The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition – Basic Modding Tutorial – All Version 2022

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition – Basic Modding Tutorial – All Version 2022 1 -
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition – Basic Modding Tutorial – All Version 2022 1 -

This guide will cover good modding practices in how to properly mod Skyrim Special Edition on PC in 2022. These modding principles apply to game versions both prior to and after the Anniversary update or upgrade.
This guide also covers everything you need in terms of tools and files in preparation to installing your first mod.
I also have several separate load order guides each containing a complete mod list and all links to those guides are included in this guide which now becomes the parent guide. So those guides depend on this guide as their master.

Help others find this guide

A Thumbs-up goes a long way towards keeping this guide from getting buried down low in the guide section on Steam and instead near the top of the list so others can easily find it.
“What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.” ~Voltaire
Recommend it and share it.
This also keeps me motivated knowing the guide is helping people. You should probably Favorite it as well so you can easily come back to this Guide.
Thank you


“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure” ~Colin Powell
This entire guide was a big part of my “Complete Load Order & Basics+ for Skyrim SE” guide released over 2 years ago. I moved the contents of that guide to the guide you are looking at minus the mod list that was included with that Basics+ Guide. I have several other mod list guides and am about to release another so they will not include this detailed info but will all refer to this guide. This also makes it easier to update this and other other guides.
Maybe this is your first time modding, maybe you’ve had several unsuccessful attempts at modding, maybe you need a refresher after a long break from modding Skyrim or maybe you’re simply curious. One thing for sure, Skyrim is one of the best games to mod and there’s a list of reasons why which I won’t get into here because that’s not what this guide is about. This guide is about implementing tried and true modding practice for Skyrim SE. These are the basics.
Put a day aside to learn the basics
Put the time in to learn properly and you’ll be rewarded ten fold. Successful modding is not plug-n-play. There are no shortcuts. Take an hour to read this entire guide. Take another hour to watch the mod manager tutorials and then refer back to this guide as needed. I have several guides with mod lists that are all linked to this guide. But let’s start with the basics first.
I started modding Skyrim on Console and had a great time doing so. I was hooked and the journey was very rewarding not to mention my game looked infinitely better. But the more I learned the more I realized that consoles are very limited in what they can do when it comes to adding mods and building a stable load order. The main reason for me was the lack of tools, as a matter of fact there are none for console. So I moved over to PC and quickly realized there’s a learning curve.
Guides back then were too vague although somewhat helpful. So I went to the famous school of hard knocks and took my lumps. Back then when I was researching for modding help while on console my search results would often bring me to Steam and to posts from members of the “Old Farts Coffee House”, basically info those members had contributed to guides and help posts. Some of my greatest strides forward in Modding came from that research.
Then it all came together for me, research, trial & error, failures and then success, oh sweet success. Modding became so rewarding and so much fun. I started helping in the Steam forums and then decided to write a guide in order to help others easily sort the sea of information out there.
Although it’s been updated many times the information in this guide was originally contained in my very first modding guide “Complete Load Order & Basics+ for Skyrim SE” and these basic principles have helped thousands of people ever since. I hope you find it just as useful.
Take your time and have fun

Do’s & Don’ts

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - Do's & Don'ts - 33056F2
Let it be a “Do” or a “Don’t”, this is a list of common mistakes made by new mod users





This is something you probably have done before you purchased Skyrim SE and if you did in fact check then skip to the next paragraph. But if you did not please do so now or you may regret it. Visit Can You Run it – []  it will read your system for you (it’s safe – used by millions). Follow the instructions on the website.


Put the time in now and you will be rewarded ten fold. Besides, modding is reading. So reading the information laid out in this guide up to the point of actually installing the very first mod in this guide will go along way towards a successful build. There may be bumps in the road but let’s not make it harder than it needs to be. Read the info.


If you are an experienced mod user you already know the importance of reading as much info on a mod before installing it. If you are new but are following one of my load order guides I’ve already done that for you. Before you install each mod for the rest of your time modding you need to know the following; Which version of each mod is for your version of Skyrim Special Edition, installation instructions and compatibility with other mods including any dependencies on other mods which are all listed in every mods description page under “Requirements”, also read any sticky posts in the comment section of each mod page.
Then test your mods as you build your load order. It’s easier to track down a problem installing 5-7 mods at a time than it is to find a needle in a haystack.


Some mods are manual install only however the vast majority should be installed via a mod manager. There are several Mod Managers to choose from & whichever one you choose there is a learning curve. The most popular Mod Managers are Vortex and Mod Organizer 2. IF you are a NMM user I highly recommend you upgrade to either the New official Mod Manager for Nexus Mods which is Vortex or use MO2. There is a reason they made the decision to build an entire new mod manager instead of continuing with the old. For more info on this see my Vortex Nexus Mod Manager Guide – []  which contains useful info on Vortex. You’ll also need xEdit, Loot, and an Archiving Tool, all of which we will be covering in the “Tools” section of this guide. We will get to downloading a mod manager and other tools later in this guide.
Side note:
While you’re there, I would also suggest to play for a bit. Some recommend you accomplish a playthrough with NO mods to get a better feel for the game before start modding so that you’ll know what you want for mods and why. I am not going to suggest a complete playthrough but I do agree you should know what you’re working with at the very least – delete your saves afterwards.


This is important advice and it WILL save you hours of frustration. So in my mind a hard save is not saving over another save and not using Auto or Quick Saves. To turn auto saves off you have to actually be in game. (Esc – Settings – Gameplay)
We tend to use them in situations Skyrim can’t handle. Why can’t Skyrim Handle them? Because Skyrim can be buggy (surprise). Why often? Because nothing is worse than realizing your last save was many hours ago instead of only one hour, or 10 minutes ago.


This is a game and modding might even become a hobby for you as it is for many of us. By taking your time, reading information, properly testing as you go, this whole process becomes so much easier thus remaining what it should be, which is fun.





