this question (to my knowledge) has not been asked before, yet would benefit anyone that uses tmux! I tried searching github too for plugins etc, but no luck yet.

What I'd like to achieve:

  • Cycle between windows of the same name.


Imagine you have 6 tmux windows, in the following order, status bar would look similar to this:


If Im currently in window 0 (zsh):

  • I would like to cycle between the 3 'zsh' windows (0,2,4)

If Im currently in window 1 (vim):

  • I would like to cycle between the 3 'vim' windows (1,3,5)

This would allow you to cycle windows of the same type without having to re-order all your windows first (vim next to vim, zsh next zsh etc). bliss!

I have tried myself, but no success :(

  • Why do you want to cycle, rather than go directly to a particular one?
    – icarus
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 6:13

2 Answers 2


I created a basic solution.

  1. Save the following script as _tmux-cycle-samename and make it executable (chmod +x _tmux-cycle-samename).

    if [ "$1" = "-r" ]; then filter=tac; else filter=cat; fi
    name="$(tmux display-message -p '#W' | sed 's|\(.\)|[\\\1]|g')"
    tmux select-window -t "$(
       tmux list-windows -F '#{window_active} #{window_id} #W' \
       | grep '^[01] @[0123456789]* '"$name"'$' | "$filter" \
       | awk '
          NR==1 {result=$2}
          { if (seen==1) {result=$2; exit} 
          END {print result}

    The script retrieves the right name (tmux display-message …) and prepares the string (sed …), so when interpreted as regex later the name is matched literally. Then the script lists windows (tmux list-windows …), picks the matching ones (grep …), preserves or reverses the order (cat or tac from the expansion of $filter) and finds the next inactive window (awk …). Finally the found window is selected (tmux select-window …).

  2. Add these to your ~/.tmux.conf:

    bind-key -T prefix > run-shell '/full/path/to/_tmux-cycle-samename'
    bind-key -T prefix < run-shell '/full/path/to/_tmux-cycle-samename -r'

    If _tmux-cycle-samename can be resolved via PATH then you don't need to specify the full path.

  3. If already inside tmux then run tmux source-file ~/.tmux.conf. A tmux server started anew will source the file automatically.

  4. Try prefix> and prefix< in your tmux to test the solution (the default prefix is Ctrl+b).

  • Thank you Kamil! sorry for the delayed response, it works perfectly and only 10 lines of posix code too! thank you so much! marking this as accepted and a +1
    – 5c0tt_b0t
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 11:28

There is a command to switch to the last visited pane: ctrl-b + ;

You can bind the # key (or anything you like) to switch to the last visited tmux pane. I chose # because it's like how:b# switches to the last buffer in vim:

# go to last pane (like b# in vim)
bind '#' select-pane -l

So you can just press you tmux prefix (by default ctrl-b) followed by #.

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