kitty.conf - Man Page


kitty.conf — kitty.conf Documentation

kitty is highly customizable, everything from keyboard shortcuts, to rendering frames-per-second. See below for an overview of all customization possibilities.

You can open the config file within kitty by pressing ctrl+shift+f2. You can reload the config file within kitty by pressing ctrl+shift+f5 or sending kitty the SIGUSR1 signal.  You can also display the current configuration by pressing the ctrl+shift+f6 key.

kitty looks for a config file in the OS config directories (usually ~/.config/kitty/kitty.conf) but you can pass a specific path via the kitty --config option or use the KITTY_CONFIG_DIRECTORY environment variable. See the kitty --config option for full details.

Comments can be added to the config file as lines starting with the # character. This works only if the # character is the first character in the line.

You can include secondary config files via the include directive.  If you use a relative path for include, it is resolved with respect to the location of the current config file. Note that environment variables are expanded, so ${USER}.conf becomes name.conf if USER=name.  For example:

include other.conf


kitty has very powerful font management. You can configure individual font faces and even specify special fonts for particular characters.

font_family, bold_font, italic_font, bold_italic_font

font_family      monospace
bold_font        auto
italic_font      auto
bold_italic_font auto

You can specify different fonts for the bold/italic/bold-italic variants. To get a full list of supported fonts use the kitty list-fonts command. By default they are derived automatically, by the OSes font system. Setting them manually is useful for font families that have many weight variants like Book, Medium, Thick, etc. For example:

font_family      Operator Mono Book
bold_font        Operator Mono Medium
italic_font      Operator Mono Book Italic
bold_italic_font Operator Mono Medium Italic


font_size 11.0

Font size (in pts)


force_ltr no

kitty does not support BIDI (bidirectional text), however, for RTL scripts, words are automatically displayed in RTL. That is to say, in an RTL script, the words "HELLO WORLD" display in kitty as "WORLD HELLO", and if you try to select a substring of an RTL-shaped string, you will get the character that would be there had the the string been LTR. For example, assuming the Hebrew word ירושלים, selecting the character that on the screen appears to be ם actually writes into the selection buffer the character י.  kitty's default behavior is useful in conjunction with a filter to reverse the word order, however, if you wish to manipulate RTL glyphs, it can be very challenging to work with, so this option is provided to turn it off. Furthermore, this option can be used with the command line program GNU FriBidi to get BIDI support, because it will force kitty to always treat the text as LTR, which FriBidi expects for terminals.

adjust_line_height, adjust_column_width

adjust_line_height  0
adjust_column_width 0

Change the size of each character cell kitty renders. You can use either numbers, which are interpreted as pixels or percentages (number followed by %), which are interpreted as percentages of the unmodified values. You can use negative pixels or percentages less than 100% to reduce sizes (but this might cause rendering artifacts).


adjust_baseline 0

Adjust the vertical alignment of text (the height in the cell at which text is positioned). You can use either numbers, which are interpreted as pixels or a percentages (number followed by %), which are interpreted as the percentage of the line height. A positive value moves the baseline up, and a negative value moves them down. The underline and strikethrough positions are adjusted accordingly.


symbol_map U+E0A0-U+E0A3,U+E0C0-U+E0C7 PowerlineSymbols

Map the specified unicode codepoints to a particular font. Useful if you need special rendering for some symbols, such as for Powerline. Avoids the need for patched fonts. Each unicode code point is specified in the form U+<code point in hexadecimal>. You can specify multiple code points, separated by commas and ranges separated by hyphens. symbol_map itself can be specified multiple times. Syntax is:

symbol_map codepoints Font Family Name


disable_ligatures never

Choose how you want to handle multi-character ligatures. The default is to always render them.  You can tell kitty to not render them when the cursor is over them by using cursor to make editing easier, or have kitty never render them at all by using always, if you don't like them. The ligature strategy can be set per-window either using the kitty remote control facility or by defining shortcuts for it in kitty.conf, for example:

map alt+1 disable_ligatures_in active always
map alt+2 disable_ligatures_in all never
map alt+3 disable_ligatures_in tab cursor

Note that this refers to programming ligatures, typically implemented using the calt OpenType feature. For disabling general ligatures, use the font_features setting.


font_features none

Choose exactly which OpenType features to enable or disable. This is useful as some fonts might have features worthwhile in a terminal. For example, Fira Code Retina includes a discretionary feature, zero, which in that font changes the appearance of the zero (0), to make it more easily distinguishable from Ø. Fira Code Retina also includes other discretionary features known as Stylistic Sets which have the tags ss01 through ss20.

For the exact syntax to use for individual features, see the Harfbuzz documentation.

Note that this code is indexed by PostScript name, and not the font family. This allows you to define very precise feature settings; e.g. you can disable a feature in the italic font but not in the regular font.

On Linux, these are read from the FontConfig database first and then this, setting is applied, so they can be configured in a single, central place.

To get the PostScript name for a font, use kitty + list-fonts --psnames:

$ kitty + list-fonts --psnames | grep Fira
Fira Code
Fira Code Bold (FiraCode-Bold)
Fira Code Light (FiraCode-Light)
Fira Code Medium (FiraCode-Medium)
Fira Code Regular (FiraCode-Regular)
Fira Code Retina (FiraCode-Retina)

The part in brackets is the PostScript name.

Enable alternate zero and oldstyle numerals:

font_features FiraCode-Retina +zero +onum

Enable only alternate zero:

font_features FiraCode-Retina +zero

Disable the normal ligatures, but keep the calt feature which (in this font) breaks up monotony:

font_features TT2020StyleB-Regular -liga +calt

In conjunction with force_ltr, you may want to disable Arabic shaping entirely, and only look at their isolated forms if they show up in a document. You can do this with e.g.:

font_features UnifontMedium +isol -medi -fina -init


box_drawing_scale 0.001, 1, 1.5, 2

Change the sizes of the lines used for the box drawing unicode characters These values are in pts. They will be scaled by the monitor DPI to arrive at a pixel value. There must be four values corresponding to thin, normal, thick, and very thick lines.

