Tmux has an option to have the #{pane_current_path} as a name for the current pane in the status line. This is great but has two short falls for me:

  1. $HOME is not displayed as ~.
  2. I only really need the last directory name, not the full path from /. So, for example /home/ook/thingy/src would only be displayed as either src or ~/t/src.

Is there a Tmux command that does this?

Bonus points if it works with powerline as well.


I tried to find something similar recently, in my case, for setting the window information (for the Tmux command choose-window) to something more informative than the default.

In the man page, the relevant information seems to be in the FORMATS section, which is also used by the status-{left,right} commands:


Certain commands accept the -F flag with a format argument. This is a string which controls the output format of the command. Replacement variables are enclosed in ‘#{’ and ‘}’, for example ‘#{session_name}’. The possible variables are listed in the table below, or the name of a tmux option may be used for an option's value. Some variables have a shorter alias such as ‘#S’, and ‘##’ is replaced by a single ‘#’.

Conditionals are available by prefixing with ‘?’ and separating two alternatives with a comma; if the specified variable exists and is not zero, the first alternative is chosen, otherwise the second is used. For example ‘#{?session_attached,attached,not attached}’ will include the string ‘attached’ if the session is attached and the string ‘not attached’ if it is unattached, or ‘#{?automatic-rename,yes,no}’ will include ‘yes’ if automatic-rename is enabled, or ‘no’ if not.

A limit may be placed on the length of the resultant string by prefixing it by an ‘=’, a number and a colon. Positive numbers count from the start of the string and negative from the end, so ‘#{=5:pane_title}’ will include at most the first 5 characters of the pane title, or ‘#{=-5:pane_title}’ the last 5 characters. Prefixing a time variable with ‘t:’ will convert it to a string, so if ‘#{window_activity}’ gives ‘1445765102’, ‘#{t:window_activity}’ gives ‘Sun Oct 25 09:25:02 2015’. The ‘b:’ and ‘d:’ prefixes are basename(3) and dirname(3) of the variable respectively. A prefix of the form ‘s/foo/bar/:’ will substitute ‘foo’ with ‘bar’ throughout.

In addition, the first line of a shell command's output may be inserted using ‘#()’. For example, ‘#(uptime)’ will insert the system's uptime. When constructing formats, tmux does not wait for ‘#()’ commands to finish; instead, the previous result from running the same command is used, or a placeholder if the command has not been run before. Commands are executed with the tmux global environment set (see the ENVIRONMENT section).

After some attempts, I can't seem to make the built-in sed-like method work with the #{pane_current_path} directory name. Since you can also use any shell command or environmental variables, though, you can simply use some variation of

set status-left "#(basename ${PWD})"

I don't know about Powerline compatibility, since at the moment I'm not using it.

  • I cannot get this to work... Ah well, thank you nonetheless. – Sardathrion Feb 16 '16 at 8:37

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