200

In iTerm2 (Build 1.0.0.20120203), 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?

10
  • 1
    possible duplicate of Change iTerm2 window and tab titles in zsh
    – Daniel Beck
    May 2, 2012 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, 2012 at 19:16
  • 1
    I.e. all my tabs have same host and user. So using those won't differentiate my tabs.
    – qazwsx
    May 2, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 20:08

16 Answers 16

238

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.

12
  • 11
    This works for a second until I issue a return on the tab that I have renamed.
    – Stewie
    Jan 29, 2014 at 15:39
  • 16
    @Stewie In Preferences -> Profiles -> Terminal, uncheck "Allow terminal to report window title".
    – Max Cantor
    Apr 4, 2014 at 13:19
  • 3
    It is unchecked. It still renames the title.
    – Stewie
    Apr 6, 2014 at 1:05
  • 6
    @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. Aug 4, 2015 at 13:39
  • 4
    What if you have multiple panes open? Do you have to rename each one to fully name the tab itself?
    – theicfire
    Aug 10, 2015 at 21:01
135

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.

10
  • 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, 2013 at 21:06
  • 2
    +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, 2013 at 19:52
  • 4
    Very helpful. I wanted a pony; and I got one!
    – SoEzPz
    Oct 26, 2015 at 16:55
  • 3
    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, 2018 at 21:55
  • 2
    For anyone reading this in 2021, I also needed to check iTerm -> Preferences -> Profiles -> General -> Applications in terminal may change the title. (v 3.4.10 )
    – faximan
    Nov 16, 2021 at 14:32
52

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

3
  • 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, 2019 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, 2019 at 7:27
  • This shows only current top directory: export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD##*/}\007"'
    – Danijel
    Nov 7, 2019 at 7:41
28

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.

example

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

npm install -g iterm2-tab-set
9
  • This is awesome! I especially love the auto setting of the tab color. Thank you! Jun 11, 2018 at 14:22
  • 1
    Wow! This is a great tool!
    – dmulvi
    Apr 5, 2019 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, 2019 at 18:52
  • 1
    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. Aug 14, 2019 at 6:19
  • 1
    Unfortunately, title option doesn't seem to work with latest iTerm2. Little or no response to issues. If all you want is the color option, then go for it.
    – JESii
    Mar 14, 2020 at 14:19
17

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

function title ()
{
    TITLE=$*;
    export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;$TITLE\007"'
}
1
  • Doesn't seem to be doing anything in modern (2022) iTerm2
    – jcollum
    Apr 27 at 16:17
7

I like this one:

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

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

1
6

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 [ "$1" ]
    then
        export PROMPT_COMMAND='__bp_precmd_invoke_cmd'
        echo -ne "\033]0;${*}\007"
    else
        export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${PWD/#$HOME/\~}\007";__bp_precmd_invoke_cmd'
    fi
}
title
4

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;${*}\007"
  else
    test -e "${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"'
  fi
}
title
1
  • 1
    Note that in v3.1, iterm2_preexec_invoke_cmd has become __bp_precmd_invoke_cmd
    – Michael
    Sep 20, 2017 at 21:50
3

I was looking for solution which works on vanilla iTerm2. One quite nicely working which I've found is to add keyboard shortcut which will execute this option (available either by double clicking tab or by choosing from menu Window → Edit TabTitle)

To do so:

  • open Preferences - Cmd+, or menu iTerm2 → Preferences
  • go to Keys submenu and click + at the bottom
  • record your preferred key stroke (like Super+Ctrl+Shift+e) and choose "Action" Select Menu Item
  • choose Edit Tab Title from list of available positions
  • voila!
2

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

image

That's how it looks after:

thumbnail linked to main image

2

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

1
  • 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, 2017 at 9:28
2
Preferences -> Profiles -> Terminal
  uncheck Terminal may set Tab/Window title

Max Cantor's comment worked for me.

0
2

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.

1
  • I don't see this option in iTerm2
    – SFbay007
    Mar 30, 2020 at 18:01
1

I created a script to set dirname and a custom color to an active iterm2 tab. https://gist.github.com/bastoker/95d2f1d7c1354cb6b888363103a90645

1

If you're using multiple panes(tmux) and you want to rename all of them (the tab title will still change if you're active in a different pane), you can press Option + Command + i to activate multi-pane input on all panes on your current tab and then press Command + i to rename all panes to the name you want. That way, no matter which pane is active, your tab will have the same name.

-1

Yuk, all those aliases and functions. Easier solution (if you are root), paste this into a terminal. This will create a 1 line bash script and put it in the path.

You can then change the title at any time using:

title "New title"
TARGET=/usr/local/bin/title
sudo tee "$TARGET" <<'EOF'
#!/usr/bin/env bash
echo -ne "\033]0;$*\007"
EOF
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.

3
  • 12
    "Yuk with all those aliases." Enters answer no one can possible remember or type by hand.
    – Dan
    Jan 14, 2016 at 18:09
  • 1
    @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. Jan 9, 2017 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. Jan 10, 2017 at 7:09

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