Cursor Customization


cursor #cccccc

Default cursor color


cursor_text_color #111111

Choose the color of text under the cursor. If you want it rendered with the background color of the cell underneath instead, use the special keyword: background


cursor_shape block

The cursor shape can be one of (block, beam, underline). Note that when reloading the config this will be changed only if the cursor shape has not been set by the program running in the terminal.


cursor_beam_thickness 1.5

Defines the thickness of the beam cursor (in pts)


cursor_underline_thickness 2.0

Defines the thickness of the underline cursor (in pts)


cursor_blink_interval -1

The interval (in seconds) at which to blink the cursor. Set to zero to disable blinking. Negative values mean use system default. Note that numbers smaller than repaint_delay will be limited to repaint_delay.


cursor_stop_blinking_after 15.0

Stop blinking cursor after the specified number of seconds of keyboard inactivity.  Set to zero to never stop blinking.



scrollback_lines 2000

Number of lines of history to keep in memory for scrolling back. Memory is allocated on demand. Negative numbers are (effectively) infinite scrollback. Note that using very large scrollback is not recommended as it can slow down performance of the terminal and also use large amounts of RAM. Instead, consider using scrollback_pager_history_size. Note that on config reload if this is changed it will only affect newly created windows, not existing ones.


scrollback_pager less --chop-long-lines --RAW-CONTROL-CHARS +INPUT_LINE_NUMBER

Program with which to view scrollback in a new window. The scrollback buffer is passed as STDIN to this program. If you change it, make sure the program you use can handle ANSI escape sequences for colors and text formatting. INPUT_LINE_NUMBER in the command line above will be replaced by an integer representing which line should be at the top of the screen. Similarly CURSOR_LINE and CURSOR_COLUMN will be replaced by the current cursor position.


scrollback_pager_history_size 0

Separate scrollback history size, used only for browsing the scrollback buffer (in MB). This separate buffer is not available for interactive scrolling but will be piped to the pager program when viewing scrollback buffer in a separate window. The current implementation stores the data in UTF-8, so approximatively 10000 lines per megabyte at 100 chars per line, for pure ASCII text, unformatted text. A value of zero or less disables this feature. The maximum allowed size is 4GB. Note that on config reload if this is changed it will only affect newly created windows, not existing ones.


scrollback_fill_enlarged_window no

Fill new space with lines from the scrollback buffer after enlarging a window.


wheel_scroll_multiplier 5.0

Modify the amount scrolled by the mouse wheel. Note this is only used for low precision scrolling devices, not for high precision scrolling on platforms such as macOS and Wayland. Use negative numbers to change scroll direction.


touch_scroll_multiplier 1.0

Modify the amount scrolled by a touchpad. Note this is only used for high precision scrolling devices on platforms such as macOS and Wayland. Use negative numbers to change scroll direction.



mouse_hide_wait 3.0

Hide mouse cursor after the specified number of seconds of the mouse not being used. Set to zero to disable mouse cursor hiding. Set to a negative value to hide the mouse cursor immediately when typing text. Disabled by default on macOS as getting it to work robustly with the ever-changing sea of bugs that is Cocoa is too much effort.

url_color, url_style

url_color #0087bd
url_style curly

The color and style for highlighting URLs on mouse-over. url_style can be one of: none, single, double, curly


open_url_with default

The program with which to open URLs that are clicked on. The special value default means to use the operating system's default URL handler.


url_prefixes http https file ftp gemini irc gopher mailto news git

The set of URL prefixes to look for when detecting a URL under the mouse cursor.


detect_urls yes

Detect URLs under the mouse. Detected URLs are highlighted with an underline and the mouse cursor becomes a hand over them. Even if this option is disabled, URLs are still clickable.



Additional characters to be disallowed from URLs, when detecting URLs under the mouse cursor. By default, all characters legal in URLs are allowed.


copy_on_select no

Copy to clipboard or a private buffer on select. With this set to clipboard, simply selecting text with the mouse will cause the text to be copied to clipboard. Useful on platforms such as macOS that do not have the concept of primary selections. You can instead specify a name such as a1 to copy to a private kitty buffer instead. Map a shortcut with the paste_from_buffer action to paste from this private buffer. For example:

map cmd+shift+v paste_from_buffer a1

Note that copying to the clipboard is a security risk, as all programs, including websites open in your browser can read the contents of the system clipboard.


strip_trailing_spaces never

Remove spaces at the end of lines when copying to clipboard. A value of smart will do it when using normal selections, but not rectangle selections. always will always do it.


select_by_word_characters @-./_~?&=%+#

Characters considered part of a word when double clicking. In addition to these characters any character that is marked as an alphanumeric character in the unicode database will be matched.


click_interval -1.0

The interval between successive clicks to detect double/triple clicks (in seconds). Negative numbers will use the system default instead, if available, or fallback to 0.5.


focus_follows_mouse no

Set the active window to the window under the mouse when moving the mouse around


pointer_shape_when_grabbed arrow

The shape of the mouse pointer when the program running in the terminal grabs the mouse. Valid values are: arrow, beam and hand


default_pointer_shape beam

The default shape of the mouse pointer. Valid values are: arrow, beam and hand


pointer_shape_when_dragging beam

The default shape of the mouse pointer when dragging across text. Valid values are: arrow, beam and hand

Mouse actions

Mouse buttons can be remapped to perform arbitrary actions. The syntax for doing so is:

mouse_map button-name event-type modes action

Where button-name is one of left, middle, right or b1 ... b8 with added keyboard modifiers, for example: ctrl+shift+left refers to holding the ctrl+shift keys while clicking with the left mouse button. The number b1 ... b8 can be used to refer to upto eight buttons on a mouse.

event-type is one press, release, doublepress, triplepress, click and doubleclick.  modes indicates whether the action is performed when the mouse is grabbed by the program running in the terminal, or not. It can have one or more or the values, grabbed,ungrabbed. grabbed refers to when the program running in the terminal has requested mouse events. Note that the click and double click events have a delay of click_interval to disambiguate from double and triple presses.

