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This is the current version of the Step SkyrimLE Guide. Don't forget to endorse Step on the Nexus if you like the guide. Please report any problems or confusing instructions on the latest Feedback & Bug Reports pinned forum topic.

Step SkyrimLE Guide[edit]

This is the official v3.0 release of the Step Skyrim Legendary Edition (SkyrimLE, SLE) guide. It'll now be considered a "retired" gaming guide, meaning we will not be releasing updates to it, beyond continued routine maintenance.

About STEP[edit]

A Foreword

Created by TheCompiler (Daniele Ferraro), STEP is a collaborative project with input from the modding community, technical volunteers, and project administrators. The goal is to provide tested and validated methods for establishing and maintaining an enhanced modded Skyrim. Thus, the Guide provides detailed, well-tested build instructions for a solid modded Skyrim that achieves an enhanced, vanilla experience. It's meant to be installed in its entirety and not piecemeal.

The STEP team collects information from the modding community through extensive mod testing, detailed reviews, feedback, and suggestions exchanged on the Step Community Forums. Posting rules apply, so be sure to read and follow them. Engage and enjoy a warm welcome and plenty of high-quality support from a large community of experienced members.

New to Modding?[edit]

We recommend that you ...

  • read through this Guide at least once before attempting installation.
  • follow all linked guides and read through them, as well.

There is a lot of information to absorb and learn in order to successfully build a modded game. We and the community, have brought together a lot of this information into guides as a free and hopefully convenient resource for all. New and experienced modders alike will find many answers within these guides and linked resources. This Guide is written in such a way that it expects users to know the basics of modding and related tools (e.g. mod managers, LOD optimizers, configuration utilities, etc.). However our support forums are always available for our users.

Nomenclature and Instructions[edit]

The following nomenclature is used throughout this guide and should be understood before proceeding.

  • 'tick' means 'check': Frequently, the word 'check' or 'checked' can mean 'ensure' in addition to "check mark", so 'check' is not used where it is synonymous with 'tick' to avoid any mistakes that can (and have) happened from this conflation.
  • Baseline: The recommended install option is shown within the Baseline column of the mod tables below.
  • Step Patches: Custom patches created for the respective Step Guides. Always use them!

Expand Instructions![edit]

Click the heading below to expand detailed instructions that are collapsed by default for readability:

Click Me, I'm a Spoiler!
I have more instructions for those that need them.

Expand mod table detailed instructions:
ModTable Expand.jpg

System Requirements[edit]

SkyrimLE should be run on a relatively modern Windows 10/11 64-bit desktop or laptop, gaming capable PC. While CPU specs and performance are important factors, they matter only to a point beyond which is diminishing return on investment. Smooth gameplay, LODGen-related tools, and ENBSeries post-processing are most limited by the GPU performance coupled to the resolution at which the game is run.

  • The minimum specs assume that the recommended 'baseline' mod options will be installed, which are biased towards 'performance' options when available.
  • The recommended specs assume a bias toward 'quality' and assume higher quality mod options will be installed when available.
  • CPU/GPU Marks should be within the ranges listed below. Refer to the links for examples.
Hardware Minimum Recommended
CPU CPU Mark Range 4,000 - 7,000 > 7,000
System RAM 8GB 16GB
GPU G3D Mark Range 8,000 - 10,000 > 10,000
Video RAM at least 4GBs 8GBs or higher
Game Drive HDD SSD
Resolution 1080p (HD) 1440p (QHD)

Time Commitment[edit]

Be aware it will take anywhere from several hours to a several days to complete this build from start to finish. This time will vary greatly depending on internet download speed and user experience. Following are cumulative time estimates on average:

3-6 hours : Steps 1 - 3 (modding-environment setup)
10-12 hours : Step 4 (mod download, installation)
4-6 hours : Steps 5 - 7 (LODGen, post-build configuration, and fine-tuning the build)

STEP 1[edit]

Game & Tool Installation

Follow the System Setup Guide![edit]

Those who have not completed the System Setup Guide should stop and do so now! This is a perquisite for completing any of the Step Game Guides as it will walk users through setting up their systems for modding, including installing common tools that are used by nearly all of the Step Game Guides.
Users deviating from our instructions and recommendations will need to reinterpret other instructions and recommendations in this Guide accordingly. Make sure to note any such deviations for later reference.

Start Out Clean![edit]

It is particularly important for new users begin with clean installations of both Steam and Skyrim in order to be successful with the setup of this Guide the first time through.
PLEASE READ EACH SECTION BELOW CAREFULLY, as no information included in this Guide is irrelevant!



This guide assumes that the reader is familiar with MO, so if that is not the case, please see the Mod Organizer Guide.

