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I can't find a pause button in Terraria, is there one? If I press the escape key, it just brings up my inventory - I tried pressing different keys, but none of them seem to do anything.

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+1 I was wondering the same thing – Wipqozn May 23 '11 at 21:52
up vote 26 down vote accepted

You can Alt-Tab out of the window, or simply click out of it if playing in windowed mode, and it will pause gameplay. It's hackish, but it does pause (you can also do this during loading, and it will keep loading).

As James has pointed out, this is single-player only. There is currently (and I doubt there ever will be) no multiplayer pause.

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This is single player only. – James May 20 '11 at 21:15
Yeah, Alt + Tab works for me, or you can - in windowed mode - just click out of the screen. – user10197 Jun 6 '11 at 16:09

Game pauses automatically if you ALT+TAB to another program.

UPDATE: In Terraria 1.0.4 devs added the following option related to pausing:

  • Added an option that will pause the game while talking to an NPC or opening your inventory in single player. It defaults to off.

enter image description here

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The Steam overlay definitely does not pause the game for me. – authenticgeek May 21 '11 at 16:21
@Nick Sorry, you are right, my fault. – Drake May 23 '11 at 19:34
Be warned! This method will not work while on a multiplayer server! – Raven Dreamer Jun 11 '11 at 2:39

Just wanted to point out that the ALT+TAB is not necessary. Provided you're using windows operating system with the main task bar at the bottom, you can pause the game by merely clicking on the taskbar, which will defocus the game window causing a pause. This is useful because it's faster and allows you to observe the paused game.

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This was already mentioned 5 years ago in a comment. "Yeah, Alt + Tab works for me, or you can - in windowed mode - just click out of the screen. – user10197" – DanmakuGrazer Jun 30 at 12:45
@DanmakuGrazer I did not notice that. Nevertheless that does not make this an invalid answer as far as I know. Comments are not answers. – Tomáš Zato Jun 30 at 12:46
Also the comment is not exactly precise, cicking on Terraria title bar will still not pause the game, although it's what I'd call 'out of the screen'. – Tomáš Zato Jun 30 at 12:47

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