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Nested tmux

This is a simple tmux configuration enabling to have arbitrarily many nested tmux sessions.



Quick start

mkdir ~/.tmux.conf.d/
cd ~/.tmux.conf.d/
git clone
mv ~/.tmux.conf ~/.tmux.conf.backup
echo "source ~/.tmux.conf.d/nested-tmux/active-row.conf" > ~/.tmux.conf


  • Ctrl + a, Ctrl + c or Ctrl + t: create a new window
  • Ctrl + a, Ctrl + s: create a new nested tmux session and ask a name for it
  • Ctrl + a, Ctrl + A: switch to last window
  • Ctrl + a, A: rename current window
  • Alt + Right: move to the next window of the current row
  • Alt + Left: move to the previous window of the current row
  • Alt + Up: move to the inner tmux session
  • Alt + Down: move to the outer tmux session


  • Q: Why do we need this?

    A: When working with many projects it's useful to have a dedicated tmux session with three windows per-project: one with a text editor, one for git and one for the build directory. This is why this project was born. However, nested tmux sessions are addictive and quickly become in-terminal workspaces that can be used for any purpose.

  • Q: Does it support multiple nested layers of tmux sessions?

    A: Yes.

  • Q: Has it been tested with other configuration X?

    A: No.

  • Q: How is this implemented?

    A: The idea is two have two configurations, active-row.conf and inactive-row.conf. The former is for the currently active row in the nested tmux tree, the second for the inactive rows. Each session know who its parent is through the TMUX_PARENT environment variable (set in the new-tmux script). When Alt + Up is pressed, the Alt + F12 combination is sent to the active window. If the active window is a nested tmux session, it will load active-row.conf and forces loading inactive-row.conf in its parent (i.e., the row that originally received the Alt + Up key combination. When Alt + Down is pressed, the current row loads inactive-row.conf and forces loading active-row.conf in its parent.