I find myself often doing the same thing with tmux:

  1. cd to a given directory.
  2. tmux
  3. Rename window to what I'm doing.
  4. Split the window vertically 50%.
  5. Start one process in the left window.
  6. Start another process in the right window.
  7. Profit.

Is there a way for me to automate launching all of this so that I can run a single command and get the window I'm looking for?

  • What about a shell alias?
    – Marco
    Jan 15, 2013 at 17:14

2 Answers 2


Archwiki saves the day! Session Initialization on the tmux page gives an example.

That said, instead of starting tmux as tmux, tmux new -s name will name the session when it starts instead of giving it a number.

Session initialization

You can have tmux open a session with preloaded windows by including those details in your ~/.tmux.conf:

new  -n WindowName Command
neww -n WindowName Command
neww -n WindowName Command

To start a session with split windows (multiple panes), include the splitw command below the neww you would like to split; thus:

new  -s SessionName -n WindowName Command
neww -n foo/bar foo
splitw -v -p 50 -t 0 bar
selectw -t 1 
selectp -t 0

would open 2 windows, the second of which would be named foo/bar and would be split vertically in half (50%) with foo running above bar. Focus would be in window 2 (foo/bar), top pane (foo).

Note: Numbering for sessions, windows and panes starts at zero, unless you have specified a base-index of 1 in your .conf

To manage multiple sessions, source separate session files from your conf file:

# initialize sessions
bind F source-file ~/.tmux/foo
bind B source-file ~/.tmux/bar

Rob's answer is great and explains exactly how to handle sessions from within tmux itself. Now, if you don't mind using a third-party tool, tmuxinator is a great project that helps create and manage sessions easily.

Each session is controlled by a config file that allows you to define all of your windows and panes along with their layouts and default commands to run within them. It also allows you to define a default project directory, specific socket, and daemons that are required to be running (e.g. mysql). To top it off, it provides an easy method to attach to them as well: simply run mux [session-name] and it will either start the session or attach to it if it is already running. I've been using it for a little while now and love it (thanks aziz!).


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