You can run kitty with the kitty --debug-input command line option to see mouse events. See the builtin actions below to get a sense of what is possible.

If you want to unmap an action map it to no-op. For example, to disable opening of URLs with a plain click:

mouse_map left click ungrabbed no-op

Once a selection is started, releasing the button that started it will automatically end it and no release event will be dispatched.

Click the link under the mouse cursor when no selection is created

mouse_map left click ungrabbed mouse_click_url_or_select

Click the link under the mouse cursor when no selection is created even if grabbed

mouse_map shift+left click grabbed,ungrabbed mouse_click_url_or_select

Click the link under the mouse cursor

mouse_map ctrl+shift+left release grabbed,ungrabbed mouse_click_url

Variant with ctrl+shift is present because the simple click based version has an unavoidable delay of click_interval, to disambiguate clicks from double clicks.

Discard press event for link click

mouse_map ctrl+shift+left press grabbed discard_event

Prevent this press event from being sent to the program that has grabbed the mouse, as the corresponding release event is used to open a URL.

Paste from the primary selection

mouse_map middle release ungrabbed paste_from_selection

Start selecting text

mouse_map left press ungrabbed mouse_selection normal

Start selecting text in a rectangle

mouse_map ctrl+alt+left press ungrabbed mouse_selection rectangle

Select a word

mouse_map left doublepress ungrabbed mouse_selection word

Select a line

mouse_map left triplepress ungrabbed mouse_selection line

Select the entire line

Select line from point

mouse_map ctrl+alt+left triplepress ungrabbed mouse_selection line_from_point

Select from the clicked point to the end of the line

Extend the current selection

mouse_map right press ungrabbed mouse_selection extend

Paste from the primary selection even when grabbed

mouse_map shift+middle release ungrabbed,grabbed paste_selection

Start selecting text even when grabbed

mouse_map shift+left press ungrabbed,grabbed mouse_selection normal

Start selecting text in a rectangle even when grabbed

mouse_map shift+ctrl+alt+left press ungrabbed,grabbed mouse_selection rectangle

Select a word even when grabbed

mouse_map shift+left doublepress ungrabbed,grabbed mouse_selection word

Select a line even when grabbed

mouse_map shift+left triplepress ungrabbed,grabbed mouse_selection line

Select the entire line

Select line from point even when grabbed

mouse_map shift+ctrl+alt+left triplepress ungrabbed,grabbed mouse_selection line_from_point

Select from the clicked point to the end of the line

Extend the current selection even when grabbed

mouse_map shift+right press ungrabbed,grabbed mouse_selection extend

Performance Tuning


repaint_delay 10

Delay (in milliseconds) between screen updates. Decreasing it, increases frames-per-second (FPS) at the cost of more CPU usage. The default value yields ~100 FPS which is more than sufficient for most uses. Note that to actually achieve 100 FPS you have to either set sync_to_monitor to no or use a monitor with a high refresh rate. Also, to minimize latency when there is pending input to be processed, repaint_delay is ignored.


input_delay 3

Delay (in milliseconds) before input from the program running in the terminal is processed. Note that decreasing it will increase responsiveness, but also increase CPU usage and might cause flicker in full screen programs that redraw the entire screen on each loop, because kitty is so fast that partial screen updates will be drawn.


sync_to_monitor yes

Sync screen updates to the refresh rate of the monitor. This prevents tearing ( when scrolling. However, it limits the rendering speed to the refresh rate of your monitor. With a very high speed mouse/high keyboard repeat rate, you may notice some slight input latency. If so, set this to no.

Terminal Bell


enable_audio_bell yes

Enable/disable the audio bell. Useful in environments that require silence.


visual_bell_duration 0.0

Visual bell duration. Flash the screen when a bell occurs for the specified number of seconds. Set to zero to disable.


window_alert_on_bell yes

Request window attention on bell. Makes the dock icon bounce on macOS or the taskbar flash on linux.


bell_on_tab yes

Show a bell symbol on the tab if a bell occurs in one of the windows in the tab and the window is not the currently focused window


command_on_bell none

Program to run when a bell occurs.

Window Layout

remember_window_size, initial_window_width, initial_window_height

remember_window_size  yes
initial_window_width  640
initial_window_height 400

If enabled, the window size will be remembered so that new instances of kitty will have the same size as the previous instance. If disabled, the window will initially have size configured by initial_window_width/height, in pixels. You can use a suffix of "c" on the width/height values to have them interpreted as number of cells instead of pixels.


enabled_layouts *

The enabled window layouts. A comma separated list of layout names. The special value all means all layouts. The first listed layout will be used as the startup layout. Default configuration is all layouts in alphabetical order. For a list of available layouts, see the layouts.

window_resize_step_cells, window_resize_step_lines

window_resize_step_cells 2
window_resize_step_lines 2

The step size (in units of cell width/cell height) to use when resizing windows. The cells value is used for horizontal resizing and the lines value for vertical resizing.


window_border_width 0.5pt

The width of window borders. Can be either in pixels (px) or pts (pt). Values in pts will be rounded to the nearest number of pixels based on screen resolution. If not specified the unit is assumed to be pts. Note that borders are displayed only when more than one window is visible. They are meant to separate multiple windows.


draw_minimal_borders yes

Draw only the minimum borders needed. This means that only the minimum needed borders for inactive windows are drawn. That is only the borders that separate the inactive window from a neighbor. Note that setting a non-zero window margin overrides this and causes all borders to be drawn.