This is one of the best pieces of advice you’ll ever receive in regards to modding. Removing mods mid-playthrough can and will most likely ruin your game plus cost you hours, even days of troubleshooting which eventually leads to starting the entire modding process over but with much added work because you now have to make sure no loose files are left behind for your next playthrough and that’s another process altogether (Clean Reinstall). Texture mods and other mods that do not include an .esp are generally safe but you DONOT want to remove mods with scripts mid game EVER. Without getting into detail here on how your game loads and saves data, you can read more here: Information Baked Into Saves – [] 


I’ll keep this short and to the point. Faster is not better for Skyrim as Physic’s, Quests & Sound are all tied to FPS. Again, sometimes the problems won’t show up right away giving you a false sense of security that you beat the system. Ultimately, Bethesda recommends not doing this. Even with a great PC you will encounter these problems Read more: FPS Cannot Exceed 60 – [] 


Executing the wrong command (in some cases the correct command) can cause your game immediate problems that are not fixable or sometimes the problems won’t show up right away giving you a false sense that you beat the system. Console commands can break a quest many hours down the line and you won’t know why you can’t complete that quest. Resist the temptation and at the very least remember to save your game before you use them. The following is the warning from the UESP wiki – [] 


Self explanatory but very important especially for lower end systems. Shut down Chrome or your browser of choice etc. I have plenty of RAM and an above average processor but I shut everything down.


If you’ll be following my guides this will not be a worry but if you’ve NEVER modded before it’s probably only natural that the very first time you look at the over 25,000 mods currently available on the SSE Nexus website that you’ll see dozens if not hundreds of mods you want in your game so you start downloading mods and more mods and….. For any mod user but more so for new mod users this is asking for trouble. – [] 


There is no Steam Workshop “Skyrim SPECIAL EDITION”. Please don’t confuse the Skyrim (Oldrim) Workshop for the non-existent SE Workshop because you can’t use Oldrim mods regardless of where they came from for Skyrim SE unless they are converted properly.


Your game will break. There are mods that look for specific file names that are common to legal copies of the game.


It will cause Your game will stop running. We cover this in the First Things First section of this guide.


I’m not reinventing the wheel with this guide. Everything here is common knowledge to those of use that have tens of thousands of hours modding and playing this game. Watch this short video by one of the top YouTubers for Bethesda modding, Michael of GamerPoets. We use many of his videos, so should you. – [] 

First Things First – Preparation

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - First Things First - Preparation - 54ED7F3
An Important “To Do List” before we start

Skyrim Special Edition - PC System Requirements
System Specs

Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit Version)
Intel i5-750/AMD Phenom II X4-945.
8GB of ram.
30+ GB free HDD space

Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit Version)
Intel i5-2400/AMD FX-8320.
8GB of ram.
75+ GB free HDD space (Remember we are adding mods which take up space)
NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB /AMD R9 290 4GB

This Video - []  by GamerPoets gives in-depth detail on the above info & more. Keep in mind regardless of which version you are modding this game has been updated several times since this video came out. But the basic principles remain.

My Specs: Windows 10 | i7-8700 | Nvidia RTX 2070 | 2 TB SSD & 1 TB SSD

We need to start clean with no leftover hidden files and with your game outside of Program Files. Carefully read the information below to see what pertains to you.

Make Sure Skyrim is Vanilla (Resetting Skyrim to a clean vanilla state)

Unfortunately if you have previously modded your copy of Skyrim SE there is a good chance loose files and/or baked in data were left behind & these will adversely affect your next modded playthrough so they need to be removed.
Also IF you’ve previously modded or attempted to mod Skyrim Special Edition
Remove ALL mods from Vortex if you have or had mods installed & do not want to spend time deleting them one by one see the Removing ALL mods section in my Vortex Guide – [] 
Better to start with a clean copy of Skyrim now than to have to redo everything after you spent time setting up your load order. Detailed instructions in the following video:
*Remember when reinstalling/moving your game in the next steps be sure to install your game outside of Program Files

Why move your game outside of Program Files?

When Skyrim SE is installed in either of the programs files Windows sometimes interferes due to UAC – []  permissions. Microsoft wants to control these folders which never bothers us until we try to mod a game installed in these folders. While not everyone will incur problems with their game installed in Program files right away the best thing is to avoid any potential problems by simply installing your game & Steam in a different location.
UNRESTRICTED ACCESS (Moving Your Game Out of Program Files)
Please uninstall SSE then re-install your game to either another drive or if that is not an option keep it in C: but NOT in Program Files or Program Files (x86) which is where Steam tries to install it. Note: installing on an EXTERNAL DRIVE you MAY encounter sound issues. Key word here is “may”. You may not have sound issues and to the best of my knowledge this only seems to be a problem for some with Special Edition.
To Move to a separate drive (example: D) SEE Below:
Navigate to your Steam client ‘Settings’ menu. Select ‘Steam Library Folders’ from the ‘Downloads’ tab. From here, you can view your default installation path, as well as creating a new path by selecting ‘Add Library Folder’. Once you have created the new path, all future installations can be installed there. (see link below for more on this)
Here’s the link:
Steam’s full instructions – [] 
But I only have a C: drive:
Again, if this is absolutely not an option for you because you only have 1 drive, simply move Steam but NOT in either of the “Program Files”.
Steam Support’s instructions – [] 
Steam Discussion – []  on moving your game.

With the above in mind let’s proceed

Watch this 2 minute Video by GamerPoets (pause where needed)
I do this every time I start a new load order regardless – [] 
The above “Clean install” info is ONLY IF you have Previously installed mods otherwise just make sure your game is installed outside of Program Files or Program Files (x86)
Your copy of SKYRIM SE should now be version1.6.353
When you get to that point, just before you start modding you must launch the game one time in order for the game to write your .ini files and update the registry so you can mod your game, but also in order to install our mod manager if we do not already have one installed.


We will download a mod manager in the next section. Vortex is recommended and what this guide is setup for but MO2 can be used as well if you know what you are doing. Use whatever Mod Manager you are comfortable with. I do not recommend Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) unless you are well versed in it. Do NOT install your mod manager to your game directory.



