Configurations for a Friendlier tmux Status Bar

At work, the engineering team uses tmux to manage the several instances of the services we run to develop the Lucid suite locally. It is a phenomenal terminal management system and the best part is that it is highly configurable. If you enjoy working in the command-line and haven’t checked it out yet, you need to!

This is what the default status bar looks like with a few windows open:

tmux status bar before configurations

I added a few config options to my ~/.tmux.conf file to make the status bar easier to read:

set-window-option -g status-left " #S "
set-window-option -g status-left-fg black
set-window-option -g status-left-bg white

set-window-option -g status-right " %H:%M %d-%b-%y "
set-window-option -g status-right-fg black
set-window-option -g status-right-bg white

set-window-option -g window-status-format " #I: #W "

set-window-option -g window-status-current-format " #I: #W "
set-window-option -g window-status-current-fg green
set-window-option -g window-status-current-bg black

This is what the status bar looks like now:

tmux status bar after configurations (Terminal theme is the beautiful Tomorrow Theme by Chris Kempson.)

Update 5/16/2015

I still love and use tmux every day. I have recently moved from the default to the fantastic, in part because it has wonderful tmux integrations. In a nutshell, it is possible to attach to a tmux session with a special command-line flag that uses native iTerm panes/tabs/windows in place of the tmux panes and windows. This allows for easier scrolling, better copy/pasting, and better mouse integrations (i.e., switching between panes). It has loads of other features as well. I can't recommend it enough.

Update 8/26/2017

It's been just over three years since I wrote this post, and I still use tmux every day. My custom tmux status bar theme has largely remained the same as outlined above, too. For the rest of my development environment, I recently built a tool called themer that greatly simplifies keeping a consistent theme between editors, terminals, other apps, and even desktop wallpaper. Check out themer here.