window_margin_width 0

The window margin (in pts) (blank area outside the border). A single value sets all four sides. Two values set the vertical and horizontal sides. Three values set top, horizontal and bottom. Four values set top, right, bottom and left.


single_window_margin_width -1

The window margin (in pts) to use when only a single window is visible. Negative values will cause the value of window_margin_width to be used instead. A single value sets all four sides. Two values set the vertical and horizontal sides. Three values set top, horizontal and bottom. Four values set top, right, bottom and left.


window_padding_width 0

The window padding (in pts) (blank area between the text and the window border). A single value sets all four sides. Two values set the vertical and horizontal sides. Three values set top, horizontal and bottom. Four values set top, right, bottom and left.


placement_strategy center

When the window size is not an exact multiple of the cell size, the cell area of the terminal window will have some extra padding on the sides. You can control how that padding is distributed with this option. Using a value of center means the cell area will be placed centrally. A value of top-left means the padding will be on only the bottom and right edges.


active_border_color #00ff00

The color for the border of the active window. Set this to none to not draw borders around the active window.


inactive_border_color #cccccc

The color for the border of inactive windows


bell_border_color #ff5a00

The color for the border of inactive windows in which a bell has occurred


inactive_text_alpha 1.0

Fade the text in inactive windows by the specified amount (a number between zero and one, with zero being fully faded).


hide_window_decorations no

Hide the window decorations (title-bar and window borders) with yes. On macOS, titlebar-only can be used to only hide the titlebar. Whether this works and exactly what effect it has depends on the window manager/operating system. Note that the effects of changing this setting when reloading config are undefined.


resize_debounce_time 0.1

The time (in seconds) to wait before redrawing the screen when a resize event is received. On platforms such as macOS, where the operating system sends events corresponding to the start and end of a resize, this number is ignored.


resize_draw_strategy static

Choose how kitty draws a window while a resize is in progress. A value of static means draw the current window contents, mostly unchanged. A value of scale means draw the current window contents scaled. A value of blank means draw a blank window. A value of size means show the window size in cells.


resize_in_steps no

Resize the OS window in steps as large as the cells, instead of with the usual pixel accuracy. Combined with an initial_window_width and initial_window_height in number of cells, this option can be used to keep the margins as small as possible when resizing the OS window. Note that this does not currently work on Wayland.


confirm_os_window_close 0

Ask for confirmation when closing an OS window or a tab that has at least this number of kitty windows in it. A value of zero disables confirmation. This confirmation also applies to requests to quit the entire application (all OS windows, via the quit action).

Tab Bar


tab_bar_edge bottom

Which edge to show the tab bar on, top or bottom


tab_bar_margin_width 0.0

The margin to the left and right of the tab bar (in pts)


tab_bar_margin_height 0.0 0.0

The margin above and below the tab bar (in pts). The first number is the margin between the edge of the OS Window and the tab bar and the second number is the margin between the tab bar and the contents of the current tab.


tab_bar_style fade

The tab bar style, can be one of: fade, separator, powerline, or hidden. In the fade style, each tab's edges fade into the background color, in the separator style, tabs are separated by a configurable separator, and the powerline shows the tabs as a continuous line. If you use the hidden style, you might want to create a mapping for the select_tab action which presents you with a list of tabs and allows for easy switching to a tab.


tab_bar_min_tabs 2

The minimum number of tabs that must exist before the tab bar is shown


tab_switch_strategy previous

The algorithm to use when switching to a tab when the current tab is closed. The default of previous will switch to the last used tab. A value of left will switch to the tab to the left of the closed tab. A value of right will switch to the tab to the right of the closed tab. A value of last will switch to the right-most tab.


tab_fade 0.25 0.5 0.75 1

Control how each tab fades into the background when using fade for the tab_bar_style. Each number is an alpha (between zero and one) that controls how much the corresponding cell fades into the background, with zero being no fade and one being full fade. You can change the number of cells used by adding/removing entries to this list.


tab_separator " ┇"

The separator between tabs in the tab bar when using separator as the tab_bar_style.


tab_powerline_style angled

The powerline separator style between tabs in the tab bar when using powerline as the tab_bar_style, can be one of: angled, slanted, or round.


tab_activity_symbol none

Some text or a unicode symbol to show on the tab if a window in the tab that does not have focus has some activity.


tab_title_template "{title}"

A template to render the tab title. The default just renders the title. If you wish to include the tab-index as well, use something like: {index}: {title}. Useful if you have shortcuts mapped for goto_tab N. If you prefer to see the index as a superscript, use {sup.index}. In addition you can use {layout_name} for the current layout name and {num_windows} for the number of windows in the tab. Note that formatting is done by Python's string formatting machinery, so you can use, for instance, {layout_name[:2].upper()} to show only the first two letters of the layout name, upper-cased. If you want to style the text, you can use styling directives, for example: {}red{fmt.fg.default}normal{}green bg{}. Similarly, for bold and italic: {fmt.bold}bold{fmt.nobold}normal{fmt.italic}italic{fmt.noitalic}.


active_tab_title_template none

Template to use for active tabs, if not specified falls back to tab_title_template.

active_tab_foreground, active_tab_background, active_tab_font_style, inactive_tab_foreground, inactive_tab_background, inactive_tab_font_style

active_tab_foreground   #000
active_tab_background   #eee
active_tab_font_style   bold-italic
inactive_tab_foreground #444
inactive_tab_background #999
inactive_tab_font_style normal

Tab bar colors and styles


tab_bar_background none

Background color for the tab bar. Defaults to using the terminal background color.