STEP 2[edit]

Tool Configuration

Mod Organizer 2 - Configuration[edit]


Step recommends using all applications as standalone programs, including Mod Organizer 2. The below instructions for added a SkyrimLE instance. If MO is ran as a Portable application, users will need to adjust the instructions as appropriate. If users already have an instance for SkyrimLE, users can skip this initialization:

Initialization Instructions

  1. Launch MO by running its executable (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/Mod Organizer/ModOrganizer.exe)
  2. Upon load, click the Instance Manager button on the tool (first button).
  3. Click [Create new instance] button.
  4. Select Skyrim Legendary Edition and click [Next].
    If it didn't find the game, users can manually browse to the game's location.
  5. Leave the default name or create a custom one. Step recommends using the default name or appending a custom name to the end. Click [Next].
  6. Now user have the option of changing the location of data stored. Step recommends the default location, unless space restraints prevent this. Click [Next].
  7. A confirmation window will display with the installation information. Click [Finish].
  8. MO is now ready to use.

Profile Setup[edit]

MO's profile feature allows the creation of multiple mod builds that rely on the same mod list and mod-level configurations (learn more about profiles). For the purpose of this guide, a single mod configuration is all that's needed. Begin by creating a profile:

Profile Setup Instructions

  1. Launch MO, choosing the SkyrimLE Instance.
  2. On the default profile, arrange the mods in the left pane in the following order:
    1. DLC: Dawnguard
    2. DLC: HearthFires
    3. DLC: Dragonborn
  3. Click the Configure Profiles button on the menu bar.
  4. Select the Default profile and click [Rename].
  5. Rename this profile to Vanilla Skyrim or something similar
  6. Ensure the Use profile-specific Game INI Files box is ticked and select [OK].
    • Users can also tick Use profile-specific Save Games, if desired.
  7. Ensure the renamed profile is still selected and click [Copy].
  8. Name the new profile Step SkyrimLE, or anything similar.
  9. Tick the same boxes from step 6, above.
  10. Close the window by clicking [Close].
    • Users will likely see a window saying some INI files were missing and will be copied. This is normal.
    • If an error is displayed about missing "modlist.txt" files, restart MO (or do a system reboot if one hasn't been done yet).
  11. Ensure that the Step SkyrimLE profile is the currently selected profile in the Profile drop-down menu.

Tool Setup[edit]

All tools installed in the System Setup Guide should already be configured in MO. Some tools will have been auto-detected and added; nevertheless, ensure the settings below are set correctly for all tools. xEdit is used in this example:

Tool Setup Steps

  1. For xEdit, it is useful to create a mod into which all xEdit ouput can be directed in order to keep it all together:
    1. Click MOlistoptions.png at the top of the left pane in MO, and select "Create empty mod".
    2. Type xEdit Output, and select [OK].
    3. Place this mod at the top of the mod list just below the vanilla game files.
  2. Click Gear MO.png at the top of the main Mod Organizer window.
  3. In the left pane of the executables config, click the [+] to add a new executable, and then [Add from file...].
  4. Browse to the SSEEdit.exe file (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/xEdit/SSEEdit.exe).
    • This should auto-fill most of the fields.
  5. Change the title to xEdit.
  6. Input the following in the Arguments field separated by a single space:
    • e.g. -IKnowWhatImDoing -SLE -AllowMasterFilesEdit
    • "-IKnowWhatImDoing": This turns off a warning presented when users make edits.
    • "-AllowMasterFilesEdit": By default xEdit will not allow master file editing. This enables that.
  7. Tick the Create files in mod instead of overwrite box. Select the xEdit Output mod from the drop-down.
  8. Tick the Use applications icon for desktop shortcuts box.
  9. Click [Apply].
  10. Repeat these steps to add the remaining executables as indicated in the table following.
    Arrange the tools in any order using the up and down buttons above the list. This will dictate the order that tools are listed in the MO "Run" dropdown menu. Close the window by clicking the [OK] button.



For tools previously installed, adjust the arguments below for use with SkyrimLE.
Application Title Executable Argument(s)
xEdit xEdit.exe -TES5 -IKnowWhatImDoing -AllowMasterFilesEdit
Tick the Create files in mod instead of overwrite box and select the xEdit Output mod from the drop-down.
xEditQuickAutoClean xEditQuickAutoClean.exe -TES5
Tick the Create files in mod instead of overwrite box and select the xEdit Output mod from the drop-down.
LOOT LOOT.exe --game="Skyrim"
xLODGen xLODGenx64.exe -lodgen -TES5 -o:"DriveLetter:\Modding\Tools\xLODGen\xLODGen_Output"
Replace DriveLetter: with the drive letter of the 'Modding' folder.

Tools can be arranged in any order using the up and down buttons above the list. This will dictate the order they are listed in the MO "Run" dropdown menu. When complete, close the window by clicking the [OK] button.

