How-to Passthrough Shift Keys Through Byobu

I recently discovered Byobu (which is basically jazzed-up Tmux) and found that it doesn’t pass the Shift key modifiers to my text editor. The available Tmux/Emacs solutions in Google didn’t really work. Here’s what worked for me.

1. First you need a terminal that supports the Shift keys in the first place. I recommend Terminator.

Terminator just works, but if you’re using something else, check if “xterm-256color” is the default setting.

Update: All the Android-based ssh terminals I tested do not support “Shift modifier” keys, except for JuiceSSH, which mostly works–except for backtabs. The catch with JuiceSSH, Shift keys are not compatible Byobu for some reason, which is unfortunate.

To test this on the remote server, you might want something like showkey.

2. Edit ~/.byobu/.tmux.conf on the remote server and the file should be empty. Add these lines:

setw -g xterm-keys on
setw -g default-terminal "xterm-256color"

3. Logout and restart Byobu.

4. Test it: echo $TERM

It should say “xterm-256color”

5. Great! Start your text editor that supports Shift-selections, such as Jupp or Micro, and (temporarily) disable Byobu keybindings with Shift-F12 while you’re editing your document. Shift-selection keys should now work!

Did I miss anything? Email