Color Scheme

foreground, background

foreground #dddddd
background #000000

The foreground and background colors


background_opacity 1.0

The opacity of the background. A number between 0 and 1, where 1 is opaque and 0 is fully transparent.  This will only work if supported by the OS (for instance, when using a compositor under X11). Note that it only sets the background color's opacity in cells that have the same background color as the default terminal background. This is so that things like the status bar in vim, powerline prompts, etc. still look good.  But it means that if you use a color theme with a background color in your editor, it will not be rendered as transparent.  Instead you should change the default background color in your kitty config and not use a background color in the editor color scheme. Or use the escape codes to set the terminals default colors in a shell script to launch your editor.  Be aware that using a value less than 1.0 is a (possibly significant) performance hit.  If you want to dynamically change transparency of windows set dynamic_background_opacity to yes (this is off by default as it has a performance cost). Changing this setting when reloading the config will only work if dynamic_background_opacity was enabled in the original config.


background_image none

Path to a background image. Must be in PNG format.


background_image_layout tiled

Whether to tile or scale the background image.


background_image_linear no

When background image is scaled, whether linear interpolation should be used.


dynamic_background_opacity no

Allow changing of the background_opacity dynamically, using either keyboard shortcuts (ctrl+shift+a>m and ctrl+shift+a>l) or the remote control facility. Changing this setting by reloading the config is not supported.


background_tint 0.0

How much to tint the background image by the background color. The tint is applied only under the text area, not margin/borders. Makes it easier to read the text. Tinting is done using the current background color for each window. This setting applies only if background_opacity is set and transparent windows are supported or background_image is set.


dim_opacity 0.75

How much to dim text that has the DIM/FAINT attribute set. One means no dimming and zero means fully dimmed (i.e. invisible).


selection_foreground #000000

The foreground for text selected with the mouse. A value of none means to leave the color unchanged.


selection_background #fffacd

The background for text selected with the mouse.

The color table

The 256 terminal colors. There are 8 basic colors, each color has a dull and bright version, for the first 16 colors. You can set the remaining 240 colors as color16 to color255.

color0, color8

color0 #000000
color8 #767676


color1, color9

color1 #cc0403
color9 #f2201f


color2, color10

color2  #19cb00
color10 #23fd00


color3, color11

color3  #cecb00
color11 #fffd00


color4, color12

color4  #0d73cc
color12 #1a8fff


color5, color13

color5  #cb1ed1
color13 #fd28ff


color6, color14

color6  #0dcdcd
color14 #14ffff


color7, color15

color7  #dddddd
color15 #ffffff



mark1_foreground black

Color for marks of type 1


mark1_background #98d3cb

Color for marks of type 1 (light steel blue)


mark2_foreground black

Color for marks of type 2


mark2_background #f2dcd3

Color for marks of type 1 (beige)


mark3_foreground black

Color for marks of type 3


mark3_background #f274bc

Color for marks of type 3 (violet)



shell .

The shell program to execute. The default value of . means to use whatever shell is set as the default shell for the current user. Note that on macOS if you change this, you might need to add --login to ensure that the shell starts in interactive mode and reads its startup rc files.


editor .

The console editor to use when editing the kitty config file or similar tasks. A value of . means to use the environment variables VISUAL and EDITOR in that order. Note that this environment variable has to be set not just in your shell startup scripts but system-wide, otherwise kitty will not see it.


close_on_child_death no

Close the window when the child process (shell) exits. If no (the default), the terminal will remain open when the child exits as long as there are still processes outputting to the terminal (for example disowned or backgrounded processes). If yes, the window will close as soon as the child process exits. Note that setting it to yes means that any background processes still using the terminal can fail silently because their stdout/stderr/stdin no longer work.


allow_remote_control no

Allow other programs to control kitty. If you turn this on other programs can control all aspects of kitty, including sending text to kitty windows, opening new windows, closing windows, reading the content of windows, etc.  Note that this even works over ssh connections. You can chose to either allow any program running within kitty to control it, with yes or only programs that connect to the socket specified with the kitty --listen-on command line option, if you use the value socket-only. The latter is useful if you want to prevent programs running on a remote computer over ssh from controlling kitty. Changing this option by reloading the config will only affect newly created windows.


listen_on none

Tell kitty to listen to the specified unix/tcp socket for remote control connections. Note that this will apply to all kitty instances. It can be overridden by the kitty --listen-on command line flag. This option accepts only UNIX sockets, such as unix:${TEMP}/mykitty or (on Linux) unix:@mykitty. Environment variables are expanded. If {kitty_pid} is present then it is replaced by the PID of the kitty process, otherwise the PID of the kitty process is appended to the value, with a hyphen. This option is ignored unless you also set allow_remote_control to enable remote control. See the help for kitty --listen-on for more details. Changing this option by reloading the config is not supported.



Specify environment variables to set in all child processes. Note that environment variables are expanded recursively, so if you use:

env MYVAR1=a
env MYVAR2=${MYVAR1}/${HOME}/b

The value of MYVAR2 will be a/<path to home directory>/b.


update_check_interval 24

Periodically check if an update to kitty is available. If an update is found a system notification is displayed informing you of the available update. The default is to check every 24 hrs, set to zero to disable. Changing this option by reloading the config is not supported.


startup_session none

Path to a session file to use for all kitty instances. Can be overridden by using the kitty --session command line option for individual instances. See sessions in the kitty documentation for details. Note that relative paths are interpreted with respect to the kitty config directory. Environment variables in the path are expanded. Changing this option by reloading the config is not supported.


clipboard_control write-clipboard write-primary

Allow programs running in kitty to read and write from the clipboard. You can control exactly which actions are allowed. The set of possible actions is: write-clipboard read-clipboard write-primary read-primary. You can additionally specify no-append to disable kitty's protocol extension for clipboard concatenation. The default is to allow writing to the clipboard and primary selection with concatenation enabled. Note that enabling the read functionality is a security risk as it means that any program, even one running on a remote server via SSH can read your clipboard.


allow_hyperlinks yes

Process hyperlink (OSC 8) escape sequences. If disabled OSC 8 escape sequences are ignored. Otherwise they become clickable links, that you can click by holding down ctrl+shift and clicking with the mouse. The special value of ask means that kitty will ask before opening the link.


term xterm-kitty

The value of the TERM environment variable to set. Changing this can break many terminal programs, only change it if you know what you are doing, not because you read some advice on Stack Overflow to change it. The TERM variable is used by various programs to get information about the capabilities and behavior of the terminal. If you change it, depending on what programs you run, and how different the terminal you are changing it to is, various things from key-presses, to colors, to various advanced features may not work. Changing this option by reloading the config will only affect newly created windows.

