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Context: I have a window split into three panes. The top pane is running a script which shows my mercurial status by occasionally running 'hg xl'. My script knows how many lines are output by the command.

Is there a way I can have this program resize its pane to be exactly the right number of lines for this output?

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You can have your script run a tmux command to resize the pane to a chosen y height, eg 30 lines:

tmux resize-pane -t "$TMUX_PANE" -y 30

The environment variable TMUX_PANE will have been set by tmux in the shell running in the pane, or you may already know it (e.g. 0.0 for the first pane).

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