BethINI Setup[edit]

BethINI needs to be run for the current MO profile to establish the INIs before beginning the mod installations. To do this:

BethINI Initialization and Setup

  1. Close MO and run BethINI (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/BethINI/BethINI.exe).
  2. Select "Skyrim" from the game selection box.
  3. Allow BethINI to handle custom INIs, if prompted.
  4. Go to the Setup tab
    • Ensure the Game path is correct (e.g. ../Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim).
    • Ensure the Mod Organizer path is correct (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/Mod Organizer).
    • For the INI Path, select Mod Organizer - Step SkyrimLE from the drop-down menu. NOTE: This depends on the MO Profile Setup
      • If BethINI does not automatically find the profiles, browse to MO's /Profile folder.
      • For 'instance' users, the profile will be stored in the user's /AppData folder (e.g. %LOCALAPPDATA%/ModOrganizer/Step SkyrimLE/profiles/)
    • BethINI should restart whenever the INI path changes in order to associate the MO profile information.
  5. Return to the Setup tab.
    • The “Automatically Check for Updates”, “Auto-detect Invalid Settings”, and “Modify Custom INIs” boxes should be ticked.
    • If BethINI will be used for multiple games from a single installation, the “Always Select Game” box should be ticked.
  6. Select the Basic tab.
    • Ensure the Window Resolution matches the system resolution.
    • The recommended Antialiasing is "4x" for the initial setup.
    • The recommended Anisotropic Filtering is "16x".
    • The other recommended options to tick are:
      • Windowed Mode
      • Vsync
    • The [Medium] Preset is recommended as a baseline to avoid problems before initial testing when guide setup is complete (this can be changed at any time later).
    • Tick the box for Recommended Tweaks.
  7. Select the Detail tab.
    • Untick Reflect Sky and Reflect Objects (water reflections are not accurate with respect to the LOD of most custom builds)
  8. Return the the Basic tab, and click [Save and Exit].

Users now have a minimal setup for the game INIs for testing and running the game during the mod installations. Once all mods have been installed, BethINI will be run again to complete the INI setup.

Users should now relaunch Mod Organizer and ensure the Step SkyrimLE profile is selected to continue with the Guide.

STEP 3[edit]

Cleanup and Considerations


At any time during the mod installation process, LOOT should be used to sort plugin load order before running the game. This is necessary to ensure proper plugin priority (load order), which can have a dramatic impact on the game. Users not running the game during the mod installation step of the Guide can wait to sort after this step is complete. To sort with LOOT:

  1. Launch LOOT via Mod Organizer 2 from the executables drop-down menu at the top of the right pane.
    If LOOT fails to start, try adding the following argument as described in Tools Setup: --single-process

    If LOOT cannot find the game directory, add the path to ../Skyrim for Installed Path under LOOT settings.
  2. Click the [Sort Plugins] icon at the top of the LOOT window.
  3. Several plugins will show warnings. The next section describes how to clean them up.
  4. Click [Apply] button, which has replaced the Sort button at the top.
  5. Close LOOT.


When running LOOT before completing the STEP Guide, additional warnings may be indicated. These will all be fixed by the end of this guide.

Up to this point, users should only have the following plugins, in the order listed:

  1. Skyrim.esm
  2. Update.esm
  3. Dawnguard.esm
  4. HearthFires.esm
  5. Dragonborn.esm
  6. HighResTexturePack01.esp
  7. HighResTexturePack02.esp
  8. HighResTexturePack03.esp

If the plugins are not in the order listed, run LOOT now.

Cleaning Vanilla Master Files[edit]

To resolve potential issues later, the vanilla plugin masters should be cleaned with xEdit.

Standard Cleaning Procedures[edit]

Toggle cleaning procedures...

  1. Run xEditQuickAutoClean from the drop-down executable list in MO.
  2. On the plugin selection window, double-click on the mod being cleaned (e.g. Update.esm).
  3. Once xEdit is finished, click [X] at upper right to close. A backup of the original plugin will automatically be saved into (e.g., ../xEdit Output/TES5Edit Backups) inside of Overwrite at the bottom of the MO mod list (left) pane.

Clean the Masters[edit]

Vanilla masters should be cleaned in the following order:

  1. Update.esm
  2. Dawnguard.esm
  3. Hearthfires.esm
  4. Dragonborn.esm
  1. Follow the standard cleaning procedures to clean Update.esm.
  2. Once Update.esm is cleaned, next clean Dawnguard.esm using the standard cleaning procedures.
  3. Next, complete the manual cleaning below for Dawnguard.esm...
Toggle Dawnguard manual cleaning procedures...

  1. Run xEdit from MO.
  2. At the prompt, double-click on Dawnguard.esm.
  3. Once loaded, type in 00016BCF in the FormID field (above the mod list) and hit [Enter/Return].
  4. In the right pane, find the "XEZN - Encounter Zone" record.
  5. In the Dawnguard.esm column, right-click on the "RiftenRatwayZone [ECZN:0009FBB9]" entry and select [Remove].
    • If a prompt appears select Yes for each of these removals.
  6. In the FormID field again, type in 0001FA4C and hit [Enter/Return].
  7. On the Dawnguard.esm column, right-lick on the "Dawnguard.esm" header and select [Remove].
  8. In the FormID field again, type in 0006C3B6 and hit [Enter/Return].
  9. On the Dawnguard.esm column, right-lick on the "Dawnguard.esm" header and select [Remove].
  10. Now close xEdit.
  11. Ensure Dawnguard.esm is ticked in the pane, Backup plugins is ticked at the bottom of the prompted window and click [OK].

