I've been trying some .tmux.conf files but now I'd like to go back to the original/default configuration. How can I do it? I've been looking for the default file but no luck.


Here's the list of default options that are taken from revision 1.51 of window-options.c in the tmux source from OpenBSD-current (this is the development version, sync'ed quite frequently with sourceforge).

# Server options.
buffer-limit  20
escape-time  500
exit-unattached  0
focus-events  0
message-limit  100
quiet  0
set-clipboard  1
terminal-overrides  "*256col*:colors=256,xterm*:XT:Ms=\\E]52;%p1%s;%p2%s\\007:Cs=\\E]12;%p1%s\\007:Cr=\\E]112\\007:Ss=\\E[%p1%d q:Se=\\E[2 q,screen*:XT"

# Session options.
assume-paste-time  1,
base-index  0
bell-action  any
bell-on-alert  0
default-command  ""
default-shell  _PATH_BSHELL
default-terminal  "screen"
destroy-unattached  0
detach-on-destroy  1
display-panes-active-colour  1
display-panes-colour  4
display-panes-time  1000
display-time  750
history-limit  2000
lock-after-time  0
lock-command  "lock -np"
lock-server  1
message-attr  0,
message-bg  3,
message-command-attr  0,
message-command-bg  0,
message-command-fg  3,
message-command-style  "bg=black,fg=yellow"
message-fg  0,
message-style  "bg=yellow,fg=black"
mouse-resize-pane  0
mouse-select-pane  0
mouse-select-window  0
mouse-utf8  0
pane-active-border-bg  8,
pane-active-border-fg  2,
pane-active-border-style  "fg=green"
pane-border-bg  8,
pane-border-fg  8,
pane-border-style  "default"
prefix C-b
prefix2  KEYC_NONE,
renumber-windows  0
repeat-time  500
set-remain-on-exit  0
set-titles  0
set-titles-string  "#S:#I:#W - \"#T\""
status  1
status-attr  0,
status-bg  2,
status-fg  0,
status-interval  15
status-justify  0
status-keys emacs
status-left  "[#S] "
status-left-attr  0,
status-left-bg  8,
status-left-fg  8,
status-left-length  10
status-left-style  "default"
status-position  1
status-right  " \"#{=22:pane_title}\" %H:%M %d-%b-%y"
status-right-attr  0,
status-right-bg  8,
status-right-fg  8,
status-right-length  40
status-right-style  "default"
status-style  "bg=green,fg=black"
status-utf8  0 # overridden in main()
visual-activity  0
visual-bell  0
visual-silence  0
word-separators  " -_@"

# Window options.
aggressive-resize  0
allow-rename  1
alternate-screen  1
automatic-rename  1
automatic-rename-format  "#{?pane_in_mode,[tmux],#{pane_current_command}}#{?pane_dead,[dead],}"
c0-change-trigger  250,
c0-change-interval  100,
clock-mode-colour  4
clock-mode-style  1
force-height  0
force-width  0
main-pane-height  24
main-pane-width  80
mode-attr  0,
mode-bg  3,
mode-fg  0,
mode-keys  emacs
mode-mouse  0
mode-style  "bg=yellow,fg=black"
monitor-activity  0
monitor-silence  0
other-pane-height  0
other-pane-width  0
pane-base-index  0
remain-on-exit  0
synchronize-panes  0
utf8  0 # overridden in main()

wrap-search  1
xterm-keys  0

# XXX: not sure how to transcribe these
window-status-activity-attr  GRID_ATTR_REVERSE,
window-status-activity-bg  8,
window-status-activity-fg  8,
window-status-activity-style  "reverse"
window-status-attr  0,
window-status-bell-attr  GRID_ATTR_REVERSE,
window-status-bell-bg  8,
window-status-bell-fg  8,
window-status-bell-style  "reverse"
window-status-bg  8,
window-status-current-attr  0,
window-status-current-bg  8,
window-status-current-fg  8,
window-status-current-format  "#I:#W#F"
window-status-current-style  "default"
window-status-fg  8,
window-status-format  "#I:#W#F"
window-status-last-attr  0,
window-status-last-bg  8,
window-status-last-fg  8,
window-status-last-style  "default"
window-status-separator  " "
window-status-style  "default"