Do not use the In-game Mod System

(OR THE MODS) IN THE GAME’S MAIN MENU – The Bethesda mod management system will fight with your mod manager and is unsupported by Bethesda. This means no Bethesda mods. Creation Club is official DLC so it’s fine but we really do not need anything from the in-game mod section as the vast majority of them are available on the other sites we use. We don’t want their management system for mods.


Proceed without performing these steps at your own risk. We need to turn off both Steam’s Cloud saves AND Microsoft’s One Drive cloud saves. Turning off Steam’s cloud is a simple step in your Steam game settings however Microsoft’s cloud involves MORE THAN simply turning it off but is well worth it. Skyrim needs access to your My Documents folder and the Skyrim SE folders beneath it & OneDrive will fight with Skyrim over doing exactly that, preventing it from writing, and that’s why you can’t save, see your saves, or write to the ini files. This does not happen right away & that’s a big part of the problem as when it happens you have invested some time in your game. Wolfpack wrote out a great tutorial for One Drive and it is included in my SSE Help Guide – []  in the “Cloud & Save Problems – One Drive” section.
These last 2 steps are not something you need to perform right now but I want to stress:


I cover this in the next sections of this guide but it’s important that once we install SKSE64 you will ONLY be launching SSE via the SKSE64 launcher. Although we won’t be installing SKSE64 until later in the guide we need to first make sure Steam does not automatically update SSE:
I’ll cover this in more detail in the next section of the guide but these are the steps.
Go to your Steam Library & find “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition” in your games list & Right Click on it & go down to “Properties” then click on the “Updates” tab at the top & under Automatic Updates use the dropdown & select the option to “Only update this game when I launch it”.

PC Driver updates & Files

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - PC Driver updates & Files - FA695AB
First and Foremost: You need a legal copy of the game
Let’s make sure your PC’s drivers are up to date
*How to update your computer Graphic Drivers – []  [pcgamer]
*How to update your computer Audio Drivers – [] 
Intel® Driver & Support Assistant – [] 


DirectX 11 (or greater)
*DirectX Get Latest Version of DirectX HERE – [] 

Must Have Microsoft Visual C++

Double check
C++ v 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2022 (all-in-one package)
You may have it because it should come with the game but does not always install properly so *if prompted to repair* choose “yes” otherwise of course install it:
Visual Studio 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2022 – [] 
Install the (x64) of the 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2022 (comes all-in-one) file package on the page that is linked here (all you need for Skyrim SE is the 64 bit). I installed both because I also have original Skyrim which is 32bit (x86) and Skyrim SE of course is 64bit. Plus many programs and games that run on your computer use Microsoft Visual C++ and there’s no easy way for you to tell which programs on your machine require which versions of the redistributables .
More imprtant info on Microsoft Visual C++
You can see the versions you have on your PC by going to settings on your computer and then “Apps” then “Apps & Features”. You may see several. Do Not remove/delete any older versions of these redistributables. Leave them there as these files are not superseded when you download the next version. When you install software that needs code from the Microsoft visual C+ Runtime, it will install the version it relies on, if it is not already installed. Different software on your system requires different version(s) of this runtime If you uninstall any of these, some software on your system will stop working.
Long story short, these are nothing to worry about, they will not slow your system down and take up little space – best to leave well enough alone for the stability of your system!

Q: Should I remove the other Visual C++ files on my PC?

A: NO. I don’t because Visual C is not an All-in-one file, each version supports different games even different programs that might be on your PC. Not to mention removing them won’t give you back nearly as much disk space as you expect, and remember they’re not impacting system performance if they’re not being used atm.
FAQ: Do I really need all those “Microsoft Visual C++” programs? A: YES – [] 

Strictly an FYI – although this guide does not include mods that require Java if you should run into a mod say for example “Perkus Maximus” which requires Java to run the patcher you can always uninstall Java after completing that process. I thought I’d mention this as I know some folks are picky about what goes in their PC. Java is safe and here is the download if you ever need it
Java – download – install – remove – troubleshoot – [] 
you just might already have it or may think you have it 🙂
This is also a good time for a PC Cleanup/Registry Cleaner. CCleaner does a nice job and even has a free version (which I use). CC Cleaner – [] 
Other useful driver links
Nvidia – [] 
AMD – [] 
or read – [] 

Accounts for Mods

Let’s get setup for downloading and installing mods
There are very few sites that I download my mods from. That said we need to make sure the sites we use are not only reputable but also that they carry the correct mod versions for the game version we are playing. This guide will walk you through the process of getting setup properly and then once we start adding mods will make sure you are installing mods that work properly for this game.

These are all Free mod sites and we need them for this guide

If you can mod it, they’ll host it.
“Nexus Mods host 320,082 files for 1,360 games from 130,728 authors serving 28,003,702 members with 4,895,643,266 downloads to date. They support modding for many PC games.
*Nexus Mods – Register Free – [] 
Nexus is the largest site for mods with over 28 million users & over 4 Billion downloads to date.
AFK Mods – Register Free – []  This site hosts many of the best and well known mods and is run by Arthmoor one of the most reputable names in the modding community.
Important: Create your accounts for Nexus Mods and for AFK Mods before proceeding
These sites do not require registration and also contain Free mods
each site includes a vital file we will be using:
Once we get started we will be downloading a couple of files from:
(No need for you to do anything with these sites for now.) – []  and – [] 
I’ll also include some links to files that are on my personal google drive.


Plugin Limit and Selecting Mods in this guide

As you mod your game please keep in mind that Skyrim has a limit of 255 plugins. Anything above this esp/esm limit and the game crashes. By installing every mod presented in one of my load order guides you'll be fine. You should always be aware of this limit when modding your game. You'll start off right out of the gate with 5 game plugins which brings us down to 250 however game version has Creation Club items so the free update includes 2 additional and the Anniversary upgrade brings 8 more (most CC cntent it .esl). ESL's do not count towards that limit and many of the mods I've chosen for this guide are "flagged as .esl". Don't overthink this at least for now because as I said using this guide will keep you below that limit while allowing more than 255 mods. Also a couple of specific mods in this guide can be manually flagged as .esl and I'll show you how to use Vortex to flag them in one click. Just make sure you follow the guide because you need to know which mods are safe to flag and which mods absolutely can not be flagged or your game will break. Want more info on this? See Article below.

