I'm looking for a behavior that is similar to how vim(1) handles its split windows with ^w =. I know tmux(1) has predefined layouts with ^b Meta[1-5], but this likely does not have the layout that I am currently using.

When splitting a window, it halves the current window for both panes. Split again, and it halves that pane into two new. Combine vertical and horizontal splits, and they continue to halve each other, each new pane getting smaller and smaller.

How can I keep the new layout I've just created, but have all vertical and horizontal splits equally balanced, like vim(1) does with ^w =?

  • The description for the "tiled" layout says "Panes are spread out as evenly as possible over the window in both rows and columns." Could you explain how what you want is different from this please? – Lars Kotthoff Feb 29 '12 at 18:56
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    Sure. This describes it very well: gist.github.com/1942422 – Aaron Toponce Mar 2 '12 at 19:39


select-layout even-vertical
Usually assigned to: Ctrl+b, Alt+2


select-layout even-horizontal
Usually assigned to: Ctrl+b, Alt+1

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    For other people who are wondering: C-b M-2 means Control-b, and M-2 means alt+2. – Christophe De Troyer Jun 21 '14 at 20:49
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    M-2 means ESC+2 for me on Debian using Gnome Terminal. Probably depends on setup. – arcyqwerty Nov 24 '14 at 5:06
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    C-... and M-... are emacs-ims M- means "meta" which is [Alt] in combination with or [Esc] followed by the referenced key both options look the same over the wire, but there is the possibility that your GUI may be trapping the [Alt] sequence – Jasen Jul 17 '15 at 3:56
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    Just to put this here in case it helps someone else, because I am constantly confused, "vertical" and "horizontal" are the direction of the spacing--that is, choosing even-vertical will create a layout where the three panes are stacked vertically, equal in height, where even-horizontal will create a layout where the three panes are side-by-side, equal in width – A. Wilson Mar 22 '16 at 16:20
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    How to do M-2 on macOS with a keyboard where "2" requires pressing shift (like the French keyboard)? I didn't succeed, with various combinations of alt, control, command, escape and shift + 2… – Eric O Lebigot Apr 7 '18 at 9:05

You can use ctrl-b space to cycle through layouts with even spacing, but that won't necessarily preserve the layout you had.

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    The idea behind the trick (if you want to map it to something else or adapt it): bind-key -r Space next-layout. Then C-b Space Space Space... – BenC Nov 24 '14 at 14:01
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    Is there a way to know which layout I've selected, and how to quickly jump to it again? – hughes Apr 16 '15 at 21:15
  • this is a nice one, let you explore various combinations – emvidi Feb 11 at 20:34

From the command line you can use

tmux select-layout tiled

to make your splits all roughly equal size. You can bind that to a key command as well.

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    Usually assigned to: C-b M-5 – minipif Jan 17 '18 at 3:40

I don't know any single key shortcut, but maybe this helps you:

You can try to write some script to do the layout, and bind a key to the script. You can do this by using tmuxcommand pipe-pane [-o] [-t target-pane] [shell-command] to write the current layout to the script. Next you need to read a layout prepared by the script using tmuxcommand select-layout .


I was having a hard time finding the magic incantation to split into 4 equal quadrants, so here it is:

# Split session into FOUR EQUAL quadrants
tmux selectp -t 0    # select the first (0) pane
tmux splitw -h -p 50 # split it into two halves
tmux selectp -t 0    # select the first (0) pane
tmux splitw -v -p 50 # split it into two halves

tmux selectp -t 2    # select the new, second (2) pane
tmux splitw -v -p 50 # split it into two halves
tmux selectp -t 0    # go back to the first pane

ctrl b and then :resize-pane -M and then just use your mouse! (requires mouse-mode to be enabled)

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    mice do not belong in terminals – inetknght Mar 23 at 20:49

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