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This is modified, alternative tabbed extension for well known urxvt-unicode terminal emulator


  • Possibility to add named tabs, through the X resources, which represents its class. Without any configuration only default shell class is available under default (Shift+Down) shortcut. It might be disabled, and it will become "new style" shortcut - Ctrl+Shift+N. See configuration section below.

    Named tabs
  • Fast navigation to first ten tabs (if available) with shortcut Ctrl+[num], where num can be 0 to 9. CTRL+0 will switch to tenth tab.

  • Numbers in tabs can be switched off in by setting false

  • Integrated activity indicator with additional features like colors and different characters instead of simply asterisk depending on time.

    Indicator activity
  • Integrated tab renaming from stepb. Default under Shift+UP, then type some text and press RETURN for accept or ESC for cancel.


Copy tabbedalt into ~/.urxvt/ext directory.

Add these to your ~/.Xdefaults:

! Perl extension config
URxvt.perl-ext: tabbedalt

And that's it. On some systems, there might be a need to reload X resources:

$ xrdb ~/.Xdefaults

For quickinstall and run urxvt, tabbedalt can be installed using following command:

$ curl --create-dirs -o ~/.urxvt/ext/tabbedalt
$ urxvt -pe tabbedalt

or even without "installing" at all:

$ curl -o /tmp/tabbedalt
$ URXVT_PERL_LIB=/tmp urxvt -pe tabbedalt


There are several additional things you can set contrary to the original tabbed extension.

New button

You can disable [NEW] button, just to save the space. Just add following line to yours ~/.Xdefaults file: false


You can change all of the colors regarding tabs appearance. Here are defaults:

URxvt.tabbedalt.tabbar-fg: 15
URxvt.tabbedalt.tabbar-bg: 8 8 0 1
URxvt.tabbedalt.actives-fg: 5
URxvt.tabbedalt.actived-fg: 4

Tab activity

Tabs can change colors depending on the activity of terminal under certain tab. Colors can be defined as described in section above. You can change the time for either group of activity:

URxvt.tabbedalt.tabbar-timeouts: 16:.:8:::4:+

The value can should be read as colon separated fields. In this case it would be read as:

  • 16 with symbol .
  • 8 with symbol :
  • 4 with symbol +

Numeric values means amount of seconds, on which three group of activity will be triggered. Those group are:

  • Inactive for at least 16 seconds
  • Inactive for at least 8 seconds
  • Inactive for at least 4 seconds

Activity of the tab is always represented by asterisk sign (*).

You can change those values but bear in mind, that first group should have timeout in seconds set higher, than middle one. You can also change symbols for those groups.

Tab numbers

You can turn off tab numbers and leave only name of the tab. Handy to save the space: false

Creating custom classes

Let's assume, that one want to add three kind of custom shells:

  • simple one (default shell in the system),
  • midnight commander,
  • root (namely - su command)

Three resources should be created in .Xdefaults:

URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds.1: N|shell
URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds.2: R|root|su -
URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds.3: M|mc|mc

Numbered attribute just after URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds resource is an ordinal number, started from 1. There shouldn't be gaps between numbers, otherwise custom shells defined after a gap will not work.

Resource values are pipe separated values, which are in order:

  • shortcut key, which will be used for invoking custom shell together with CTRL+SHIFT keys.

Note: There is limitation for characters used as a shortcut. Because some of them are used for control terminal itself (i.e. CTRL+SHIFT+D may not work), and also other characters (digits, some special characters etc.). Letters are case insensitive.

  • name of the tab, it could be anything but the pipe.
  • optional command. If omitted, default shell will be launched.

By default, there is default shortcut available for creating standard shell (like the shell class from example above) under Shift+Down. It might be however disabled by setting:

URxvt.tabbedalt.disable-shift-down: true

and from now on, default Ctrl+Shift+N shortcut will be available for creating new shell, if there is no existing mapping for this shortcut. You can override the mapping for something different, getting above example, we will override first class, which reside under shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N:

URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds.1: N|rss|newsboat

But beware, from now on, you'll be unable to create simple shell tabs, unless you explicitly create class for a shell, so the full changed example will looks like:

URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds.1: N|rss|newsboat
URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds.2: R|root|su -
URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds.3: M|mc|mc
URxvt.tabbedalt.tabcmds.4: S|shell

Startup tabs

There is possibility to tell tabbedalt which tabs should be auto started during first window launch. First, you'll need to have some custom tab commands. Let's assume, that there are already defined three custom shells, like in section above. If one wanted to start shell, mc and root session, following line should be placed in ~/.Xdefaults:

URxvt.tabbedalt.session: S|M|R

Renaming tabs

On runtime, tabs can be renamed using SHIFT+UP - now you can type name for the tab. Return accept change, ESC cancels it. This feature was taken from stepb tabbedx repository.


Extended tabbed plugin for rxvt-unicode (urxvt)




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