Tmux is not functioning as expected. To resolve this issue, confirm that your Terminal emulator supports mouse input and that it is properly configured. Use the command tmux show-options -g | grep mouse to check if Tmux is recognizing mouse events and ensure the mouse-related options are set correctly. Try restarting both your Terminal emulator and Tmux session to see if it resolves the issue.
  • Incorrect Pane Splitting: When splitting a pane, the new pane does not appear or is not sized correctly. To resolve this issue, before splitting a pane, ensure you are in the desired location within Tmux, such as the correct window and pane. Double-check the keybindings or commands you are using for splitting and ensure their accuracy. Verify that you have enough available space in the Tmux window to accommodate the new pane by adjusting the sizes of existing panes if necessary.
  • ⚖️ Unexpected Proportional Resizing Behavior: Proportional resizing of panes in Tmux is not resulting in the desired sizes. To resolve this issue, check the value you specified for proportional resizing in the Tmux prompt, ensuring it is correct and properly formatted (e.g., a percentage value). Confirm that the layout of panes allows for proportional resizing, as some layouts may have restrictions. If you are using plugins or custom configurations, verify that they are not conflicting with the desired proportional resizing behavior.
  • 🔑 Conflicting Custom Keybindings: Custom keybindings for pane resizing are not working or conflicting with other Tmux functionalities. To resolve this issue, review your Tmux configuration file (~/.tmux.conf) for any conflicts with other keybindings or commands. Double-check the syntax and format of your custom keybindings to ensure they are correct. Consider testing your custom keybindings in a fresh Tmux session without any other custom configurations to isolate and identify potential conflicts.

In a Nutshell

In conclusion, I have shared with you a range of effective methods to adjust pane sizes in Tmux. From utilizing keyboard shortcuts and proportional resizing to leveraging mouse support and custom keybindings, you now have diverse techniques at your disposal. I have also discussed some common errors and their possible solutions that can occur during pane resizing.

To continue expanding your Tmux expertise, I recommend exploring the following articles, Tmux Workflows for Effective Task Management, Advanced Tmux Configuration, and Optimizing Tmux Productivity. With these resources, you can unlock even more Tmux capabilities and new efficiency levels in your command-line workflow. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I configure Tmux to adjust pane sizes based on content automatically?

Yes, you can configure Tmux to adjust pane sizes based on content automatically. Plugins like tmux-resizer or tmux-tilish offer dynamic pane resizing functionality. Once installed and enabled, these plugins monitor the content within panes and automatically resize them as needed. This ensures that panes remain optimally sized and visible, enhancing your workflow. The resizing rules of these plugins can be customized to suit your preferences through their respective configurations.

Is it possible to assign custom keybindings for specific pane resizing actions?

Absolutely! Tmux allows you to assign custom keybindings for specific pane resizing actions. By editing your Tmux configuration file, you can define your own key combinations and map them to desired resizing commands. Custom keybindings provide greater flexibility and streamline your workflow. Once saved, you can reload the configuration or restart Tmux to activate the changes. With custom keybindings, you have complete control over resizing panes according to your preferences.

How do I save and reuse customized pane layouts in Tmux?

To save and reuse customized pane layouts in Tmux, you can utilize its session management capabilities. Create your desired layout by splitting windows and adjusting pane sizes. Enter Tmux command mode and save the layout using the command setw -g @saved-layout “layout save default”. This saves the layout as “default” in a session-wide option. To reuse the saved layout, switch to another session or create a new one. Use the command layout load default to apply the saved layout, restoring the customized pane arrangement. Tmux’s session management simplifies the process of saving and reusing customized layouts across sessions.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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