I'm trying to theme tmux to my liking, and I'm stuck at the windowlist selection.

Prefixw shows me the windowlist, with selection bar in yellow; anyone know the incantation for modifying that specific bit?

3 Answers 3


I don't understand why neric's answer is downvoted since it's actually correct.

When you open a windowlist, styles from mode-style option are applied to a selected item. Here is a link to sources. As you can see, the default value is bg=yellow,fg=black. You can change those styles in one command:

set -wg mode-style bg=red,fg=red
  • set gives a command to set an option;
  • -w flag tells that this is a window option;
  • -g flag tells to set the option globally;
  • mode-style is option's name;
  • bg=red sets background color of selection;
  • fg=white sets text color.

Note that set -wg is just an alias for set-window-option -g.

As for colors, from man page:

The colour is one of: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, aixterm bright variants (if supported: brightred, brightgreen, and so on), colour0 to colour255 from the 256-colour set, default, or a hexadecimal RGB string such as #ffffff, which chooses the closest match from the default 256-colour set.

You can also specify attributes, for example bg=red,fg=red,bold:

The attributes is either none or a comma-delimited list of one or more of: bright (or bold), dim, underscore, blink, reverse, hidden, or italics, to turn an attribute on, or an attribute prefixed with no to turn one off.

Please note that this option also affects color of text selection in copy mode.


This is what you are looking for:

set-window-option -g mode-fg white
set-window-option -g mode-bg red
set status-utf8 on
set utf8 on

set -g default-terminal "screen-256color"

set -g status-bg black
set -g status-fg white
  • it'd help if you explain what these commands do
    – Sathyajith Bhat
    Jun 4, 2013 at 7:00
  • 1
    set -g status-bg affects the status messagebar, not the windowlist selection bar.
    – user107049
    Jun 4, 2013 at 15:15

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