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How do I move an existing window into a pane in another window in tmux when I have multiple windows, and vice versa?

I'm coming from screen, where I can switch to the pane and then switch windows until I get to the one I want; tmux does not seem to allow this.

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4 Answers

up vote 61 down vote accepted

The command to do this is join-pane in tmux 1.4.

join-pane [-dhv] [-l size | -p percentage] [-s src-pane] [-t dst-pane] (alias: joinp) Like split-window, but instead of splitting dst-pane and creating a new pane, split it and move src-pane into the space. This can be used to reverse break-pane. [1]

To simplify this, I have these binds in my .tmux.conf for that:

# pane movement
bind-key j command-prompt -p "join pane from:"  "join-pane -s '%%'"
bind-key s command-prompt -p "send pane to:"  "join-pane -t '%%'"

The first grabs the pane from the target window and joins it to the current, the second does the reverse.

You can then reload your tmux session by running: $ tmux source-file ~/.tmux.conf from within the session.

[1] http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/man.cgi?query=tmux&sektion=1

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I'm trying this method but when I put your code into my .tmux.conf file and do Ctrl-b, j, nothing seems to happen. –  mrlanrat Jun 3 '11 at 4:19
You need at least 2 windows open, with a couple panes in each: then hit Prefix+s and enter the window name at the prompt to send the pane to that window... –  jasonwryan Jun 3 '11 at 4:28
I am still not having any luck with this, nothing happens. I get the feeling tmux is not reading the .tmux.conf file because it does not respond at all to Ctrl-b, j or Ctrl-b, s. (these are the only 2 lines in the config file) –  mrlanrat Jun 3 '11 at 5:22
Have you reloaded the .conf file after creating it? Ctrl-b r? –  jasonwryan Jun 3 '11 at 5:59
@mrlanrat I find that you must prefix the window number with a colon. See my answer below. –  Richard Bronosky Feb 1 '12 at 16:17
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join-pane is the answer. I too was having problems with my attempts to use it based on the tmux documentation. I discovered that the -t and -s switches seem to accept [session]:window and not [session:]window. That is to say that specifying the session is optional, but including the : is mandatory. (I am using tmux 1.5)

Therefore, in order to add a pane to the current window and place window 1 into the pane, the command would be (Ctrl-B or whatever your bind key is, followed by)...

:join-pane -s :1

You can then break them appart with break-pane which by default is: Ctrl-B ! If you want to bind it to a shortcut, I suggest NOT overriding a default binding like s, because down the road you will look on the internet for an answer that involves choose-session and it will not work on your system. Notice that break-pane is bound to ! and @ is right next to it and not bound to anything by default. For that reason I suggest this binding...

bind-key @ command-prompt -p "create pane from:"  "join-pane -s ':%%'"

The most important thing is that your LEARN "join-pane -s :" because if you just set it and forget it, you will be gimped when you find yourself on a foreign server. And let's face it, the most important thing a terminal multiplexer gives you is reliable sessions on remote servers.

This completes my conversion from GNU Screen to Tmux. I'll never look back.


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Thanks, this is exactly what I needed. –  dsummersl Aug 22 '12 at 18:12
I'd been missing the ':' as well...thanks for this. –  rascalking Sep 20 '12 at 19:03
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I think I like what I've been using for moving panes to their own window better. I use

break-pane -t :

I figured it out through experimentation, but it seems to work very well. You can keybind or alias it easily, no scripting required.

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+1. I tend to use this much more often than join-pane. –  Chris B Nov 21 '12 at 3:51
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If you don't want to type the pane identifier into a prompt, you can also use

bind-key j "join-pane -s !"

which will join the last active pane/window to the current window.

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Which version are you using? I'm getting unknown command: join-pane -s ! with 1.6. –  paradroid Aug 28 '12 at 17:00
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