The Golden Goose (from arthmoor)
Files with the ESL flag are given special treatment with their form IDs. Upon loading into the game, the form IDs are remapped into the FE mod index. This is now considered a special slot in SSE and should not be occupied by any mods in your load order. Not even the Bashed Patch or any other form of merged data.

As a result of this new support, the engine can allow you to bypass the previously hard limit of 255 plugin files. The theoretical limit now should be 4096 ESL flagged mods. Individual files flagged as ESL can in theory hold up to 4096 form ID records. In practice this ends up actually being 2048 form ID records because the engine reserves everything from $0x0000 to $0x07FF. All files using ESL flags must therefore contain their internal form IDs between xx000800 and xx000FFF. Anything exceeding this range is invalid and the game will either crash or you'll have severely corrupted data due to overruns.
Article - [] []




The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - Tools - 3BDCA7E
*If you don’t have a Nexus account see previous section

Important note:

Make sure you set these tools up properly. The process is simple as long as you watch the related videos and follow instructions. I repeat; the process of setting up each tool is a simple one which does not require high level skills but as simple as they are they must be set up properly.

Make a “Modding Tools” Folder

I suggest you make a folder on the same drive as your game but NOT in the actual game or mods folder, then name it “Modding Tools”. This will be where you’ll place subfolders for all tools unless otherwise noted. For example you can make seperate folders inside your “Modding Tools” folder for ‘SSEEDIT’, ‘Loot’, and ‘Bethini’. You may be adding more in the future if you dive deeper into modding.
Let’s make sure we have the proper tool for the proper job
Everything listed below is FREE yet Essential

*A Mod Manager (pick one)
I recommend Vortex or MO2 You can’t go wrong with either one as both are the best of the best
Vortex is recommended but if you’re an experienced MO2 user you should be fine
This guide suggests you start with Vortex (that’s what I use) because it uses “Loot code” which is built in to Vortex out of the box. Loot is essential to sort your Load Order automatically although I have notes for mods that in some cases will be different than what Loot suggests so please read my notes next to each mod when using this guide. This is very important because the order in which your mods load is critical and if mods are not arranged properly your game can eventually, if not immediately, become very unstable, even unplayable and sooner or later may even crash.
Don’t forget to Download the stand alone version of Loot (we’ll get to that in a minute). You need Loot if for no other reason than Loot will give you important notes regarding things like compatibility and patching. Vortex will give also you notes when needed in the plugin section regarding Loot alerts.
For Vortex installation – simply use the Vortex “One-click installer” linked below.



This guide is specifically setup for use with Vortex. You can use MO2 if you are versed in MO2.
You’ll have needed to launch the game at least once before installing your mod manager as we did back in this guide’s “First Things First” section.
*Vortex – []  10.7 million downloads (My Favorite) Official Mod Manager for Nexus
Also works for many other games including TW3, Mass Effect, Cyberpunk 2077 Fallout 3, 4, New Vegas and over 100 other games.
Vortex installation
Watch: the

NOTE: as stated in the video, the installation button on Nexus has changed so use the One Click button when installing. But the rest of his video is must watch material. The next section of this guide there contains links to all of Gopher’s excellent videos on Vortex including one on installing SKSE64 with Vortex. They are all very well done and important to watch especially if you are new or have been struggling with modding your game.


MO2 – []  3.7 million downloads. Also an excellent Mod Manager. Works for most Bethesda Games.
MO2 github – []  (or you can download it here)
IMPORTANT Please watch

There are 2 very well done Videos


*An Archiving Tool (*pick one)

Whichever one you pick (you can pick both but only need one) Let it install to it’s default location.
*7zip – []  Get 64bit. FREE (My Favorite)
*WinRAR – []  Get 64bit. Make sure to get the Trial Version (it never expires even after trial)

*You’ll also need Loot and xEdit


Install Loot in your Modding Tools folder.
*Loot – []  The Load Order Optimization Tool (Loot)
Loot – []  (or you can get it here)
Need help updating/upgrading your version of Loot?
See the “Loot – upgrading to a new version” section of my SSE Help Guide – [] 
YES Vortex uses Loot API for the all important mod load order sorting but you still need this Stand-alone Version as Loot will give you easy to understand details about your mods.

xEdit or in this case SSEEDIT

install xEdit to your modding tools folder we made earlier
*SSEEdit – []  *All versions of xEdit are from the same program. You’can learn how to setup xEdit for SSE (it’s easy) in the “xEdit: Cleaning, Fixing & Patching “ Section of my SSE Help Guide – [] 
For those that want to read more information about xEdit you can see the Nexus mod page for SSEdit: Here – [] 
See the tutorial Videos for SSEEDIT in the “xEdit: Cleaning, Fixing & Patching “ Section of my SSE Help Guide – [] 
That’s it. You’re all set – (we will be installing Bethini later in the guide
if needed, more tools for down the road are listed later in this guide (under “Advanced Tools”)

Depending on how far you advance in modding you may be installing other tools to your “Modding Tools” folder. So the folder will be there if and when you need it.