OS Specific Tweaks


wayland_titlebar_color system

Change the color of the kitty window's titlebar on Wayland systems with client side window decorations such as GNOME. A value of system means to use the default system color, a value of background means to use the background color of the currently active window and finally you can use an arbitrary color, such as #12af59 or red.


macos_titlebar_color system

Change the color of the kitty window's titlebar on macOS. A value of system means to use the default system color, a value of background means to use the background color of the currently active window and finally you can use an arbitrary color, such as #12af59 or red. WARNING: This option works by using a hack, as there is no proper Cocoa API for it. It sets the background color of the entire window and makes the titlebar transparent. As such it is incompatible with background_opacity. If you want to use both, you are probably better off just hiding the titlebar with hide_window_decorations.


macos_option_as_alt no

Use the option key as an alt key. With this set to no, kitty will use the macOS native Option+Key = unicode character behavior. This will break any Alt+key keyboard shortcuts in your terminal programs, but you can use the macOS unicode input technique. You can use the values: left, right, or both to use only the left, right or both Option keys as Alt, instead. Changing this setting by reloading the config is not supported.


macos_hide_from_tasks no

Hide the kitty window from running tasks (⌘+Tab) on macOS. Changing this setting by reloading the config is not supported.


macos_quit_when_last_window_closed no

Have kitty quit when all the top-level windows are closed. By default, kitty will stay running, even with no open windows, as is the expected behavior on macOS.


macos_window_resizable yes

Disable this if you want kitty top-level (OS) windows to not be resizable on macOS. Changing this setting by reloading the config will only affect newly created windows.


macos_thicken_font 0

Draw an extra border around the font with the given width, to increase legibility at small font sizes. For example, a value of 0.75 will result in rendering that looks similar to sub-pixel antialiasing at common font sizes.


macos_traditional_fullscreen no

Use the traditional full-screen transition, that is faster, but less pretty.


macos_show_window_title_in all

Show or hide the window title in the macOS window or menu-bar. A value of window will show the title of the currently active window at the top of the macOS window. A value of menubar will show the title of the currently active window in the macOS menu-bar, making use of otherwise wasted space. all will show the title everywhere and none hides the title in the window and the menu-bar.


macos_custom_beam_cursor no

Enable/disable custom mouse cursor for macOS that is easier to see on both light and dark backgrounds. WARNING: this might make your mouse cursor invisible on dual GPU machines. Changing this setting by reloading the config is not supported.


linux_display_server auto

Choose between Wayland and X11 backends. By default, an appropriate backend based on the system state is chosen automatically. Set it to x11 or wayland to force the choice. Changing this setting by reloading the config is not supported.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keys are identified simply by their lowercase unicode characters. For example: a for the A key, [ for the left square bracket key, etc. For functional keys, such as Enter or Escape the names are present at functional. For a list of modifier names, see: GLFW mods

On Linux you can also use XKB key names to bind keys that are not supported by GLFW. See XKB keys for a list of key names. The name to use is the part after the XKB_KEY_ prefix. Note that you can only use an XKB key name for keys that are not known as GLFW keys.

Finally, you can use raw system key codes to map keys, again only for keys that are not known as GLFW keys. To see the system key code for a key, start kitty with the kitty --debug-input option. Then kitty will output some debug text for every key event. In that text look for native_code the value of that becomes the key name in the shortcut. For example:

on_key_input: glfw key: 65 native_code: 0x61 action: PRESS mods: 0x0 text: 'a'

Here, the key name for the A key is 0x61 and you can use it with:

map ctrl+0x61 something

to map ctrl+a to something.

You can use the special action no_op to unmap a keyboard shortcut that is assigned in the default configuration:

map kitty_mod+space no_op

You can combine multiple actions to be triggered by a single shortcut, using the syntax below:

map key combine <separator> action1 <separator> action2 <separator> action3 ...

For example:

map kitty_mod+e combine : new_window : next_layout

this will create a new window and switch to the next available layout

You can use multi-key shortcuts using the syntax shown below:

map key1>key2>key3 action

For example:

map ctrl+f>2 set_font_size 20


kitty_mod ctrl+shift

The value of kitty_mod is used as the modifier for all default shortcuts, you can change it in your kitty.conf to change the modifiers for all the default shortcuts.


clear_all_shortcuts no

You can have kitty remove all shortcut definition seen up to this point. Useful, for instance, to remove the default shortcuts.


kitten_alias hints hints --hints-offset=0

You can create aliases for kitten names, this allows overriding the defaults for kitten options and can also be used to shorten repeated mappings of the same kitten with a specific group of options. For example, the above alias changes the default value of kitty +kitten hints --hints-offset to zero for all mappings, including the builtin ones.


Copy to clipboard

map ctrl+shift+c copy_to_clipboard

There is also a copy_or_interrupt action that can be optionally mapped to Ctrl+c. It will copy only if there is a selection and send an interrupt otherwise. Similarly, copy_and_clear_or_interrupt will copy and clear the selection or send an interrupt if there is no selection.

