When I am in tmux only a portion of the text shows up. If I try to scroll up or down the console scrolls up but not the actual text. If I do CTRL+b followed by [, I see in the status bar *tmux, and If I press the up or down arrow I can actually go up/down on the text line by line. When I press q I see in the status line bash.

When I do CTRL+b follow Page UP or Page the console goes up or down but not the text.

How can I scroll up or down the text in more than one line at a time?

  • What I was surprised about, but what seems to work out-of-the-box, is scrolling with the middle mouse while using tmux within gnome-terminal.
    – Anthon
    Feb 13, 2014 at 8:40

7 Answers 7


If you're using OS X's Terminal.app, it will capture Page up/down keypresses and just scroll the window contents, as if you used the scroll bar. You can use Shift+Page up/down to send them to the application inside the terminal.

Using that, you should be able to scroll by a page at a time using:

  1. Control+B
  2. [
  3. Arrows keys or Shift+Page up/down
  4. Control+C when done with scrollback

If you want to change this to behave like every other terminal app on every other platform, you can go to Terminal -> Preferences, Settings, choose your profile and go to Keyboard, and swap the bindings for "page down/page up" and "shift page down/shift page up":

Terminal.app keyboard settings screenshot

  • +1 although I can not test it but it seems to be a winner answer.I remember trying CMD with arrows but I don't remember trying SHIFT. Also swap the bindings for "page down/page up" and "shift page down/shift page up what do you mean? I am not sure what to do. I really hope this works because my nerves are completely wrecked by these
    – Jim
    Jul 4, 2013 at 20:05
  • @Jim Take a look at the screenshot. If you open the settings on your computer, you'll see that your "page up/down" and "shift page up/down" keys have different actions than what I have (these are the bindings: which key does which action). If you switch them around, you can change what happens when you're holding shift or not holding shift. (If you're editing them, you can input \033 by pressing escape)
    – mrb
    Jul 4, 2013 at 20:11
  • I don't have my mac available to check this right now, but in your screenshot for shift page down it has a text i.e.scroll to next page in buffer. This is special text that does exactly what is says? I.e. defines some mapping? Also is there a good book about these in mac? Because I have been going crazy with the keyboard the past weeks
    – Jim
    Jul 4, 2013 at 20:16
  • @Jim I don't know any books; I'm just surrounded by people raised on Macs. As for the key settings, it'll make more sense once you're actually doing it. :)
    – mrb
    Jul 4, 2013 at 20:25
  • Ok. I will try this asap. Thank you for your answer. I feel positive that you have given my the solution to my problem!!!Will accept this as soon as I test this
    – Jim
    Jul 4, 2013 at 20:30

I use the default combination on pre Yosemite MacBook Pro: fn++ or fn++.

EDIT: I've found on a MBP running Yosemite fn+ or fn+ should works by default.

In documentation it is often shown as ⇞ or ⇟

  • 1
    This works for me on a new Air with 10.9.4 without changing any preferences or config files or running any commands. Aug 22, 2014 at 23:41
  • 1
    +1 for the EDIT. function + arrow key is simple and set by default.
    – cdmo
    Nov 10, 2020 at 14:31
  • +1 for the EDIT. function + arrow key is simple and set by default.
    – cdmo
    Nov 10, 2020 at 14:31

Edit the ~/.tmux.conf file, insert the setting 'mouse', and source the file i.e:

###Find tmux version first:
tmux -V
> 1.8 

###For tmux version 1.8;
vim ~/.tmux.conf ### file
set -g mode-mouse on  ### Edit the .tmux.conf file with this setting
tmux source-file ~/.tmux.conf

###For tmux 2.1 version on:
vim ~/.tmux.conf ### file
set -g mouse on ### Edit the .tmux.conf file with this setting
tmux source-file ~/.tmux.conf
  • This works perfectly! Feb 20, 2017 at 21:27
  • 'set -g mode-mouse on' setting this worked for me. can you explain more why Feb 22, 2021 at 6:05

An update of binding commands in Rob's answer, and in response to Alex's comments:

I also found page-up and page-down are not valid tmux (v1.8) commands, a correct way of updating your ~/.tmux.conf is:

bind-key -t (emacs|vi)-copy j page-up
bind-key -t (emacs|vi)-copy ; page-down

Pick either emacs or vi depending on what style tmux uses, refer to mode-keys in tmux manual

After this you can pageup and down with j and ; in copy-mode

  • 1
    Quick link on how to put tmux into vi mode blog.sanctum.geek.nz/vi-mode-in-tmux Mar 19, 2015 at 19:01
  • If you read the article posted by JiminyCricket carefully, it is explained that the syntax above is only for tmux version 2.3 and below. If you have a newer version, then after enabling vi mode, the command list-keys -T copy-mode-vi will show key bindings in the new syntax (good examples to follow). If you want to create a page-up binding, for example, then use the line bind-key -T copy-mode-vi j send-keys -X page-up
    – mareoraft
    Jul 6, 2017 at 16:42

From https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Tmux

If you have issues scrolling with Shift-PageUp/Shift-PageDown in your terminal, try this:

set -g terminal-overrides 'xterm*:smcup@:rmcup@'

It could also be a terminal emulation thing, try one of the following.

export TERM=vt100
export TERM=ansi
export TERM=xterm

maybe one of those would do it.

There's also bind-key, in ~/.tmux.conf

bind-key j page-up
bind-key ; page-down

would bind j and ; to previous and next.

  • 1
    page-up and page-down are not valid tmux (v1.8) commands, so those last two commands give an error: Unknown command: page-(up|down)
    – Alex Leach
    Nov 27, 2013 at 11:13
  • See Ronnie's answer below to get page-up and page-down working
    – Silfheed
    Dec 11, 2014 at 23:17

Check to make sure you are using the proper tmux key bindings (vi vs emacs) by trying both sets: https://superuser.com/questions/196060/selecting-text-tmux-copy-mode

I had a similar issue where I could move the cursor with arrow keys but couldn't page up or down using Control+U/D and couldn't select and copy using Space and Enter. Turns out, tmux was on emacs mode on my Mac and vi mode in Linux even though I never explicitly set it for either OS.

  • Thanks for this; didn't realize Ctrl+U/D were available; I guess that's part of tmux vi mode. Jul 12, 2022 at 4:55

If you are new to OS X and are familiar with Windows and Linux keyboard shortcuts, you will probably be in the habit of using the CTRL for many things. In OS X the Command (aka Apple) Key is often used in place of the CTRL key.

Also, instead of the Page keys, try using Command + Up (or the other directional keys) to move your cursor or screen.

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