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Edit tmux output with Vim (or any text editor)

acro5piano profile image Kay Gosho Updated on ・1 min read

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We can scroll tmux output with C-b [ by default, and it provides vim like key binding.

However, some bindings are different from my customized vim.

So I add some scripts and settings to open tmux output with Vim (or any other text editor).

Fortunately, tmux has a nice command capture-pane!

#!/bin/bash

# $HOME/bin/vim-edit-tmux-output

file=`mktemp`.sh
tmux capture-pane -pS -32768 > $file
tmux new-window -n:mywindow "vim '+ normal G $' $file"
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chmod +x $HOME/bin/vim-edit-tmux-output

# $HOME/.tmux.conf

setenv -g PATH "$HOME/bin:$PATH"
set-option -g history-limit 20000

bind-key C-e run-shell "vim-edit-tmux-output"
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Then press C-b C-e and you can open your tmux output!

Another nice feature is that tmux automatically closes the new pane for Vim after quiting vim.

Discussion (5)

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genkobar profile image
Valdimar Bjorn Asgeirsson

Great tip!

I modified the script to open with the editor currently set via $EDITOR, because I wanted to edit with neovim instead of vim:

#!/bin/bash

# $HOME/bin/vim-edit-tmux-output

file=`mktemp`.sh
tmux capture-pane -pS -32768 > $file
tmux new-window -n:mywindow "$EDITOR '+ normal G $' $file"
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masaeedu profile image
Asad Saeeduddin

Neat, thanks for sharing! I found you can also do -S - to get the entire scrollback buffer (regardless of size) in case that's what the objective of the large -32768 number is.

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acro5piano profile image
Kay Gosho Author

Thanks!
I also found I have to add the following option to .tmux.conf to see the entire scroll buffer:

set-option -g history-limit 20000

And I added '+ normal G $' to vim launching option to open the file at the bottom:

tmux new-window -n:mywindow "vim '+ normal G $' $file"
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micahriggan profile image
Micah Riggan • Edited

That's pretty neat. Sometimes I do C-b [ then <space> move around to select text with arrows then <enter> to copy it to your clipboard

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acro5piano profile image
Kay Gosho Author

Yes, tmux has the ability by default.
Sometimes I want to edit, join, and search the text before copy ;)

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