Once Dawnguard's manual cleaning is complete, follow the standard cleaning procedures to clean Hearthfires.esm, and then finally, Dragonborn.esm.

Moving the Cleaned Files[edit]

After the vanilla master files are cleaned, they should be moved into the "Cleaned Vanilla Masters" mod in MO, and the original files should be restored into the 'real' "Data" directory in the game folder. This makes Steam happy when "validating" files so that it remains unaware of changes. To move the new files and restore the original files, complete the following:

Toggle instructions

Cleaned Masters

  1. On the MO window, click the [Open list options...] button at the top of the left pane, next to the profile selection drop-down.
  2. Choose Create empty mod, name it Cleaned Vanilla Masters, and click [OK].
  3. Move this mod up the MO mod list to just after "DLC: Dragonborn".
  4. Enable the new mod listing.
  5. In MO, hold Ctrl and double-click on the now-empty Cleaned Vanilla Masters mod to open it in Windows Explorer.
  6. Click the [Show Open Folders menu...] button above the MO mod list (left) pane, and select Open Game Folder to open the game folder in Windows Explorer (e.g. ../Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim/, and open ../Data.
  7. Move the four cleaned master files from ../Data into ../Cleaned Vanilla Masters.

Original Masters

  1. In MO, scroll to the end of the mod list (left) pane, and hold Ctrl + double click on Overwrite to open in Explorer.
  2. Inside the "TES5Edit Backups" folder, rename the files to "MasterName.esm" (i.e. "Update.esm").
    • If there are multiple copies of any of the files, use the one with the earliest timestamp (the original).
  3. Click the [Show Open Folders menu...] button above the MO mod list (left) pane, and select Open Game Folder to open the game folder in Windows Explorer (e.g. ../Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim/
  4. Move or copy the renamed files into the 'real' game "Data" directory (../Data), choosing to overwrite/replace, if asked.
  5. All Explorer windows can be closed now.
  6. Right click on Overwrite, select [Clear Overwrite], and click [OK].


Any time Bethesda updates these master files, they will likely need to be cleaned again and replaced in MO. Any previously cleaned versions of these same files that exist in the MO mod list must be either disabled or deleted first, because xEdit will see only the cleaned versions otherwise.

At this point, the Bethesda masters should be cleaned and the mod list order should reflect:

  1. ...
  1. Dragonborn.esm
  2. Cleaned Vanilla Masters
  3. xEdit Output
To verify the vanilla mods have been cleaned, LOOT can be run again, and no warnings should be apparent.

Understanding the STEP Patches[edit]

A “conflict resolution” patch, or CR Patch, is a plugin that resolves conflicts between various active plugins. They allow using various mods together without any major issues while still achieving the desired outcome from the mods. Thus, the Step Patches are one part patch and one part mod.

The Step Patches are built specifically for the Step mod list. They are required and are dependent on specific mods as noted in the mod list. They will not resolve conflicts with any applicable mods that are not within the guide's mod list, though.

Step Patches[edit]

  1. Step Patch - Conflict Resolution
    • For those that would opt for their own custom lighting and weather mods
    • Patches all applicable mods except for Lighting & Weather mods
    • Required for all users!
  2. Step SkyrimLE - Lighting & Weather Patch (STEP LW Patch)
    • For those that are using Guide's lighting and weather mod from the Lighting & Weather mod group.
    • Patches only the applicable Lighting & Weather mods; the CR Patch is still required!

STEP 4[edit]

Step SkyrimLE Mod List

At this point, the PC modding environment should be fully set up and ready for mod installation.
IMPORTANT: Please read ALL of the following carefully!

  • This guide can be installed in one of FOUR ways:
    1. All mods from all ModGroups (mod tables) installed. This is recommended, due to the coordination of this build in terms of lighting & weather. These are usually the most difficult aspects of a build to get right, given vanilla's rather wonky lighting 'incoherence'.
    2. All mods from all ModGroups EXCEPT for the optional ModGroup, 18-Lighting & Weather. Use this approach if a custom lighting/weather solution will be applied.
  • After installing a mod, ALWAYS enable the mod and any related plugins in MO unless otherwise instructed.
  • If no Notes or Step recommendations are provided for a particular mod, download, install, and enable the mod. All options are valid.
  • Mods should be arranged in MO in the order that they are listed to ensure other mods further down the list overwrite/override those occurring before them.
  • Mods are listed in alphabetical order within each Mod Group and any deviations from this are purposeful to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Always install plugins (ESLs/ESMs/ESPs), unless otherwise noted. When there is a choice to use an ESL, always choose that UNLESS continuing a playthrough using a previously-existing savegame (ESL-flagged plugins can 'break' a save that relies on a ESP or ESM version of the same plugin!).
  • Always follow LOOT's advice in regards to mod cleaning and sorting unless otherwise noted.
  • Do NOT extract BSAs if support is expected.