Mod Manager Tutorials

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - Mod Manager Tutorials - DFFBD91


*Highly Recommended Viewing B4 You Start


A mod manager makes modding so much simpler and your game stable
but there is a slight learning curve
A word on using a mod manager. Let’s be clear, you do not “need” a mod manager in order to mod your game just like you don’t need an automatic transmission to drive a car. However in many cases a mod manager will ensure your game is modded properly. There is nothing worse IMO than someone bragging to new modders that they can mod without one, good for you. A good mod manager will make sure your mod is installed (and removed) correctly and with Loot you’ll be assisted with the critical load order (Vortex has Loot built in).
You’ll still occasionally be required to install some mods manually so you will learn. You still have to read everything the mod author of each mod tells you about their mod.
Using a mod manager along with LOOT will automatically order plugins correctly 95% of the time. However, there is no replacement for reading mod descriptions for understanding what mods are doing, and ordering them accordingly.
I could go on, heck I could write a book on this. Use a mod manager, pay attention to what you’re doing, read everything and you’ll learn the proper way to mod. Period.
Learning Vortex
Gopher has done something very few have ever done for any gaming tool and that is create a library of videos for every situation you may come across.
The videos are a few years old so the Vortex user interface has changed a bit but the instructions that Gopher so thoroughly lays out all apply to this day.
There are 10 videos in total: Please watch the Introduction video and then videos 1 thru 3 & refer back to them as needed then watch the other videos as you progress through the learning curve.
(or watch them all now)

*Vortex introduction video

(full set includes the following videos: Introduction + 1 thru 9 – all ten are by Gopher)


Vortex tutorial videos 1-9

Watch at least the first 3 before you start
Note: Getting Started video covers installation VORTEX is has long been out of the Alpha & Beta Stage since the making of Video #1 so the way you find the install button will be slightly different.










Invest some time watching these videos. Your only investment is your time and your return on investment will be paying dividends both immediately and long term. Watch at least the first 3 (Intro, Getting Started & Installing mods) before you start then you can watch the others as you go.

If you are new to modding and/or have never used Vortex you need to watch the videos that Gopher put out on how to use Vortex. His videos are so good that Nexus has them linked in the Vortex mod manager. Vortex is a easy to use yet powerful mod manager that I have been using since it’s Alpha days and I am very happy with it. Vortex has helped me build many load orders that were all close to 700 mods. You can also come back to this page as you go for quick reference.

Go in the Vortex Mods section and select the gear icon in the upper right hand corner and in the dropdown make sure you check “Dependencies”. This way we always have access to each mod’s “Rules” (just in case).

(Link to the discussion thread for this guide HERE – [] )
For more information on Vortex: – [] 



This guide uses Vortex but use what you are comfortable with.
Download MO2 – []  Install if not using Vortex – [] – [] 
Here’s a link to all of GamerPoets excellent MO2 tutorials:
All Gamerpoets Video Tutorials for MO2 – [] 
Bonus Quick Access videos for MO2
Mod Organizer 2 Tips & Tricks – [] 
MO2 – Profiles & Apps – [] 


Load Order

Excellent video by GamerPoets on Load order & Modding 101



XEdit: Cleaning, Fixing & Patching

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - xEdit: Cleaning, Fixing & Patching - 9CB0D95
What is cleaning? Cleaning very broadly defined is a process that analyzes all the changes a mod makes and determines which edits are actually supposed to be in the mod.


Important info regarding holding off on cleaning

This has been a major shift in the previously generally accepted philosophy. This is due to changes that were made to xEdit and the way they have been implemented, as well as how the xEdit team is approaching the implementation of changes to the tool, and so, since the introduction of xEdit 4 series, and the discovery of major issues that resulted due to cleaning the masters, NOT cleaning masters is now the recommendation.
I’ll start with a recent post from smr1957 in regards to this matter.

Originally posted by smr1957 - [] :
Do not clean the Masters. Cleaning them using auto-clean has resulted in missing sections of workspace in some areas of the game. And even though the new version of xEdit has supposedly fixed this issue, I would still not recommend using autoclean on the Master files - though in all other respects as regards editing, xEdit is fine and unsurpassed.

Some of the issues with cleaning and xEdit have been covered in detail elsewhere (there are links in my Pinned topic Helpful Links and References,), so I will not go into them further here......

Arthmoor’s advice on cleaning – [] 
Shouldn’t Bethesda have Cleaned their Masters?
As Avrie says, ‘Bethesda didn’t bother cleaning the original Skyrim files, then in their infinite wisdom didn’t bother again when they had the chance with the release of Special Edition, but it is still needed. Just add this to the list of things that “could” have been fixed but wasn’t.’
Don’t Clean CC Content either
On 12/3/2021 at 6:53 AM, Wasarion said:
“So why would all the mod authors that made the cc-mods in the AE bundle release them not cleaned? Loot say 40 of them are dirty.”
And Arthmoor replied
“Because those are not mods, they are official DLC, and 3rd party utilities are not permitted for use when you are a contract employee for the company. IMO they should be treated as such and not cleaned as a general rule.” AFK Mods – [] 
I would remove the wild edit in Dawnguard as show in the end of this video by Gamerpoets
Jump to the 5:40 mark of this video:


What about Cleaning Mods?
Do not clean every mod in your load order either as some mods are intentionally left in the state you find them. If LOOT informs you to clean a mod then first check the mod page regarding info on cleaning and if needed ask the mod author. I have recently started adding notes to my load order guides to indicate if a mod should be cleaned or not.
If you’ve followed the guide this far you know I’m pretty thorough. Normally I’d say let’s make sure nothing stands in your way of a stable game so let’s clean our masters, but with the recent xEdit doubts and the fact it’s not critical in the first place, we should first make sure cleaning a mod is advised before doing so. You shouldn’t need to clean your mods if the mod author has done his job properly and there are some mods that require you do NOT clean them. Always refer to Loot for information on the mods so you can see which mods they suggest you clean then ask the Mod Author when in doubt because some mods are intentionally left uncleaned. To better understand why this might occur please watch the video’s by GamerPoets included on this page.

Installation & Setup

IF you have not downloaded xEdit yet please do so and set it up as described in the videos below

Before you watch the video on Cleaning:


This step is necessary in order for the game to config your .ini files. This last step is also very important before you begin modding your game. DO NOT SKIP. Do this NOW. Also make sure your resolution is set properly. Make sure it looks like this (with your desired resolution):
If your machine can’t handle “Ultra” that’s fine. Just make sure the Check boxes look like this^ (your screen resolution and “Low/Med/High/Ultra” settings may vary) TAA is important

What else should I clean?

