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How to Mod Skyrim: Special Edition

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Within the last decade, the world of gaming has reached new heights and has taken an exponential leap in terms of production and development. More recent games that are coming out promise to immerse players in fictional worlds that offer an engaging story and deep, interactive design elements that make for a fuller, more realistic, and enjoyable experience. Game design has seen improvements like never before, even going as far as to give players complete control over a game’s core files to be able to customize it to their liking. 

In this article, we’ll be going over a technique that is used to boost and further improve some quality-of-life aspects of games to really give one a surreal gaming experience. Today we’ll be covering Modding, more specifically, How to Mod Skyrim: Special Edition


“Modding” is short for “Modification” and is usually a term used when players alter or make changes to a game’s file(s). “Mods” are what you call the end product of modding. They are usually either enhanced versions of already existing game files that give you better visuals (e.g. lighting, textures, etc.); or introduce new elements that aim to improve gameplay (e.g. added game mechanics, characters, etc.). Depending on your familiarity and experience with modding, one can either choose to simply apply mods downloaded from the internet or manually modify a game’s files. 


Perhaps one of the best titles ever released by popular American video game developer Bethesda, Skyrim was officially released in 2011 and sold over 30 million copies by the end of 2016. It was a game that everybody was talking about during its time of release and was known for its amazing story and stunning graphics. A Special Edition was released in October 2016, which included the critically-acclaimed game spiced with some modernized and remastered visual and gameplay add-ons. The special edition was more optimized and also featured modding compatibility, which the original version of the game did not support.


Since the release of the special edition, users from all around the world have made a plethora of Skyrim mods. To reduce confusion and ambiguity, this guide caters mainly to the PC, specifically, the Steam version of the special edition. To begin, kindly consider these reminders:

To run the game with mods smoothly, make sure your hardware meets at least these requirements:

  • Windows 7 Operating System (OS) or better
  • Dedicated Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)/Card with 4GB video memory or more
  • 6th generation Intel i5/Ryzen equivalent processor or better

Modding is not for everybody and is a painstaking process of trial and error. Without needing to change installed files, follow these steps to apply mods to Skyrim: Special Edition.

  1. Download the Steam client if you have not yet already. Download and install Skyrim from Steam. Mind your installation path as this will be important later on.

a. Run Skyrim as Administrator. To do this, simply right click on the icon and click on properties. Navigate to the compatibility tab and select “Run as Administrator.”

b. Give yourself full permission on your Skyrim folder. Same as how you set it to run as administrator, right click on the icon and select properties, then navigate to security and change the necessary options.

c. Take note of your installation path and add a “Mods” folder if one is not already present. To be sure your pathing is correct, it should look something like this Program File (x86) > steamapps > common > Skyrim Special Edition.

d. If you want to be extra safe, then consider moving the files out of your Steam Install to a different location by following these steps. However, this is not required.

  1. Using a Mod Manager/Launcher

a. Download and install a Mod Manager/Launcher. Certain mods work best if accompanied by a separate engine/software that executes the mod when the game runs. We recommend you do personal research as there are several mod launchers available, and we encourage you to pick one that you think best suits you and your PC. On the other hand, we recommend getting the Nexus Mod Manager or Vortex as many users utilize thems.

b. Launch your mod manager/launcher and navigate to find the corresponding game and mods tabs. Enable the ones you downloaded, provided it recognizes them. 

* It is easier to download and apply mods using the manager/launcher. When you cannot find a particular mod you like using, that is the only time we recommend manually downloading one online.

  1. Manual Installation

a. Download and install your desired mod/s. There are hundreds of mods available, but not all will work, especially in tandem with other mods. You can run the game with multiple mods, but if you are just starting, then we recommend trying it out with around two or three at first. Mods often come either as a compressed .rar or .zip file, so be sure to have a file extractor like WinZip.

b. Once downloaded, extract the files and be sure to have them in the same location as the game’s data folder. If you would experience a “duplicate files” prompt, just choose “copy and replace.”

Now run the game and test them out!


 Skyrim is a game that’s already ten years old, yet it can keep up with even modern games because of its limitless potential thanks to modding. The special edition immortalized the game’s lifespan as it allowed players to go even deeper in customizing the game to squeeze every ounce of improvement out of it. While mods made for a better experience for players, it introduced new perspectives for creators and programmers to incorporate a deeper sense of creativity and immersion in otherwise stale and outdated games. This is merely the start. Again, there is way more to modding than what we have gone over, but that is a topic for a separate article altogether.

Skyrim: Special Edition is just one of the many games that allow for modding, but it is one of those that showcase how to do it best. We wish you luck on your modding journey, Dragonborn!

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