I let Tmux let me know when contents of non-current window changes.

setw -g monitor-activity on
set -g visual-activity on  

The only problem is, the color of it sucks. I'd like to change the color of fg/bg from grey to something that blends in better. How can I do that (what are the options names)?

2 Answers 2


The activity and silence monitoring functions share a set of display configuration options:

  • window-status-activity-attr
  • window-status-activity-fg
  • window-status-activity-bg

The default value of the “attr” is reverse, so you may want to set it to something else if you are also changing the colors (so that …-fg will set the effective foreground color instead of being reversed into the effective background color); see the list of attribute names in the man page description of message-attr.

The colors default to default, which just leaves at whatever they were last set to while building the status line; see the list of colors in the man page description of message-bg.

set-option -gw window-status-activity-attr bold
set-option -gw window-status-activity-bg black
set-option -gw window-status-activity-fg red

The other “alerts” (content monitoring and the bell) have their own display options (replace activity with content or bell in the option name).


Actually, in later tmux versions (I am seeing this on 1.9a), it looks like there's been a change in the way styles are set.

While @ChrisJohnsen's answer still applies (and my tmuxconfig certainly still uses these statements) the new way to do this as explained by the manage is to use *-style rather than the triplet of *-attr *-bg *-fg, so you can specify the style for such a window option with a single statement rather than three.

message-command-style style
    Set status line message command style, where style is a
    comma-separated list of characteristics to be specified.

    These may be `bg=colour' to set the background colour,
    `fg=colour' to set the foreground colour, and a list of
    attributes as specified below.

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

    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.

    Examples are:


    With the -a flag to the set-option command the new style
    is added otherwise the existing style is replaced.

So this declaration would then be:

set-option -gw window-status-activity-style fg=red,bg=black,bold

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .