A Page screen shot of my local work environment showcasing Bold and Italic fonts

Bold + Italic Font in TMUX

March 28, 2020 RSS Feed

You have just installed a hip new font face for programming. It has the all of the bells and whistles including bold and italic font styles. 🤙

You configure your terminal to use the new font, and start typing away.

….WHAT???….Its not working….🙄

Has this happened to you before?

There is always some caveat when tweaking your work environment no matter how trivial.

This guide will briefly outline the solutions I came across to get bold and italic font styles working Vim/NeoVim running within a TMUX session, from a GNOME terminal shell.

The Problem

The bold and italic font faces were not properly working in a Tmux session. But they were working outside of Tmux in a gnome terminal.

I came across this Tutorial and it got me close to a solution. But there were issues.

  • Step 3 in the tutorial did not work for me, so I had to rely on exporting the TERM env variable previous to running tmux command. (Per the instructions)
env TERM=screen-256color tmux
  • This worked for me. The bold and italic fonts are now working within Tmux.

  • Add this to the .zhrc configuration file to make an alias to prevent from having to explicitly set the TERM environment variable.


alias tmux="env TERM=screen-256color tmux"

Cursor Issues

In Vim and NeoVim I have the options to allow for block cursor shape when in normal mode and line shape when in insert mode.


if &term =~ "screen."
   let &t_ti.="\eP\e[1 q\e\\"
   let &t_SI.="\eP\e[5 q\e\\"
   let &t_EI.="\eP\e[1 q\e\\"
   let &t_te.="\eP\e[0 q\e\\"
   let &t_ti.="\<Esc>[1 q"
   let &t_SI.="\<Esc>[5 q"
   let &t_EI.="\<Esc>[1 q"
   let &t_te.="\<Esc>[0 q"

This code is for displaying the desired cursor dependent on being in a remote session or not.

Unfortunately the font solution broke the cursor shape for Vim, running in Tmux. The fix from above was only showing the line shape cursor.

I found this solution from a neovim document

Which instructed me to add an override to ~/.tmux.conf file


set -ga terminal-overrides '*:Ss=\E[%p1%d q:Se=\E[ q'