The default key bindings from key-bindings.c

 bind C-b send-prefix
 bind C-o rotate-window
 bind C-z suspend-client
 bind Space next-layout
 bind ! break-pane
 bind '\"' split-window
 bind '#' list-buffers
 bind '$' command-prompt -I'#S' \"rename-session '%%'\"
 bind % split-window -h
 bind & confirm-before -p\"kill-window #W? (y/n)\" kill-window
 bind \"'\" command-prompt -pindex \"select-window -t ':%%'\"
 bind ( switch-client -p
 bind ) switch-client -n
 bind , command-prompt -I'#W' \"rename-window '%%'\"
 bind - delete-buffer
 bind . command-prompt \"move-window -t '%%'\"
 bind 0 select-window -t:0
 bind 1 select-window -t:1
 bind 2 select-window -t:2
 bind 3 select-window -t:3
 bind 4 select-window -t:4
 bind 5 select-window -t:5
 bind 6 select-window -t:6
 bind 7 select-window -t:7
 bind 8 select-window -t:8
 bind 9 select-window -t:9
 bind : command-prompt
 bind \\; last-pane
 bind = choose-buffer
 bind ? list-keys
 bind D choose-client
 bind L switch-client -l
 bind [ copy-mode
 bind ] paste-buffer
 bind c new-window
 bind d detach-client
 bind f command-prompt \"find-window '%%'\"
 bind i display-message
 bind l last-window
 bind n next-window
 bind o select-pane -t:.+
 bind p previous-window
 bind q display-panes
 bind r refresh-client
 bind s choose-tree
 bind t clock-mode
 bind w choose-window
 bind x confirm-before -p\"kill-pane #P? (y/n)\" kill-pane
 bind z resize-pane -Z
 bind { swap-pane -U
 bind } swap-pane -D
 bind '~' show-messages
 bind PPage copy-mode -u
 bind -r Up select-pane -U
 bind -r Down select-pane -D
 bind -r Left select-pane -L
 bind -r Right select-pane -R
 bind M-1 select-layout even-horizontal
 bind M-2 select-layout even-vertical
 bind M-3 select-layout main-horizontal
 bind M-4 select-layout main-vertical
 bind M-5 select-layout tiled
 bind M-n next-window -a
 bind M-o rotate-window -D
 bind M-p previous-window -a
 bind -r M-Up resize-pane -U 5
 bind -r M-Down resize-pane -D 5
 bind -r M-Left resize-pane -L 5
 bind -r M-Right resize-pane -R 5
 bind -r C-Up resize-pane -U
 bind -r C-Down resize-pane -D
 bind -r C-Left resize-pane -L
 bind -r C-Right resize-pane -R

There are further key bindings (vi and emacs copy-mode and status-line editing keys) defined in mode-keys.c which I didn't bother to extract.

  • Here's the link to key-bindings.c which I wasn't allowed to include in the answer
    – ariane
    Dec 22 '14 at 16:17
  • I think the tmux source on Github now includes this information in options-table.c instead of window-options.c. I can't find window-options.c in that repo. Feb 29 '16 at 22:52

You can obtain the default settings with

$ tmux -f /dev/null show-options -s \; show-options -g \; list-keys > tmux.defaults.conf

The -f /dev/null specifies a null configuration file, so what you end up with is whatever is hard-coded in the source.

Once that's captured in a file you could, in theory, use it as a source file:

$ tmux unbind-key -a
$ tmux source-file tmux.defaults.conf

I say in theory because you will need to play around with the escaping within the extracted tmux.conf before it will source correctly. The unbind-key is there to clean key-bindings out prior to loading the tmux.conf. I am not sure if there's a way to clear out options en-masse.


tmux takes it defaults from the compiled in values, overruled by /etc/tmux.conf and then by ~/.tmux.conf. If the latter is not present it will just work with the other values. That means you can just delete the ~/.tmux.conf or leave it empty.

Both on Ubuntu 12.04 nor on Linux Mint 17 there seems to be a default /etc/tmux.conf file (in which case the compiled in default values are taken).

  • I don't have /etc/tmux.conf. Is there a place where I can copy paste the default settings?
    – Jay
    Dec 22 '14 at 15:46
  • @Jay Neither do I, that means the internal defaults are taken. There is no (documented) way to dump these internal defaults to a file (some other programs have these). So you can leave out the file and get what you want.
    – Anthon
    Dec 22 '14 at 15:50

The other answers include some very useful information that implies the answer but I think they haven't quite answered the question explicitly.

If I understand the tmux man page correctly, you can reset a given option to the default with tmux set -u -g <option>.

The only way I know to restore all the options at once is to reinstall tmux.

I think the reference ariane provided (or at least part of it) was generated right after installing tmux using tmux show -g, tmux show -g -s, and tmux show -g -w to get the session, server, and window options.

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