ModGroup Separators[edit]

Mod Organizer features the ability to create separators within the mod list to group mods for easier visual reference. Step recommends using these separators for each ModGroup below:

Steps to Create MO Separators

  1. Click MOlistoptions.png at the top of the mod list pane.
  2. Select [Create Separator], and give the separator a name. Step recommends using the Mod Group names (i.e., Extensions, Resources, Lighting & Weather, etc.).
    • Create a new separator for each new Mod Group while working through the Guide.
    • Separator colors can be customized by right-clicking on any separator and selecting Select Color.

Mod Table Reference[edit]

Below is the legend and reference for the mod tables used in this Guide.

Mod Table Legend[edit]

Table Flags A red vertical bar indicates that the mod is required by Step Patch - Conflict Resolution.
A yellow bar indicates that the mod is required by Step Patch - Lighting & Weather.
A blue bar indicates the mod supports or otherwise relates to mods in the 21-Post-Processing ModGroup.
Mod Name Nexus mod name presented as a link to Nexus for download.
Wikilink.png Link to the mod's wiki page, which includes various information about the mod.
Baseline This notes the Step Baseline version or option of the corresponding mod that should be installed, and usually refers to options affecting performance/quality. General suggestions are located in the "Notes" column; see below.
Instructions Brief note specifying a recommended install option.
In some cases, mods will have several options. In such cases, click [Expand] to expand the mod row to reveal detailed instructions.

Quick Reference[edit]

Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Mod (patch/enb-independent)Wikilink.png Baseline Notes
Mod (patch/enb-dependent)Wikilink.png Baseline Notes


Mods that expand on the inherent functionality of a game or another mod without themselves affecting content
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
ENBoostLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
ENBoost is required! Due to Skyrim LE's 32-bit memory limit, ENBoost must be used by everyone.

The following instructions pertain only to ENBoost; the memory manager of ENBSeries. Do not install a full ENB Preset during the Step Guide setup! This can be done later, after the installation of the Guide is confirmed to be working.

  1. Download and install the DirectX 9 Runtimes.
    This is for good measure to prevent some commonly reported issues on the forums. Be sure to install it and not just extract it!
  2. Visit ENBSeries website to download the latest archive.
    Do not use the Skyrim Nexus version of ENBoost due to incorrect settings for Step Guides.
    • Click the link for the latest archive (usually the one on the top of the list)
  3. On the next page click the Down1.gif button to download the archive.
  4. Open the archive and go to the "WrapperVersion" folder, then extract only the following files into the root Skyrim directory (do NOT copy into the 'Data' directory!):
    • d3d9.dll
    • enbhost.exe
    • enblocal.ini

Alternatively, if the "WrapperVersion" does not function as advertised, try the "InjectorVersion". Remove any existing remnants of the Wrapper version, and extract only the enbhost.exe, ENBInjector.exe, enbinjector.ini, enblocal.ini, and enbseries.dll files from the "InjectorVersion" folder into ./skyrim/. Users must run ENBInjector.exe before running the game for the injector version to work properly.

Configure enblocal.ini

The following are important changes that are either required or highly recommended. Advanced users see the detailed INI configuration settings for more information:

[PROXY] EnableProxyLibrary=true InitProxyFunctions=false ProxyLibrary=d3dx9_42.dll [GLOBAL] UsePatchSpeedhackWithoutGraphics=true UseDefferedRendering=false [MEMORY] ExpandSystemMemoryX64=false ReservedMemorySizeMb=128 ; This value should be set to lowest possible value without experiencing stutter. Increase this value until stuttering is either gone or minimal. See advanced guide above for more information. VideoMemorySizeMb={integer in MB} ; Download and run Boris's tool: VRamSizeTest. Run VRamSizeDX9.exe. Windows users subtract 350 from the value provided and use that value. AutodetectVideoMemorySize=false [ENGINE] EnableVSync=true VSyncSkipNumFrames=0 ; Be sure the parameters in the [THREADS] section match what is below! These are for special case use only. You are 99% not likely one of those special cases! The section should remain as follows: [THREADS] DataSyncMode=0 PriorityMode=0 ; This may be a necessary performance enhancement for some users. If experiencing stuttering and the [MEMORY] section is verified to be set up properly, enabling or disabling these parameters could help resolve some stuttering. [WINDOW] ForceBorderless=true ForceBorderlessFullscreen=true

SKSELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the latest archive:
  1. Place all *.exe and *.dll files into <skyrim>/ (not the data directory!). Should be three files (i.e., skse_1_9_32.dll, skse_loader.exe, and skse_steam_loader.dll).
    • Click the Archive Archive MO.png button.
    • Browse to and select the downloaded skse archive.
    • In the manual installation prompt, right-click data and select [Set data directory]. It should say it Looks good, and not say No game data at top level.
    • Click OK
  2. Create the SKSE ini file OR download and install it from here.
    • Right-click the SKSE mod in Mod Organizer and select [Open in explorer].
    • Open the SKSE folder or create one if one does not exist.
    • In the SKSE folder, create skse.ini and paste inside it the following:

[Display] iTintTextureResolution=2048 [General] ClearInvalidRegistrations=1

The SKSE folder structure, including the skse.ini should look like the following:

Restart MO; if SKSE is installed correctly, MO will detect it and show in the executables drop down. Use the SKSE executable when launching Skyrim from MO from now on.