When a mod needs cleaning and is ok to clean I’ll either supply a clean esp or leave a note in my load order guides for you to clean that mod. As mentioned earlier in this guide you should be in the habit of reading the information on each mod page you download from so if the mod author made a note that he does not want you to clean his or her mod even though Loot said to do so you’ll know that the mod was left in that state in order for it to function as the mod author intended. So when using loot if you see a message to clean a mod always check the mod page to make sure they didn’t tell you not to clean it before you clean the mod in xEdit.

Let’s review

Normally in a heavily modded game it is advisable to clean your Masters in order to avoid issues that may crop up, HOWEVER It never was a hard requirement to clean your Masters with a small to medium load order. And right now in early 2022 until we are not 100% certain that xEdit’s QuickAutoClean does not cause missing sections of workspace in some areas of the game so we are advising against cleaning.
It also can make your game more stable. Fixing Identical to Masters (ITMs) is part of what SSEEDIT does when using the Quick Clean feature of SSEEDIT. Left uncleaned these ITM’s can cause problems. For details on this see the linked articles and Videos on this page..
If you have the latest official version of Skyrim SE then SSEEdit (xEdit) is an excellent tool that can help you with your mods to remove irrelevant duplicated references and can even repair deleted references as well. You can also merge plugins and make patches with SSEEdit.
Loot will also give you plug-in warnings and usage notes from SSEEDIT
xEdit Bible
Tome of xEdit – [] 
Editing In xEdit – []  I encourage all to save this guide by smr1957. This is a new guide so it will be growing over time as smr will be adding to it. Contains solid information.
*Step by step text version on Cleaning with xEdit for future reference Here – [] 
Here is a Reddit discussion on cleaning (Arthmoor also weighs in).
Is cleaning master files useless? – [] 

Videos – More tutorials on other important uses for xEdit
 – [] – [] – [] – [] 

Planning on installing more than 254 plugins?

Vortex Users: This is built-in to the Vortex Plugin section – [] 


Protect, Backup & Lock

Bethesda does update the game whenever there is a Creation Club update. On top of that it is always possible that you will make a mistake or Steam will somehow update the game. There are a couple of ways to back things up in case this happens. For now simply turn off the updates to only update when you launch the game (I set my game updates to a time when I know I’ll be off-line).
See instructions for Protecting your game from updates – [] 
The following video by GamerPoets explains why this is important, and also shows you one of the ways to backup. Highly Recommended – [] 
SkyrimSE.exe Auto-Backup (by CDante) – [] 
A tool that will automatically store your different versions of SkyrimSE.exe files in backup folders. Now you will always have a backup of your executable in case you unintentionally updated your game via Steam. Requires SKSE64. – (This is the mod we spoke of in a previous section) – [] 

What is ENB

What is ENB?
Enhanced Natural Beauty (ENB) – This addon consists of two parts, the ENB binary file which contains all the actual processes and general settings and which can only be downloaded from one specific site run by the creator of these, and the preset which can be gotten at any modding site (though, of course, Nexus is the most used). The preset is just tailored settings and changes made to the actual ENB binaries to change the appearance – by itself, it is useless.
There are many ENB’s for Skyrim SE & just about every one of them offer 3 versions to choose from contained in one file folder. They include 1 “High Quality” for higher end pc’s, 1 “Quality” & 1 usually called something like “Performance” which is aimed at lower end pc’s. This way you can start with the best quality and see how your pc handles it and if needed work your way down.
My guide’s are setup to remove numerous bugs and improve gameplay, so by adding both a high quality ENB (Ex: Re Engaged) and lighting mod (EX: ELFX) with the right combination of excellent texture mods and a weather mod (EX: Obsidian) your game comes alive and looks like a true 2022-23 video game that truly highlights Skyrim’s beauty and brings it to life.
That said it is important to remember that, although I recommend an ENB if your system can handle one, Skyrim SE or AE really does not “need” an ENB and as a matter of fact compared to the Original Skyrim (Oldrim) it needs one even less.

What is LOD

Originally posted by Avrie - [] :
Limited Object Detail = LOD

At a specific set distance from the player, the render engine switches from full detail to limited object detail (LOD) to conserve Vram and speed up render times. The LOD is a low resolution "stick figure" of that beautiful 4K texture you installed. There are Near LODs, Mid LODs, Far LODs, Large LODs and Very Large LODS. When you look at a mountain in the distance it's a single generated low resolution texture, not the tens of thousands of individual textures that go into the creation of the actual mountains. You'd need the Holodeck to pull that off. A "mortal" PC even running a 3090 would melt down if you filled it with 8K textures and told it to render the world in real time.

You'd need much more memory than any current video rig could support, but more importantly it doesn't need to. By switching to Near LODs, then Mid LODs, then Far LODs at fixed distances from the player and based on rules, you are telling the computer which objects are in your field of vision, and which objects are a shadow in the distance. xLODGen simply updates the LOD files and rules to exactly match the textures and meshes you've installed. That includes mod added buildings and Flora.

There are DyndoLOD tutorials in the “SSE Help Guides” section of this guide.

Now Pick a Load Order Guide

Your Next Step is to start building your load order. Pick a guide and start your modding journey.
Skyrim SE 1.6.353 small load order (4-12 mods) – [] 
Skyrim SE 1.6.353 medium load order (50-175 mods) – [] 
Skyrim SE 1.5.97 load order (4-375 mods) – [] 
A new larger load order guide is in the works and will be published soon.

