256 color support for vim background in tmux


while using vim within tmux I can see that 256 color support is enabled. with $tput colors

However changing the colorscheme in vim while in tmux will change the colorscheme on a per line basis but not the entire background. see screenshot enter image description here

Here is a snippet of the my .vimrc file for example. My original colorscheme is solarized dark and then after running :colorscheme molokai you see what happens.


  • gnome-terminal
  • bash

in my ~/.tmux.conf

    set -g default-terminal "screen-256color"

in my ~/.vimrc

    set t_Co=256

in my ~/.bashrc

# ryan
export TERM="xterm-256color"
# ryan
alias tmux="tmux -2"

in my ~/.profile

# ryan 256 color support
if [ -e /usr/share/terminfo/x/xterm-256color ]; then
    export TERM='xterm-256color'
    export TERM='xterm-color'

Any ideas how I can get a full colorscheme change in vim? Are all my snippets from the files looking good?

Best Answer

From the look of your .bashrc and .profile, the shells inside tmux are overriding the 'default-terminal' setting in your tmux conf. Something like this:

  • tmux creates new shell with TERM=screen-256color
  • .bashrc/.profile run, set TERM=xterm-256color
  • vim runs, tries to use incorrect TERM for tmux

you can check this by running

echo $TERM

in a fresh tmux shell.

Tmux is relatively picky about having a terminal set correctly. If you can, set the term value in gnome-terminal's configuration, not in your .bashrc. Failing that, surround those settings with a check for "screen" or "screen-256color" TERM, and don't reset them in that case.

Tmux REALLY wants the terminal set to screen or screen-256color