SKSE Plugin PreloaderLink to the mod's Wiki page. Extract the archive into the root Skyrim directory.


Mods solely providing assets intended specifically for use by other mods without themselves affecting content
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
FISSLink to the mod's Wiki page.
PapyrusUtil-Modders Scripting Utility FunctionsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim-Community-UncapperLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This mod is not packaged correctly. When installing this mod, right-click on the Data folder and choose [Set data directory]. Okay [OK] to install.

STEP recommends the defaul INI values. To customize Uncapper see this Guide: Skyrim Uncapper guide.

SkyUILink to the mod's Wiki page.


Baseline mods having many conflicting assets that should be overridden by other mods OR mods having programmatic changes that are widely accepted and adopted/expected by other mods
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Unofficial High Resolution PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Particle Patch for ENBLink to the mod's Wiki page. ALL-IN-ONE
Dynamic Distant Objects LODLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the DynDOLOD Resources Main File, selecting the following options:
  • Whiterun Exterior
  • Solitude Exterior
  • High Hrothgar Window Glow
  • DLC2 Vvardenfell 3D Plume
  • Desync Birds of Prey

As with all mods in this guide, this mod should be enabled in MO once it is installed. This mod in particular MUST be enabled for proper LOD generation later in this guide.

Static Mesh Improvement ModLink to the mod's Wiki page.   Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
  • Options
    • Main Installer Choice
      • ◉ Original Skyrim 2011: Custom
        • Next
  • Original Skyrim Custom Install
    • Barrels
      • ◉ Modified Vanilla Barrels
    • Bowl Ingredients
      • ☑ Improved Bowl Ingredients
    • Bridges
      • ◉ Bridges
    • Candelabras
      • ☑ Improved Candelabras
    • Carriage Seats and Fixes
      • ☑ Improved Carriages
    • Chains 3D - Misc
      • ☑ Chains 3D - Misc
    • Chains 3D - Pull Levers
      • ◉ Chains 3D - Pull Levers Small Rings (Recommended)
    • Chains 3D - Signs
      • ☑ Chains 3D - Signs
    • Chains 3D - Whiterun
      • ☑ Chains 3D - Whiterun
    • Chandeliers
      • ◉ Improved Chandeliers (Recommended)
    • Clothing Fixes
      • ☑ Clothing Fixes
    • Dawnguard Soulcairn Bone Piles
      • ◉ Bone Piles Yellow Bones (Recommended)
    • Draugr Corpses
      • ☑ Draugr Corpses
    • Dungeons Cliffs Snow Skirts
      • ◉ Snow Blending ESP (Recommended)
    • Dwemer Animated Lifts
      • ☑ Dwemer Animated Lifts
    • Dwemer Clutter
      • ☑ Dwemer Clutter
    • Farmhouse Woven Fence
      • ◉ Woven Fence Less Flicker (Recommended)
    • Food
      • ☑ Improved Food
    • Food - Tomato Style
      • ◉ Default Heirloom
    • Furniture Chests
      • ☑ Improved Furniture Chests
    • Furniture Common
      • ◉ Improved Furniture SMIM Textures (Recommended)
    • Furniture Noble
      • ☑ Improved Furniture Noble
    • Hanging Rings
      • ☑ Hanging Rings
    • Hawk
      • ☑ Hawk Improvements
    • Hearthfires Stuff
      • ☑ Hearthfires Stuff
    • Human Skull Fixes
      • ☑ Human Skull Fixes
    • Imperial Jail
      • ◉ Improved Imperial Jail (Recommended)
    • Jewelry Rings
      • ◉ Jewelry Rings CCO Remade or Jewelcraft
    • Lanterns
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Nordic Tables and Benches
      • ☑ Nordic Tables and Benches
    • Orc Longhouse
      • ☑ Orc Longhouse
    • Poor Coffin
      • ☑ Poor Coffin
    • Rabbit
      • ☑ Improved Rabbit
    • Rocks - Blackreach
      • ☑ Rocks - Blackreach
    • Rocks - Generic
      • ☑ Rocks - Generic
    • Rocks - Mountains
      • ☑ Rocks - Mountains
    • Ropes 3D - Dungeons
      • ◉ Dungeons 3D Ropes
    • Ropes 3D - Farmhouse
      • ◉ Farmhouse 3D Ropes No Fade (Recommended)
    • Ropes 3D - Raven Rock Docks
      • ☑ Raven Rock Docks 3D Ropes
    • Ropes 3D - Riften
      • ◉ Riften 3D Ropes Default Ropes Style (Recommended)
    • Ropes 3D - Solitude Docks
      • ☑ Solitude Docks 3D Ropes
    • Ropes 3D - Stockade
      • ☑ Stockade 3D Ropes
    • Ruins Sarcophagus
      • ☑ Ruins Sarcophagus
    • Shack Roofs
      • ☑ Improved Shack Roofs with Dragonborn
    • Skeletal Remains 3D
      • ☑ Skeletal Remains 3D
    • Smelters
      • ☑ Smelters
    • Solitude Gate Doors
      • ☑ Solitude Gate Doors
    • Tankards
      • ◉ Dark Brushed Metal Tankards
    • Tree - Juniper Tree
      • ☑ Improved Juniper Tree
    • Tree - Tundra Tree
      • ☑ Improved Tundra Tree
    • Whiterun Castle Wood Carvings
      • ◉ Wood Carvings Improved Vanilla
    • Whiterun Doors
      • ☑ Whiterun Doors
    • Windmills
      • ◉ DynDOLOD/SkyMills Compatibility
    • Xtra Options - Half-Size Textures Addon
      • ◉ None (NOTE: Low VRAM graphic card users can use the half-size textures.)
    • Xtra Options - Ultra-Sized Textures Addon
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Skyrim Realistic OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
SRO contains files larger than the normal baseline for STEP

