I know that it's possible in tmux to join a window as a pane, but is it possible to move a pane to it's own window (tab)? I tried searching it up the man page but couldn't find it. I guess it is possible doing it through a shell script, but is there some other, more elegant way?

4 Answers 4


Relevant tmux Commands

  • join-pane -s
  • join-pane -t
  • break-pane


You could add the following bindings to your ~/.tmux.conf:

## Join windows: <prefix> s, <prefix> j
bind-key j command-prompt -p "join pane from:"  "join-pane -s '%%'"
bind-key s command-prompt -p "send pane to:"  "join-pane -t '%%'"

The above can move panes between existing windows.

For breaking a pane to a new window, use break-pane (which can also be bound).

Alterative Use

All three commands can be used from the tmux's prompt like: <prefix>+: then break-pane
Or at the shell's prompt (inside tmux) with: tmux break-pane.

  • 16
    It's worth noting that you target a pane using the following format: "mysession:mywindow.mypane" (if in a different session), and "mywindow.mypane" (if in the same session). You can also use "mysession:progname" if the program running in that pane is unique.
    – Ben Davis
    Feb 13, 2014 at 0:32
  • 34
    bind-key ! from the other answer is all I need.
    – the
    Nov 10, 2014 at 15:22
  • And what is the difference between join-pane -s and join-pane -t?
    – Jean Paul
    Jan 19, 2021 at 13:48
  • @JeanPaul well, if the Answer didn't give you context, the tldr; is -s == "get the pane from there and bring it here"; while -t == "take this current pane and send it there".
    – demure
    Jan 20, 2021 at 14:34
  • 2
    Thanks. I also found by reading the man that if there are several panes in the window we want to import, we can choose the pane by doing for exampe join-pane -s 4.0 (a bad habit from computer scientists to always want to start numerotation from 0 but it's another issue).
    – Jean Paul
    Jan 20, 2021 at 15:36

From the commands list, you can see that it's called break-pane and the command is just

bind-key !

where bind-key is defaulted to Ctrl+B

  • 7
    is there a away to attach back "breaked" pane?
    – nazikus
    Jun 29, 2014 at 11:27
  • 5
    @nazikus you can use join-pane. If you don't see any bindings for it in bind-key ? (I didn't), you can summon the command prompt with bind-key : and execute join-pane -t <destination pane index>. Jul 15, 2015 at 19:14
  • 6
    Don't forget the colon! It's join-pane -t <optional session name>:<destination pane index> e.g. join-pane -t :0
    – Walf
    Jul 28, 2016 at 7:11
  • WOW!! Thanks! :) +1!
    – rmbianchi
    Aug 5, 2020 at 11:10

In the latest version of tmux, installed from homebrew on OSx - 1.9a - the default key-binding implements join-pane with a menu

bind-key          S choose-window "join-pane -v -s "%%""
bind-key          V choose-window "join-pane -h -s "%%""

tmux 1.8 or above:

If you are intending to go to a "fullscreen" mode, you can use:


to "zoom in" (and also zoom-out after you finished your work).

  • Yes, but if from there I want to keep opening new windows and don't want the old context taking up space, I need to break away.
    – Francesco
    Oct 23, 2020 at 18:48

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