Paste from clipboard

map ctrl+shift+v paste_from_clipboard

Paste from selection

map ctrl+shift+s paste_from_selection
map shift+insert paste_from_selection

Pass selection to program

map ctrl+shift+o pass_selection_to_program

You can also pass the contents of the current selection to any program using pass_selection_to_program. By default, the system's open program is used, but you can specify your own, the selection will be passed as a command line argument to the program, for example:

map kitty_mod+o pass_selection_to_program firefox

You can pass the current selection to a terminal program running in a new kitty window, by using the @selection placeholder:

map kitty_mod+y new_window less @selection


Scroll line up

map ctrl+shift+up scroll_line_up
map ctrl+shift+k scroll_line_up
map alt+cmd+page_up scroll_line_up 🍎
map cmd+up scroll_line_up 🍎

Scroll line down

map ctrl+shift+down scroll_line_down
map ctrl+shift+j scroll_line_down
map alt+cmd+page_down scroll_line_down 🍎
map cmd+down scroll_line_down 🍎

Scroll page up

map ctrl+shift+page_up scroll_page_up
map cmd+page_up scroll_page_up 🍎

Scroll page down

map ctrl+shift+page_down scroll_page_down
map cmd+page_down scroll_page_down 🍎

Scroll to top

map ctrl+shift+home scroll_home
map cmd+home scroll_home 🍎

Scroll to bottom

map ctrl+shift+end scroll_end
map cmd+end scroll_end 🍎

Browse scrollback buffer in less

map ctrl+shift+h show_scrollback

You can pipe the contents of the current screen + history buffer as STDIN to an arbitrary program using the launch function. For example, the following opens the scrollback buffer in less in an overlay window:

map f1 launch --stdin-source=@screen_scrollback --stdin-add-formatting --type=overlay less +G -R

For more details on piping screen and buffer contents to external programs, see launch.

Window management

New window

map ctrl+shift+enter new_window
map cmd+enter new_window 🍎

You can open a new window running an arbitrary program, for example:

map kitty_mod+y      launch mutt

You can open a new window with the current working directory set to the working directory of the current window using:

map ctrl+alt+enter    launch --cwd=current

You can open a new window that is allowed to control kitty via the kitty remote control facility by prefixing the command line with @. Any programs running in that window will be allowed to control kitty. For example:

map ctrl+enter launch --allow-remote-control some_program

You can open a new window next to the currently active window or as the first window, with:

map ctrl+n launch --location=neighbor some_program
map ctrl+f launch --location=first some_program

For more details, see launch.

New OS window

map ctrl+shift+n new_os_window
map cmd+n new_os_window 🍎

Works like new_window above, except that it opens a top level OS kitty window. In particular you can use new_os_window_with_cwd to open a window with the current working directory.

Close window

map ctrl+shift+w close_window
map shift+cmd+d close_window 🍎

Next window

map ctrl+shift+] next_window

Previous window

map ctrl+shift+[ previous_window

Move window forward

map ctrl+shift+f move_window_forward

Move window backward

map ctrl+shift+b move_window_backward

Move window to top

map ctrl+shift+` move_window_to_top

Start resizing window

map ctrl+shift+r start_resizing_window
map cmd+r start_resizing_window 🍎

First window

map ctrl+shift+1 first_window
map cmd+1 first_window 🍎

Second window

map ctrl+shift+2 second_window
map cmd+2 second_window 🍎

Third window

map ctrl+shift+3 third_window
map cmd+3 third_window 🍎

Fourth window

map ctrl+shift+4 fourth_window
map cmd+4 fourth_window 🍎

Fifth window

map ctrl+shift+5 fifth_window
map cmd+5 fifth_window 🍎

Sixth window

map ctrl+shift+6 sixth_window
map cmd+6 sixth_window 🍎

Seventh window

map ctrl+shift+7 seventh_window
map cmd+7 seventh_window 🍎

Eight window

map ctrl+shift+8 eighth_window
map cmd+8 eighth_window 🍎

Ninth window

map ctrl+shift+9 ninth_window
map cmd+9 ninth_window 🍎

Tenth window

map ctrl+shift+0 tenth_window

Tab management

Next tab

map ctrl+shift+right next_tab
map shift+cmd+] next_tab 🍎
map ctrl+tab next_tab

Previous tab

map ctrl+shift+left previous_tab
map shift+cmd+[ previous_tab 🍎
map shift+ctrl+tab previous_tab

New tab

map ctrl+shift+t new_tab
map cmd+t new_tab 🍎

Close tab

map ctrl+shift+q close_tab
map cmd+w close_tab 🍎

Close OS window

map shift+cmd+w close_os_window 🍎

Move tab forward

map ctrl+shift+. move_tab_forward

Move tab backward

map ctrl+shift+, move_tab_backward

Set tab title

map ctrl+shift+alt+t set_tab_title
map shift+cmd+i set_tab_title 🍎

You can also create shortcuts to go to specific tabs, with 1 being the first tab, 2 the second tab and -1 being the previously active tab, and any number larger than the last tab being the last tab:

map ctrl+alt+1 goto_tab 1
map ctrl+alt+2 goto_tab 2

Just as with new_window above, you can also pass the name of arbitrary commands to run when using new_tab and use new_tab_with_cwd. Finally, if you want the new tab to open next to the current tab rather than at the end of the tabs list, use:

map ctrl+t new_tab !neighbor [optional cmd to run]

Layout management

Next layout

map ctrl+shift+l next_layout

You can also create shortcuts to switch to specific layouts:

map ctrl+alt+t goto_layout tall
map ctrl+alt+s goto_layout stack

Similarly, to switch back to the previous layout:

map ctrl+alt+p last_used_layout

Font sizes

You can change the font size for all top-level kitty OS windows at a time or only the current one.

