In emacs, you split a window with C-x 2 (one above the other) or C-x 3 (one next to the other).

How can I get the same key bindings in tmux?

Also, once a window is split, in emacs you cycle through them with C-x o. Can I configure tmux to use the same key?

  • Have you read the man page for tmux? It should be obvious what to do. Unfortunately if you do it, then C-x stops working as a prefix key in Emacs because tmux will interpret it instead.
    – Kyle Jones
    Nov 7, 2013 at 23:42
  • It would be nice if there were a tmux command I could use to disable those keys just for the one window in which I run emacs. Alternatively, I'd be happy to use C-b C-x 2 instead of the normal C-x 2 to split windows.
    – Frank
    Nov 8, 2013 at 23:42

3 Answers 3


Now, dreams become true: https://github.com/tmux/tmux/issues/2904

My use case is:

  • If a tmux pane is focused and emacsclient is not focused (eg. on termial prompt), use [C-x o] to switch to the next tmux pane on the same window.
  • If a tmux pane is focused and emacsclient is focused as well, then let emacs handles [C-x o].


is_emacs='echo "#{pane_current_command}" | grep -iqE "emacs"'
bind -Temacs-keys o if-shell "$is_emacs" "send C-x; send" "select-pane -t :.+"
bind -Temacs-keys Any { send C-x; send }
bind -Troot C-x switch-client -Temacs-keys


;;; Tmux integration (See tmux.conf for details).
(defun id/other-window ()
  "Switch to the next window if opened, otherwise select next tmux pane."
  (if (eq (next-window) (get-buffer-window))
      (call-process "tmux" nil nil nil "select-pane" "-t" ":.+")
    (other-window 1)))

(global-set-key [remap other-window] #'id/other-window)

I am using this tmux conf to emulate the same behavior with splits. Is uses the same shortcuts to split into different panes the window I set the prefix to C-x, and the behavior to select the panes is similar than dealing with buffers in emacs. Give it a try and modify it yourself to feel more comfortable.

# remap prefix from 'C-b' to 'C-x'
unbind C-b
set-option -g prefix C-x
bind-key C-x send-prefix

# split panes using 3 and 2
bind 3 split-window -h
bind 2 split-window -v
unbind '"'
unbind %

# switch panes using Alt-arrow without prefix
bind Left select-pane -L
bind Right select-pane -R
bind Up select-pane -U
bind Down select-pane -D

# Enable switch session similar than emacs selecting buffer
unbind s
bind b choose-tree -w

# Kill window
bind k confirm kill-window

# Source the conf file
bind r source-file ~/.tmux.conf

# Use C-x 0 to close panel, similar than emacs when closing the splitted window
unbind 0
bind 0 kill-pane

Have a look at the must read at http://pragprog.com/book/bhtmux/tmux; you'll get anything you need Further on, try out this:

# Setting the prefix from C-b to C-d 
# START:prefix
set -g prefix C-d 
# END:prefix 

# Ensure that we can send Ctrl-A to other apps 
bind C-d send-prefix 

# Free the original Ctrl-b prefix keybinding unbind C-b
unbind C-b

bind | split-window -h
bind _ split-window -v

And this for moving between panes:

bind h select-pane -L
bind j select-pane -D
bind k select-pane -U
bind l select-pane -R

Both from the previous reference and the man page.

  • Much better now, thanks @Jason, I'll do my best next time.
    – csantosb
    Nov 23, 2013 at 21:58
  • Sorry, I don't understand how this answers my questions and would give me C-x 2 and C-x 3 for splitting?
    – Frank
    Nov 24, 2013 at 6:16
  • Put this code in your config file along with whatever you need
    – csantosb
    Nov 25, 2013 at 16:23
  • 2
    @csantosb - I don't think those keys are what @frank is looking for. Emacs splits with Ctrl-x 2, and switches with Ctrl-x o. Aug 10, 2015 at 21:52

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