The terminal i'm using is termite, and it is very good, but i'm having a problem with vim colorschemes and some colors in the terminal itself too when using tmux. It happens as follows: Right = no tmux; Left = tmux As you can see in the screenshot, when i open nvim or vim with tmux, the case on the left, the colorscheme gets altered, this happens with all colorschemes i tested (about 15 or 20). I observed, that when i execute the command TERM=xterm-256color tmux right after i enter termite, the nvim/vim (i simlinked my .vimrc, so it is the same as init.vim) colorschemes works like a charm! I'm using i3-gaps, so, i decided to set the binding, $mod+Return to open termite that way:

  • bindsym $mod+Return exec termite -e 'TERM=xterm-256color tmux'

It should have worked, but when i press the keys, the screen only blinks and nothing happens.

Things i've tried include:

  • Set $TERM to various values, both in termite, in ~/.tmux.conf.local and in my .vimrc: xterm-256color, screen-256color, termite-256color;

  • Tested the same thing with other terminal emulators, like xfce-terminal and gnome-terminal, in both it works normally, and the colors get displayed correctly;

  • Set in my .vimrc:

    `if &term == "screen"` 
        `set t_Co=256`
  • Starting tmux with tmux -2;

  • Aliasing in my .zshrc:

    tmux="tmux -2";
    tmux="TERM=xterm-256color tmux" (screen blinks and nothing happens);
    termite="termite --exec "TERM=xterm-256color tmux";
    termite="termite -e "TERM=xterm-256color tmux".

Edit: The $TERM inside and outside tmux continue to be the same as the terminal. It outputs the same thing when I echo $TERM inside and outside tmux. This happened with termite, have to test it with other terminals.

  • What's the TERM value set to in tmux? you may need to specify to tmux that it's using a 256 color capable terminal, as well as letting termite know. Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 12:10
  • The TERM in tmux is screen-256color. I read in the FAQ, that is not recommend to set it to anything else, I tried, anyway, to set it to other values, with no success. Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


For the ones with a similar problem or the same one here it goes: you just need to set the $TERM variable to be the same in your .rc and in .tmux.conf files. To know if something is wrong, i recommend using :checkhealth command inside neovim.


I'm using these configurations in my ~/.tmux.conf file, should works with you also:

set -g terminal-overrides ',xterm-256color:Tc'
set -g default-terminal "tmux-256color"
set -as terminal-overrides ',xterm*:sitm=\E[3m'
  • I tested it now, it doesn't worked... :( Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 22:34
  • This worked for me, was almost giving up.
    – fmilani
    Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 3:20

So, if anyone is still interested in finding a fix; for those who still have the same problem: I was able to get it working nicely without doing much.

I had forgotten about this matter and stopped using tmux for a long time until I decided to ask about it on a Linux group on Telegram and a cool lad helped me with the issue. We've come up to this, on the sxhkd config file:

# Open alacritty with tmux
super + shift + Return
    alacritty -e $SHELL -i -c tmux &

I changed terminal to Allacrity, that's a GPU-based term, faster and more easily configurable out-of-the-box, but i don't think that has something to do with, to be fair. Honestly, i don't remember having had the issue with the colors on Alacritty, because, at the time, i didn't used it as it was in beta or something...

You can both add that to a key-binding in your wm's rc, or create an alias for that in your shell rc.

Also, as stated before:

you need to set the $TERM variable to be the same in your .rc and in .tmux.conf files. To know if something is wrong, i recommend using :checkhealth command inside neovim.

Colors now behave the same in and out of tmux :)

The file for the sxhkd configuration is on my GitHub, line 06.

I know that necroposting isn't good, but I had to do it as this problem had haunted me for several months, and it was very hard to find a sulution even though i searched in the web on a variety of forums and FAQs, read the docs about the software in question and couldn't find something relevant.

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