Increase font size

map ctrl+shift+equal change_font_size all +2.0
map ctrl+shift+plus change_font_size all +2.0
map ctrl+shift+kp_add change_font_size all +2.0
map cmd+plus change_font_size all +2.0 🍎
map cmd+equal change_font_size all +2.0 🍎
map cmd+shift+equal change_font_size all +2.0 🍎

Decrease font size

map ctrl+shift+minus change_font_size all -2.0
map ctrl+shift+kp_subtract change_font_size all -2.0
map cmd+minus change_font_size all -2.0 🍎
map cmd+shift+minus change_font_size all -2.0 🍎

Reset font size

map ctrl+shift+backspace change_font_size all 0
map cmd+0 change_font_size all 0 🍎

To setup shortcuts for specific font sizes:

map kitty_mod+f6 change_font_size all 10.0

To setup shortcuts to change only the current OS window's font size:

map kitty_mod+f6 change_font_size current 10.0

Select and act on visible text

Use the hints kitten to select text and either pass it to an external program or insert it into the terminal or copy it to the clipboard.

Open URL

map ctrl+shift+e kitten hints

Open a currently visible URL using the keyboard. The program used to open the URL is specified in open_url_with.

Insert selected path

map ctrl+shift+p>f kitten hints --type path --program -

Select a path/filename and insert it into the terminal. Useful, for instance to run git commands on a filename output from a previous git command.

Open selected path

map ctrl+shift+p>shift+f kitten hints --type path

Select a path/filename and open it with the default open program.

Insert selected line

map ctrl+shift+p>l kitten hints --type line --program -

Select a line of text and insert it into the terminal. Use for the output of things like: ls -1

Insert selected word

map ctrl+shift+p>w kitten hints --type word --program -

Select words and insert into terminal.

Insert selected hash

map ctrl+shift+p>h kitten hints --type hash --program -

Select something that looks like a hash and insert it into the terminal. Useful with git, which uses sha1 hashes to identify commits

Open the selected file at the selected line

map ctrl+shift+p>n kitten hints --type linenum

Select something that looks like filename:linenum and open it in vim at the specified line number.

Open the selected hyperlink

map ctrl+shift+p>y kitten hints --type hyperlink

Select a hyperlink (i.e. a URL that has been marked as such by the terminal program, for example, by ls --hyperlink=auto).

The hints kitten has many more modes of operation that you can map to different shortcuts. For a full description see kittens/hints.


Toggle fullscreen

map ctrl+shift+f11 toggle_fullscreen

Toggle maximized

map ctrl+shift+f10 toggle_maximized

Unicode input

map ctrl+shift+u kitten unicode_input
map cmd+ctrl+space kitten unicode_input 🍎

Edit config file

map ctrl+shift+f2 edit_config_file
map cmd+, edit_config_file 🍎

Open the kitty command shell

map ctrl+shift+escape kitty_shell window

Open the kitty shell in a new window/tab/overlay/os_window to control kitty using commands.

Increase background opacity

map ctrl+shift+a>m set_background_opacity +0.1

Decrease background opacity

map ctrl+shift+a>l set_background_opacity -0.1

Make background fully opaque

map ctrl+shift+a>1 set_background_opacity 1

Reset background opacity

map ctrl+shift+a>d set_background_opacity default

Reset the terminal

map ctrl+shift+delete clear_terminal reset active
map cmd+option+r clear_terminal reset active 🍎

You can create shortcuts to clear/reset the terminal. For example:

# Reset the terminal
map kitty_mod+f9 clear_terminal reset active
# Clear the terminal screen by erasing all contents
map kitty_mod+f10 clear_terminal clear active
# Clear the terminal scrollback by erasing it
map kitty_mod+f11 clear_terminal scrollback active
# Scroll the contents of the screen into the scrollback
map kitty_mod+f12 clear_terminal scroll active

If you want to operate on all windows instead of just the current one, use all instead of active.

It is also possible to remap Ctrl+L to both scroll the current screen contents into the scrollback buffer and clear the screen, instead of just clearing the screen, for example, for ZSH add the following to ~/.zshrc:

scroll-and-clear-screen() {
    printf '\n%.0s' {1..$LINES}
    zle clear-screen
zle -N scroll-and-clear-screen
bindkey '^l' scroll-and-clear-screen

Reload kitty.conf

map ctrl+shift+f5 load_config_file
map cmd+control+, load_config_file 🍎

Reload kitty.conf, applying any changes since the last time it was loaded. Note that a handful of settings cannot be dynamically changed and require a full restart of kitty.  You can also map a keybinding to load a different config file, for example:

map f5 load_config /path/to/alternative/kitty.conf

Note that all setting from the original kitty.conf are discarded, in other words the new conf settings replace the old ones.

Debug kitty configuration

map ctrl+shift+f6 debug_config
map cmd+option+, debug_config 🍎

Show details about exactly what configuration kitty is running with and its host environment. Useful for debugging issues.

Send arbitrary text on key presses

You can tell kitty to send arbitrary (UTF-8) encoded text to the client program when pressing specified shortcut keys. For example:

map ctrl+alt+a send_text all Special text

This will send "Special text" when you press the ctrl+alt+a key combination.  The text to be sent is a python string literal so you can use escapes like \x1b to send control codes or \u21fb to send unicode characters (or you can just input the unicode characters directly as UTF-8 text). The first argument to send_text is the keyboard modes in which to activate the shortcut. The possible values are normal or application or kitty or a comma separated combination of them.  The special keyword all means all modes. The modes normal and application refer to the DECCKM cursor key mode for terminals, and kitty refers to the special kitty extended keyboard protocol.

Another example, that outputs a word and then moves the cursor to the start of the line (same as pressing the Home key):

map ctrl+alt+a send_text normal Word\x1b[H
map ctrl+alt+a send_text application Word\x1bOH

Sample kitty.conf

You can edit a fully commented sample kitty.conf by pressing the ctrl+shift+f2 shortcut in kitty. This will generate a config file with full documentation and all settings commented out. If you have a pre-existing kitty.conf, then that will be used instead, delete it to see the sample file.


Kovid Goyal

Referenced By


Jul 22, 2021 0.21.2 kitty