I recently started to use tmux and like it much, but its green bottom bar is a bit distracting, is there a way to change its color? or a way to hide it?


There are many options given in the manual. (See the OPTIONS section.) Create an RC file: ~/.tmux.conf. The contents below enables UTF-8, sets the right TERM type, and draws the status bar with a black background and white foreground.

set status-utf8 on
set utf8 on

set -g default-terminal "screen-256color"

set -g status-bg black
set -g status-fg white

In FreeBSD 10.1, I have had to add -g to the UTF directives.

set -g status-utf8 on
set -g utf8 on

On UTF-8, many SSH clients require one to explicitly define a character set to use. For example, in Putty, select Window -> Translation -> Remote character set: UTF-8 and select Use Unicode line drawing code points.

And to turn off the status bar...

set -g status off

On colors from the manual...

message-bg colour

Set status line message background colour, where colour is one of: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, colour0 to colour255 from the 256-colour palette, or default.

So, to list the available colors, first create a script, maybe colors.sh:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
for i in {0..255} ; do
    printf "\x1b[38;5;${i}mcolour${i}\n"

Next, execute the script, piping to less:

colors.sh | less -r

This produces a list of colors, 1-255, in this format:


Pick a color from the list, perhaps colour240, a shade of grey. In ~/.tmux.conf, use this value to set the desired color:

set -g status-bg colour240

In Fedora 17, 256-color terminals are not enabled by default. The official method used to enable 256-color terminals by default is given on the Fedora Project Wiki. Follow that guide, or, as a per-user solution, create an alias for tmux to force 256-color support with the "-2" switch.

alias tmux="tmux -2"

Then start tmux to test it.

Note that, as @ILMostro_7 points out, it would not be correct to set the TERM type for tmux from, for example, ~/.bashrc. Each tmux pane emulates a terminal - not the same thing as an xterm. The emulation in tmux needs to match screen, a different terminal description, to behave properly; but, the real terminal does not need to do so. It's description is xterm-256color.

  • This works fine for Ubuntu, But I Fedora 17 when I set fg color to Gray it says "bad color". – Sam Jan 11 '13 at 22:02
  • I used official method from Fedora wiki, and every time I tried to login, returned this error messages: -bash: $'\r': command not found -bash: $'\r': command not found -bash: $'\r': command not found -bash: /etc/profile.d/256colors.sh: line 13: syntax error near unexpected token $'in\r'' 'bash: /etc/profile.d/256colors.sh: line 13: case "$TERM" in .Also I used the other two method, I run with no error but did not do anything! – Sam Jan 12 '13 at 9:04
  • 4
    To set bg-color to transparent: set -g status-bg default – Mr Hyde Nov 13 '13 at 11:42
  • Here's the color map: github.com/guns/xterm-color-table.vim/blob/master/… Example: color260 is orange. In Tmux, hit Control-b, then :set -g status-bg colour260. (Tmux uses international "colour" vs American "color.") Also note that Tmux has history, to update the color do Control-b, then : to enter command mode, and hit up arrow to edit the last set color command. – johntellsall Feb 9 '16 at 19:04
  • might be a better solution to use xterm-256color instead of screen-256color for the TERM environment variable. – ILMostro_7 Apr 4 '16 at 7:34

For me it's C-b, :set status-style "bg=red".

  • This solution worked for me on my mac with os 10.10.5 – Reina Abolofia Mar 21 '16 at 16:22
  • @ReinaAbolofia Great! =D – isomorphismes Apr 19 '16 at 15:09

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