Please be aware that SRO contains files that are typically 2-4K in resolution. The typical baseline for STEP is 1-2K (or the vanilla/HRDLC sizes), therefore, SRO is often double the baseline in most cases. Users who experience slowdowns after installing SRO, may wish to consider reducing the texture sizes, but process is not covered in this Guide.

Download and install:

  1. Skyrim Realistic Overhaul Part 1
  2. Skyrim Realistic Overhaul Part 2
  3. Skyrim Realistic Overhaul Part 3
  4. SRO 1.8. original Skyrim version update
  5. Overwrite any files, if extracting and combining before installation.
  6. If installing the individual files directly to MO either:
    • Install the files separately and in the order listed above or,
    • Install to a single "mod" using the Merge option.
Majestic MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
STEP Recommends: Lightside

Lightside is the most vanilla-like replacement, however, it can appear too bright in-game when combined with certain post processors.

Download the Main File of preference and install:

FOMOD Instructions
Majestic Mountains Lightside
    • Required
      • ☑ Main files
    • Optionals
      • ☑ Moss Rocks
        • Next
    • Compatibility Patches
      • ☑ SMIM
        • Next
    • Final Notes
      • ☑ Load order and notes
        • Install

Download the Optional File that matches the chosen Mail File.
This file may be merged into the main file.

FOMOD Instructions
Majestic Mountains Lightside Lod Pack
  • Step 1
    • LOD Resolution
      • ◉ 512 (<2GB Vram)
        (NOTE: Users with extra VRAM to spare can install 1024 option.)
        • Install
RUSTIC CLOTHINGLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K-1K Download and install the RUSTIC CLOTHING - COMPLETE - 2K-1K file.

05-Animation and Physics[edit]

Mods that affect animations or physics

No mods defined.

06-Models and Textures[edit]

Mods that replace existing models or textures

No mods defined.

07-Sounds & Music[edit]

Mods that affect sounds or music

No mods defined.

08-Character Appearance[edit]

Mods that affect the appearance of the player character or NPCs
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
BeardsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Hvergelmir's Aesthetics - Beards
  • Choose Options
    • Choose full or vanilla replacer
      • ◉ Full
    • Choose resolution
      • ◉ Low: 1024
        • Install
BrowsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Standard Resolution Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Hvergelmir's Aesthetics - Brows
  • Choose Options
    • Choose full or vanilla replacer
      • ◉ Full install
    • Choose resolution
      • ◉ Low: 512
        • Install
Consistent Older PeopleLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Consistent Older People All NPCs USLEEP Main File.
Cover KhajiitsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Install both Main Files. Merge when asked.
FAR-Forgotten Argonian RootsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2k Detailed Instructions available
The instructions are broken up into segments for easier tracking:
  1. During installation, expand FAR-Forgotten Argonian Roots
  2. Expand Females→Default Body→MAIN texture
  3. Drag and drop the Textures folder onto < data > above
  4. Now fully expand the Textures folder that was just moved and leave it expanded.
  1. Expand Males→Better Males body→textures→actors→character
  2. Drag and drop the argonianmale folder onto character folder from the expanded Textures folder in step 4 above.
  3. Now expand the two argonianfemale and argonianmale folders from the expanded Textures folder in step 4 above.
    • Untick the boxes next to the *, *, and * within both the expanded folders.
  1. Expand no glow skin→Female→Textures→actors→character→argonianfemale
  2. Drag and drop the three files into the argonianfemale folder from the expanded Textures folder in step 4 above.
  1. Expand no glow skin→Male→Textures→actors→character→argonianmale
  2. Drag and drop the three files into the argonianmale folder from the expanded Textures folder in step 4 above.
  3. Untick FAR-Forgotten Argonian Roots and click [OK]
Female Vampires Have FangsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
More Realistic HairLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Natural EyesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 128k
Northborn ScarsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Simple Children LELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Install the Main File:
FOMOD Instructions
Simple Children
  • Vanilla or USLEEP
      • ◉ USLEEP
    • Required
      • ☑ Base Data
        • Next
  • Texture Choices
      • ◉ Clean Face and Hand Textures
        • Install

