I've started using tmux of recent, and changed the bindings so that it would respond to C-a instead of C-b. These are the lines in the .tmux.conf file to do this:

unbind C-b
set -g prefix C-a

But, I can't get C-a to work to go to the beginning of the line. C-a, C-a doesn't work, nor does C-a,a. Also, other shortcuts like C-a, < some arrow key > to move between panes don't work. What am I missing?


  • C-a, Arrows moves through panes, but I'm betting you're trying to move through what tmux calls windows. That'd be C-a, p or C-a, n
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 17:08
  • I've remapped the C-b to do nothing, and C-a to be the command invocation control, just like in screen. This is why I expect C-a, C-a to work. First is the command, second one should go to the beginning of the line. What am I missing? :)
    – shlomoid
    Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 3:24
  • Because you're telling tmux send the prefix again. If you open tmux in tmux, you'll have to hit C-a, C-a, keybind to get it to work in the second tmux. That's why it won't work.
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 15:22
  • Hmm. So what would be the right way to use C-a then?
    – shlomoid
    Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 22:09

2 Answers 2


You are part of the way there. unbind C-b disables the default prefix, and set -g prefix C-a sets up C-a as the new command prefix like screen. To get the other screen behaviors, add a couple more lines:

set -g prefix C-a
unbind C-b

# C-a a should send ctrl-a to the underlying shell (move to start of line)
bind-key a send-prefix    

# C-a C-a
bind-key C-a last-window

C-a,C-a isn't going to work for very obvious reasons. Man shows these as the default keybinds:

 The default command key bindings are:

       C-b         Send the prefix key (C-b) through to the application.
       C-o         Rotate the panes in the current window forwards.
       C-z         Suspend the tmux client.
       !           Break the current pane out of the window.
       "           Split the current pane into two, top and bottom.
       #           List all paste buffers.
       $           Rename the current session.
       %           Split the current pane into two, left and right.
       &           Kill the current window.
       '           Prompt for a window index to select.
       ,           Rename the current window.
       -           Delete the most recently copied buffer of text.
       .           Prompt for an index to move the current window.
       0 to 9      Select windows 0 to 9.
       :           Enter the tmux command prompt.
       ;           Move to the previously active pane.
       =           Choose which buffer to paste interactively from a list.
       ?           List all key bindings.
       D           Choose a client to detach.
       [           Enter copy mode to copy text or view the history.
       ]           Paste the most recently copied buffer of text.
       c           Create a new window.
       d           Detach the current client.
       f           Prompt to search for text in open windows.
       i           Display some information about the current window.
       l           Move to the previously selected window.
       n           Change to the next window.
       o           Select the next pane in the current window.
       p           Change to the previous window.
       q           Briefly display pane indexes.
       r           Force redraw of the attached client.
       s           Select a new session for the attached client interac‐
       L           Switch the attached client back to the last session.
       t           Show the time.
       w           Choose the current window interactively.
       x           Kill the current pane.
       {           Swap the current pane with the previous pane.
       }           Swap the current pane with the next pane.
       ~           Show previous messages from tmux, if any.
       Page Up     Enter copy mode and scroll one page up.
       Up, Down
       Left, Right
                   Change to the pane above, below, to the left, or to the
                   right of the current pane.
       M-1 to M-5  Arrange panes in one of the five preset layouts: even-
                   horizontal, even-vertical, main-horizontal, main-verti‐
                   cal, or tiled.
       M-n         Move to the next window with a bell or activity marker.
       M-o         Rotate the panes in the current window backwards.
       M-p         Move to the previous window with a bell or activity
       C-Up, C-Down
       C-Left, C-Right
                   Resize the current pane in steps of one cell.
       M-Up, M-Down
       M-Left, M-Right
                   Resize the current pane in steps of five cells.

 Key bindings may be changed with the bind-key and unbind-key commands.

My current keybinds (which I've changed a few of) are here: http://pastie.org/3016561

My ~/.tmux.conf is here: http://pastie.org/3016564

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