In iTerm2 (Build, I typically open several tabs, each of which has split panes , and is about one particular theme of work, for example revision control, coding, managing files, mysql terminal work. I typically need to switch between 5 or more tabs in my work flow. It is sometimes hard to remember or tell which is which by looking at the content of the screen. I'd like to name the tabs somehow, so I can quickly tell which is which by quickly glancing. Is this possible?

  • 1
    possible duplicate of Change iTerm2 window and tab titles in zsh – Daniel Beck May 2 '12 at 19:11
  • Not entirely duplicate. So how to add the currently running app as a part of tab title? I.e. which tab is running emacs, mysql, etc.? – qazwsx May 2 '12 at 19:16
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    I.e. all my tabs have same host and user. So using those won't differentiate my tabs. – qazwsx May 2 '12 at 19:27
  • You mean you want Show current job name from iTerm's preferences? Note that the linked topic isn't about username or host. – Daniel Beck May 2 '12 at 19:31
  • Right, I want to show some indication of what program is running or was run in each tabs. Also, the solution given in the other post doesn't work for Bash + iTerm2. – qazwsx May 2 '12 at 20:08

13 Answers 13


Since you're using iterm2 on a mac, another option is you can just hit CmdI, type something, and hit ESC.

The terminal solution is a bit quicker than this, but just wanted to let you know.

  • 11
    This works for a second until I issue a return on the tab that I have renamed. – Stewie Jan 29 '14 at 15:39
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    @Stewie In Preferences -> Profiles -> Terminal, uncheck "Allow terminal to report window title". – Max Cantor Apr 4 '14 at 13:19
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    It is unchecked. It still renames the title. – Stewie Apr 6 '14 at 1:05
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    @SteveBennett it's not the "theme" (actually the term is "profile") itself; the CMD+I command is "Edit Current Session..." (under the View menu), so it's just changing that tab's instance of the profile. Hitting Escape just closes the window, which is needed since that window doesn't have a "save" button on it. – MidnightLightning Aug 4 '15 at 13:39
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    What if you have multiple panes open? Do you have to rename each one to fully name the tab itself? – theicfire Aug 10 '15 at 21:01

I've found the following function, placed in my ~/.bashrc to be helpful:

function title {
    echo -ne "\033]0;"$*"\007"

Then I can call it from my bash prompt as follows:

> title I want a pony!

And my tab gets titled accordingly.

  • 1
    I tried this, but it still doesn't work. I put this definition into bash_aliases, and have it loaded in .profile (if [ -f ${HOME}/.bash_aliases ]; then . ${HOME}/.bash_aliases fi) But then title dog didn't turn tab title into "dog" – qazwsx Jun 6 '13 at 21:06
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    +1 - I added mine to /etc/profile just cause that's where my aliases are... don't forget to source the file after you're done. Note: this also works in terminal. – blak3r Dec 10 '13 at 19:52
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    Very helpful. I wanted a pony; and I got one! – SoEzPz Oct 26 '15 at 16:55
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    I put mine in .bash_profile, restarted and it worked like a charm. – C Johnson Apr 14 '16 at 20:33
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    Those thinking it doesn't work it's because your command prompt instantly changes it back. Try title dog && sleep 5 and you'll see that it works. Note the answer from @schpet to address this – Mikhail Oct 26 '18 at 21:55

run this command to set the title of your tab or window:

export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;YOUR NAME HERE\007"'

i've added the following to my ~/.bash_profile to always list the current directory relative to my home dir:

export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD/#$HOME/~}\007"'

useful when you have 100 minimized terminals in your dock

hat tip to mac world

  • the escaping on that export command didn't quite work on my bash for some reason (v5.0.7), here's what worked for me: export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD/$HOME/\~}\007"' – Mike Fogel Aug 9 at 13:46
  • Works nicely. I'd love to have only last directory in path listed instead of the full path - full path gets way too long, and therefore gets abbreviated with ..., so not visible when many tabs are in place. – Danijel Nov 7 at 7:27
  • This shows only current top directory: export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD##*/}\007"' – Danijel Nov 7 at 7:41

I used solutions similar to the above for quite a while, but I use enough tabs that I also want them color-coded for easy visual reference. So I whipped up tabset, a utility to set the tab title, badge, and color based on the kind of work I am doing in each tab.


