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I added a bind p paste-buffer line to my ~/.tmux.conf file for testing purposes and then sourced the configuration with :source ~/.tmux.conf command. Everything worked and Ctrl+a+p pasted my buffer. Then I removed the bind p paste-buffer line from ~/.tmux.conf file and again executed the :source ~/.tmux.conf command, but still Ctrl+a+p pastes my buffer. Are there certain situations when :source-file ~/.tmux.conf does not work and one needs to restart tmux server?

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The key-binding is still in place in the running tmux instance since it was never explicitly unbound.

Use unbind-key p for that.

Sourcing the configuration file does not magically reset the active configuration, and we are happy it doesn't because that would make it really tricky to source one configuration file from another.

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