SSE Help Guides

General Help – [] 
Vortex – [] 
Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE64) – [] 
DyndoLOD – All Game versions – [] 
DyndoLOD – 1.5.97 – [] 
xEdit / SSEEdit – [] 
Steam Discussion & Help Threads
SSE Steam Pinned Topics & Forums – [] 
Steam SSE Discussion Forums – [] 
Discussion thread for this guide – [] 


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - Glossary - A7EA0E4
There are a decent amount of abbreviations, acronyms, keywords, and terms (whatever you want to call them) for Bethesda’s 5th installment of The Elder Scrolls. Let’s familiarize you with a few of them as they can be confusing at first.
listed alphabetically
BSA – Bethesda Softworks Archive. A compressed file you’ll often see in many mods. Can include sounds, textures, models, etc. BSA install-order doesn’t matter, only Load order.
CK – Creation Kit. This tool is used to edit & create Bethesda mods.
CTD – Crash to Desktop.
*CBBE – Caliente’s Beautiful Body Enhancement. A popular female body type by Caliente. You’ll also need a Skeleton and Texture for this mod as this is strictly a mesh.
*Directory – The location Skyrim is installed to on your PC. Your “root” Skyrim directory is where your Skyrim.exe file is located. see “Root”
.dds is a texture file.
DLL – Dynamic Link Library. Used often in mods. A DLL is a library that contains code and data that can be used by more than one program at the same time.
DyndoLOD – Dynamic Distant Objects Level of Detail: A program that goes through your installed mods and automatically creates a dynamic Level of Detail for the entirety of Skyrim. DyndoLOD basically stops the landscape pop-in you see in your game as your character travels through the games grids. DyndoLOD “just works” as Todd would say.
ENB – a lighting program that uses post process.
*ESP, *ESM, – not always acronyms; usually file types .esp, .esm, – (These are the basics if you want more info research them separately). The ESM file format stands for Elder Scrolls Master file. It has been in use since The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, & is used in conjunction with the ESP (Elder Scrolls Plugin). All ESPs require an ESM file in order to work. For example, Skyrim’s ESM file is labeled Skyrim.esm, & is required to run all mods for Skyrim. BSA is an acronym for Bethesda Softworks Archive, There are also .esl files that are light plugins & do not take up a slot in your load order’s 255 plugin limit.
*FOMOD – You will see this associated with some mod downloads. FOMOD is a mod-manager-specific archive format originally for the Fallout Mod Manager. The term “FOMOD Installer” has been adopted more recently by mod authors in Skyrim and Skyrim SE for their mods as an installation option for their mods that have various options during the install process (after download of course). These so called FOMOD installers in Skyrim are actually known as “Scripted Installers”.
FPS – Frames Per Second
HKX – is a compressed XML data file used in Havok Physics engine video games. Data used to simulate real-world physics.
INI – A configuration file composed of sections, settings, and values.
ITMs – are Identical To Master records, ie. data in a plugin for something that is identical to the data for that thing in the plugin’s master(s). Usually a type of unintended edit, known as a dirty edit, which can break the functionality of other mods that require the record in question to have a specific value, but which have that value overridden by an ITM record.
*Loot – Load Order Optimisation Tool. Does as the name implies, optimises your Load Order. So if someone should ask you if you sorted your load order with Loot you’ll know what they mean. Loot will also give you plug-in warning & usage notes while telling you which plugins need cleaning with SSEEDIT
note: Vortex utilizes Loot code (built in) to automatically sort your load order. This does not mean you won’t need Loot for detailed messages.
MCM – Mod Configuration Menu. Allows you to customize certain aspects of a mod in game.
.nif is a mesh file.
*Oldrim – (Also referred to as Legendary Edition) This is the way many in the modding community refer to the original 32bit version of Skyrim. For example you often will see text telling you to make sure you are not using the Oldrim version of a mod for SSE. This is because oldrim (Skyrim) is still very active in the community. This guide refers to the newer 64bit version, Skyrim Special Edition. Confused yet? Don’t be, it all becomes second nature in no time.
*PLUGIN ESL ESM and ESP are all plugins however ESL’s do not take up a load order slot. Most mods have a plugin and there is a 255 plugin limit for Skyrim however some mods like textures don’t have a plugin unless for example the textures are particular in where they are to be placed. Usually texture mods do not have a plugin however. For more on plugins & the 255 limit you can read Arthmoor’s information if you like. Plugin Files & You – [] 
*Root Folder – also called the root directory or sometimes just the root of any partition or folder is the “highest” directory in the hierarchy. You can also think of it in general as the start or beginning of a particular folder structure. It can be likened to the trunk of a tree, as the starting point where all branches originate from. For us it’s the “Skyrim Special Edition” folder found at SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Skyrim Special Edition
*SSE and *SKSE64 – I am grouping these 2 together because the terms look so much alike to many that are new to the Skyrim modding community that they can be confusing. You should get used to these 2 terms as you will see them early and often. The First term SSE refers to this game, Skyrim Special Edition and the second term SKSE64 refers to the Skyrim Script Extender for SSE. Worse yet, there are several Script Extenders for example Oldrim uses SKSE. You must ALWAYS use SKSE64 with Skyrim Special Edition (SSE). Do not use SKSE for SSE. Got it? (I knew you would :))
UDR – Undeleted & Disabled References. Deleted References can cause crashes, and this can be avoided by first undeleting & then disabling them instead. A type of dirty edit. Note that this acronym does not refer to the deleted references themselves – it actually refers to their fixed counterparts. For example, Scan For UDRs will scan for deleted references, not undeleted and disabled references, and LOOT will report the UDR count for a plugin, which is actually the number of deleted references that can be fixed.
*UNP – Dimonized UNPretended (Variations: UNPB (UNP Blessed) UUNP etc.) female Body type (mesh replacer) by dimon99. You also need a Skeleton mod & Texture mod for this mod.
*USSEP – Refers to the “Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch” : a mod that should be at the top of the list of most intelligent load orders. The USSEP is a mod that patches many of the problems that Bethesda did not address in the game originally. You’ll read more about this later.
(Note: never use USLEEP, the “Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch”, for SSE)
*xEdit or *SSEEdit (in our case) – This tool is used for many functions which include editing and cleaning mods, creating patches, and applying scripts to mods. xEdit is the generic term and is used for various Bethesda games that are based on the same game engine. xEdit then takes on the name of that game accordingly, F4Edit for Fallout 4, SSEEdit for Skyrim Special Edition, FNVEdit for Fallout New Vegas, etc.
There you have it, if any were left off the above list you’ll learn them soon enough or they will be added as needed in our ongoing update process.

