I have two panes in horizontal split. I'd like to have the pane currently on the right to be on the left in the window. I'm not talking about moving the focus (Ctrl+B o). How do I achieve this?

'left pane' <--> 'right pane'

4 Answers 4


The swap-pane command can do this for you. The { and } keys are bound to swap-pane -U and swap-pane -D in the default configuration.

So, to effect your desired change, you can probably use Prefix { when you are in the right pane (or Prefix } if you are in the left pane).

The -U and -D refer to “up” and “down” in the pane index order (“up” is the same direction that Prefix o moves across panes). You can see the pane indices with display-panes (Prefix q, by default).

  • 46
    +1 for specifying Prefix instead of assuming everyone will use Ctrl-b Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 15:55
  • 4
    Agreed. It's even worse when people assume you're using Ctrl-a, since they're the people who know that the prefix can be changed to suit the user.
    – byxor
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 10:46
  • See @kay's response for more general use of swap-pane (and answer to question in title).
    – Jonathan
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 19:18

You can hit Ctrl b and keep holding down Ctrl while hitting o. This will rotate all existing panes around, so in your case it will swap the only two existing panes.

Ctrl b + Alt o rotates the opposite way (useful when you have more than two panes).

  • 4
    Yeah, we're on the same page. But after the first 'o', which does cause a pane rotation, the next 'o' is sent to the underlying shell and processed by whatever app be there. I'm thinking something fishy with my map, or maybe something that's dependent on tmux version. Thanks for responding.
    – Stabledog
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 17:34
  • 2
    @Stabledog I'm on tmux 2.3 currently, but I think this has always worked for me... I can't really think of what could be the issue. Sounds strange that the Ctrl+o is being sent to the shell instead of to tmux, especially if this is not the case for repeatedly pressing Ctrl+b (or other tmux commands?). Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 23:45
  • Actually I think it is happening for all commands. At least, I'm not aware of any case where I can do Ctrl+x, hit a key that's bound to some operation, and stay in "tmux keyboard" mode. I just assumed that's by design.
    – Stabledog
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 17:45
  • 1
    @Stabledog Actually, I just noticed that the only other command where I can keep holding down control and repeat the other keys is Ctrl+b;, which keeps rotating the cursor between two panes. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 2:58

The most precise control you can have is by using the command swap-pane directly. This is not so difficult to do:

  1. ctrl-b q shows you the "ID" for each pane in current window - remember the two panes you want to swap. Let's say they're 3 and 5.
  2. ctrl-b : to activate the tmux command line. Then issue command swap-pane -s3 -t5.

Note that you have auto-completion when typing commands. Also you can search for syntax of a command directly from tmux manpage. That's how I learn the syntax for swap-pane.


To directly swap two panes:

  1. Select the first pane with prefix m (the default for prefix is ctrl-b)
  2. Go to the second pane, and type prefix :swap-pane

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