It requires node, but that is now a commonly installed platform. To install:

npm install -g iterm2-tab-set
  • This is awesome! I especially love the auto setting of the tab color. Thank you! – Ashutosh Jindal Jun 11 '18 at 14:22
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    Wow! This is a great tool! – dmulvi Apr 5 at 18:00
  • I currently use this method instead of the one described in the accepted answer (<kbd>Cmd</kbd><kbd>I</kbd>, type something, and hit <kbd>ESC</kbd>) – qazwsx Jul 24 at 18:52
  • but that is now a commonly installed platform Hahaha.ha...ha......, wait, are you serious? – Fake Name Aug 14 at 3:54
  • Yes, serious. Developers and DevOps people—these days, the natural target audience of terminal applications—have node.js installed. Or can install it easily. Those who don't/can't are welcome to fall back to bash/zsh/etc.-based approaches. – Jonathan Eunice Aug 14 at 6:19

Add this function to your ~/.bash_profile file and it should work.

function title ()
    export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;$TITLE\007"'

I like this one:

#setup terminal tab title
function title {
    if [ "$1" ]
        unset PROMPT_COMMAND
        echo -ne "\033]0;${*}\007"
        export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD/#$HOME/~}\007"'

It will let you toggle the name of a tab between a custom name and a default of your CWD.

title -> your tab title will be ~/YOUR_CWD/

title hey there -> your tab title will be hey there


I really like taylorstine's answer, but it breaks iTerm2's shell integration which relies on the PROMPT_COMMAND variable. You can modify Taylor's code to correct this by adding the __bp_precmd_invoke_cmd back into the PROMPT_COMMAND any time you tinker with it:

# iTerm2 shell integration
test -e "${HOME}/.iterm2_shell_integration.bash" && source "${HOME}/.iterm2_shell_integration.bash"

# iTerm2 tab titles
function title {
    if [ "$1" ]
        export PROMPT_COMMAND='__bp_precmd_invoke_cmd'
        echo -ne "\033]0;${*}\007"
        export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD/#$HOME/\~}\007";__bp_precmd_invoke_cmd'

I like Michael's answer.

But what if .iterm2_shell_integration.bash does not exist?

Here's my take:

# iTerm2 shell integration
test -e "${HOME}/.iterm2_shell_integration.bash" && source "${HOME}/.iterm2_shell_integration.bash"

# iTerm2 tab titles
function title {
  if [ "$1" ] ; then
    test -e "${HOME}/.iterm2_shell_integration.bash" \
      && export PROMPT_COMMAND='iterm2_preexec_invoke_cmd' \
      || unset PROMPT_COMMAND
    echo -ne "\033]0;${*}\007"
    test -e "${HOME}/.iterm2_shell_integration.bash" \
      && export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD/#$HOME/~}\007";iterm2_preexec_invoke_cmd' \
      || export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD/#$HOME/~}\007"'
  • 1
    Note that in v3.1, iterm2_preexec_invoke_cmd has become __bp_precmd_invoke_cmd – Michael Sep 20 '17 at 21:50

If you're working with Profiles (which is very convenient): Preferences -> Appearance -> Window & Tab Titles: tick 'Show profile name':


That's how it looks after:

thumbnail linked to main image

Preferences -> Profiles -> Terminal
  uncheck Terminal may set Tab/Window title

Max Cantor's comment worked for me.


I think Automatic Profile Switching and Badges are exactly designed for what you need:

Automatic Profile Switching iTerm2 can use information it knows about your current path, host name, and user name to change profiles. For example, your window's background color or the terminal's character encoding could change when connecting to different hosts.

Badges You can put a badge in the top right of your terminal showing information about the current session. It can show your username, hostname, or even custom data like the current git branch.

so the result may like this:

enter image description here

  • Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill May 1 '17 at 9:28

I would like to extend B Seven's answer a little for absolute clarity.

Since most of us would like to know how can one set a title of a tab even when they are not in local shell, instead of in remote shell (e.g over ssh).

Step 1. Preferences -> Profiles -> Terminal uncheck Terminal may set Tab/Window title

Step 2. For each tabs, double click on the tab -> Session Title

Now, whatever you'd set in the session title, it would stay as is.


Yuk, all those aliases and functions. Easier solution (if you are root), paste this into a terminal:

sudo tee "$TARGET" <<'EOF'
#!/usr/bin/env bash
echo -ne "\033]0;$*\007"
sudo chmod 755 "$TARGET"

Or just make a file call title somewhere in your path, or global path, and paste the two lines between EOF.

  • 12
    "Yuk with all those aliases." Enters answer no one can possible remember or type by hand. – Dan Jan 14 '16 at 18:09
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    @Dan not saying this is great, just that there's no need to remember that since it's just creating a script called title in /usr/bin. – Emile Bergeron Jan 9 '17 at 21:43
  • @EmileBergeron thx, although it seems you (we) are in a minority. The answer was only 1 line, the rest is for lazy people. – Orwellophile Jan 10 '17 at 7:09

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