Everything you need to know about tmux – Plugins Manager

Like vi, emacs, and other mature Linux programs, tmux is extensible and allows third-party code (or plugins) to extend its features and capabilities. The plugins can be installed manually, or managed through a “plugin manager.” Tmux Plugin Manger (also known as “tpm”) is designed to automatically manage the tmux plugins. By adding few lines into your ~/.tmux.conf you can easily activate plugins and extend the power of tmux beyond its default offering.

Install tpm

1. First, we will clone tpm into ~/.tmux folder under the home folder

$ git clone https://github.com/tmux-plugins/tpm ~/.tmux/plugins/tpm

2. We add the following lines at the bottom of our ~/.tmux.conf

# List of plugins
set -g @plugin 'tmux-plugins/tpm'
set -g @plugin 'tmux-plugins/tmux-sensible'

# Other examples:
# set -g @plugin 'github_username/plugin_name'
# set -g @plugin 'git@github.com/user/plugin'
# set -g @plugin 'git@bitbucket.com/user/plugin'

# Initialize TMUX plugin manager (keep this line at the very bottom of tmux.conf)
run -b '~/.tmux/plugins/tpm/tpm'

3. Finally, we reload tmux (also knows as “sourcing tmux”). If tmux is already running, type the following:

$ tmux source ~/.tmux.conf

That’s it!

Installing Plugins

  1. Add new plugin to ~/.tmux.conf with set -g @plugin '...'
  2. Press prefix + I (capital i, as in Install) to fetch the plugin.

You’re good to go! The plugin was cloned to ~/.tmux/plugins/ dir and sourced.

Uninstalling Plugins

  1. Remove (or comment out) plugin from the list.
  2. Press prefix + alt + u (lowercase u as in uninstall) to remove the plugin.

All the plugins are installed to ~/.tmux/plugins/. Alternatively you can find plugin directory there and remove it.

Example – Prefix highlighting plugin

The tmux plugin tmux-prefix-highlight provides a visual indicator in the tmux status bar when the tmux prefix key is pressed. The installation is extremely simple using the tmux Plugin Manager (TPM).


Add plugin to the list of TPM plugins by simply adding the line below to ~/.tmux.conf:

set -g @plugin 'tmux-plugins/tmux-prefix-highlight'

Finally, press prefix + I to install it.


Just add #{prefix_highlight} to your left/right status bar by adding the line below to ~/.tmux.conf

set -g status-right '#{prefix_highlight} | %a %Y-%m-%d %H:%M'

The plugin can also be configured to show when copy mode is active; see the Configurations section of the online documentation.

Example – Nordify tmux

Nord is a theme that comes with a total of sixteen, carefully selected, dimmed pastel colors for a eye-comfortable, but yet colorful ambiance. It is inspired by the beauty of the arctic, the colors reflect the cold, yet harmonious world of ice and the colorfulness of the Aurora Borealis. Nord consists of four named color palettes providing different syntactic meanings and color effects for dark & bright ambiance designs.

Nord tmux is an arctic, north-bluish clean and elegant tmux theme. It is part of the ports that Nord offers to unify the appearance of your favorite applications.

Installation and Activation

Nord uses tmux plugins manager (tpm) to automatically download and activate Nord tmux. Once tpm is installed:

  1. add set -g @plugin "arcticicestudio/nord-tmux" to your tmux.conf (by default .tmux.conf located in your home directory)
  2. press the default key binding prefix + I to fetch- and install the plugin