Advanced Tools

The following tools are NOT “essential” to mod your game but may be important for future use


Creation Kit

Info – [] – [] 
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - Advanced Tools - 0771CC3
Creation Kit Downgrade Patcher – []  Downgrades the new Steam Creation Kit back to the way it was from Bethesda.Net – [Bethesda.Net]  so you can use the Creation Kit Fixes again.
More on the Creation Kit
SSE CreationKit Fixes – []  You’ll need after installing CK
And you’ll need to add this line to your new CreationKit.ini located in your SSE folder


Q: How to install the Creation Kit?

Download Bethesda Launcher for CK – [] 
Not a tool but if trying to convert Oldrim animations to SSE see this:
Guide to Animation.hkx conversion for Skyrim Special Edition – [] 

BSA Archive Browser & Extractor
BSA Browser (with .BA2 support) – [] 

Tool that optimizes your NIF files for the (actual) new SSE format

and fixes issues. Can also scan textures for compatibility.
SSE NIF Optimizer – [] 
Download (manual) main file. Extract the download and place the executable in your Modding Tools folder, this program is useful if you ever see an Oldrim (original Skyrim) mod that you’d like to convert for use in Skyrim Skyrim Special Edition. Main NifTools – [] 
Newer Nif Optimizer
Cathedral Assets Optimizer – []  An automation tool used to optimize BSAs, meshes, textures and animations. It helps quickly porting an Oldrim mod to Skyrim Special Edition, and can optimize assets for many Bethesda games.


Merging plugins requires experience – a LOT of it! If you are unsure of something – DON’T DO IT. And if you lack experience, then keep things small.”
Merge Plugins by Mator
MERGE PLUGINS – []  works for SSE
Not Required for casual users (you’ll know when you need it)
New version v06.6 – []  released 8/25/2021
Download zEdit – [] 
Wrye Bash
Wrye Bash v 309 full release is now out. It is actually a preperation for the full release of version 3.10 which will be based on a newer version of Python. – [] 
It is highly recommended you do the update because it preps and converts your settings for the imminent full release of V3.10
highly advisable to NOT use this version. this info is here for old users
*Advisory Regarding Using Wrye Bash To Make A Bashed Patch – [] 


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Basic Modding Tutorial - All Version 2022 - Links - 45B1026


SSE Steam Pinned Topics & Forums – [] 
SSE Nexus Help Forums – [] 
Steam SSE Discussion Forums – [] 
[SSE] Recommended fixes and adjustments – [] 
Bethesda SSE Forum – [] 
Reddit SSE – [] 
Old Farts’ Coffee House – [] 


Nexus Mods – Free Sign-up – []  *You never pay for mods here (unless you donate)
USSEP Download – [] 
SKSE64 Download – [] 
SSE Engine Fixes Download – [] 
PapyrusUtil SE – [] 
Add your own Personalized Music – Skyrim SE – []  Takes a little work so read mod page
Bethini – []  watch this video – []  by Dirty Weasel Media about Bethini and be sure to read the mod description & the instructions on Bethini’s mod page regarding this fantastic mod


AFK Mods – [] 
ENB Binary – [] 
Script Extender (SKSE64) – [] 
LH Mods – []  (make sure you download for SSE)
TES Alliance – []  SE & LE
Mod DB – [] 
Vector Plexus – []  Make sure you’re downloading SE or LE
[SSE] Where to find Nexus mod refugees? – [] 


How to update your computer Graphic Drivers – []  [pcgamer]
How to update your computer Audio Drivers – [] 
How to Verify the integrity of your game files on Steam – []  [steam support]
Microsoft Visual Studio 2015, 2017 and 2019 – [] 
Java – download – install – remove – troubleshoot – [] 
How to rollback your Skyrim – New steam update fix – [] 

ARCHIVING TOOLS (must have at least 1)

7zip Download (Get 64bit) – [] 
Winrar Download (Get 64bit) – [] 

MOD MANAGERS & Other Tools

Vortex Mod Manager Download – [] 
Vortex vs Nexus Mod Manager – []  [steam guide]
Mod Organizer 2 Download – [] 
Wrye Bash Download – [] 
SSEEDIT Download – [] 
Loot Download – [] 

Creation Kit

For information on the Creation Kit see the “Advanced Tools” section of this guide


Troubleshooting & Installing SKSE64 – [] 








How to Convert .esp’s to .esl’s – [] 
How to set up xEdit – [] 




Other Tutorials:
bchick3 Guide to Porting skyrim LE mods to SSE – [] 

SUGGESTED VIDEOS (my favorites)

When watching these video’s or any video linked to them if trying to get a mod
make sure it is a SSE mod and not an Oldrim mod
Gamer Poets Video’s – [] 
Gopher’s Video’s – [] 
Mod Skyrim with MO2 – Ai Cave – [] 
Dirty Weasel Media – [] 
Skyrim Walkthroughs – by ESO – [] 


Dynamic Distant Objects LOD – DynDOLOD SE BETA – [] 
SSELODGen – [] 
Indistinguishable Billboards for SSE – [] 

Deals on Games

IsThereAnyDeal – [] 


No Link Section would be complete without Wiki – [] 


Not Recommended
Why would you want to downgrade your game? Downgrading was a viable option back in November of 2021 when the Anniversary update first came out. Maybe even viable through February 2022 but as I type this it’s late June 2022 and the vast majority of mods that required updating have been updated by now. Matter of fact I’ve been modding 1.6.353 since December 2021.
So there really is no need to downgrade your game unless there is that one mod that you feel you absolutely can not live without. Sure it was necessary when the Anniversary upgrade first came out while we were all waiting for our favorite and must have mods to be updated, but that was then.
But if for whatever reason you are one of the last hold outs I do have a guide for SSE version 1.5.97 and as a matter of fact that guide has all the information you should need so you can jump over there now.
My Guide for 1.5.97 – [] 
Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Downgrade Patcher – [] 


Written by Vlad 254

I hope you enjoy the Guide we share about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition – Basic Modding Tutorial – All Version 2022; if you think we forget to add or we should add more information, please let us know via commenting below! See you soon!

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