Merge the Simple Children LE - Updated Textures Optional File:

FOMOD Instructions
Simple Children
    • Base Textures
      • ☑ Base Textures
    • Texture Options
      • ◉ Clean Face and Body Textures
        • Install
Superior Lore-Friendly HairLink to the mod's Wiki page. Rough Hair 1K Use the "SLF Hair - Rough Hair - Lite 1K" main file.
Tempered Skins for MalesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This is a Not Safe For Work (NSFW) mod page and installer!

Step recommends: Tempered Skins for Males - Dressed Version
The instructions below are for the most vanilla-like options. Users are free to customize the options to according to their preferences.

FOMOD Instructions
Tempered Skins for Males - Dressed Version
  • A - Main Files
      • ◉ A1 - Vanilla underwear
        • Next
  • B - Body diffuse options
      • ◉ B6 - Dirty light haired
        • Next
  • C - Body normal options
      • ◉ C1 - Ripped
        • Next
  • D - Face diffuse options
      • ◉ D2 - Elder
        • Next
  • E - Face normal options
      • ◉ E2 - Harsh
        • Next
  • F - Facemarks, scars (not necessary)
      • ☐ Select None or Nothing for all
        • Next
  • Warning
    • Attention
      • ☑ I got it
        • Install

Hide the following files:

  • textures/actors/character/argonianmale (entire folder)
  • textures/actors/character/khajiitmale/
  • textures/actors/character/male/
  • textures/actors/character/male/
  • textures/armor/briarheart/
  • textures/armor/briarheart/
TK ChildrenLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
TK Children
  • Select Language
    • Language
      • ◉ English
        • Next
  • Patch
    • Features
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • Options
    • 01 SSS Glitch
      • ◉ No SSS
    • 02 Babette Eyes
      • ◉ Vampire Eyes
        • Install

Hide the following files/folders:

  • TKChildren.esm
  • TKChildren.esp
  • Textures/Actors
  • Meshes/Actors/character/facegendata
  • Meshes/Actors/character/TKChildren
Vanilla Makeup HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Install 2K Main File and 2K Update File.
Vanilla Warpaints AbsolutionLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Install the Main File:
FOMOD Instructions
Vanilla Warpaints Absolution
  • Main Files
    • Vanilla Replacers
      • ◉ 2K Vanilla Replacers
    • RaceMenu Plugins
      • ◉ 2K RaceMenu All-In-One
        • Next
  • Variant Textures
    • Vanilla Variants General Watercolor
      • ◉ None
    • Vanilla Variants Wood Elves Muddy
      • ◉ None
    • Vanilla Variants Dark Elf Ashy
      • ◉ None
    • Vanilla Variants Khajiit Stripes Furry
      • ◉ 2K Furry
    • Vanilla Variants Nord Splattered
      • ◉ None
    • Vanilla Variants Argonian Scaley
      • ◉ 2K Scaley
    • RaceMenu Variants General Watercolor
      • ◉ None
    • RaceMenu Variants Wood Elves Muddy
      • ◉ None
    • RaceMenu Variants Dark Elf Ashy
      • ◉ None
    • RaceMenu Variants Khajiit Stripes Furry
      • ◉ 2K Furry
    • RaceMenu Variants Nord Splattered
      • ◉ None
    • RaceMenu Variants Argonian Scaley
      • ◉ 2K Scaley
        • Next
  • Other Files
    • SKSE Tintmask Configs
      • ◉ None
        • Install
WSCO - Windsong Skyrim Character OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Install the WSCO Occidental Vanilla Body v1 Main File:
FOMOD Instructions
WSCO - Windsong Skyrim Character Overhaul
  • Choose the sex
    • Choose the sex
      • ◉ Female only
        • Next
  • Improved NPC's Appearance
    • Improved NPC's Appearance
      • ◉ No - Don't install the add-on
        • Next
  • Final Step
    • Final Step
      • ☑ Inform
        • Install

xEdit Cleaning Required
1 ITMs

After cleaning this mod, open it in xEdit:

  1. Expand the mod and expand Non-Player Character (Actor)
  2. Right-click on FormID 0009F83A dunBluePalaceMareMaiden
  3. Choose [Remove]
  4. Choose yes to any warnings to remove the record
  5. Close xEdit saving the plugin


Mods have a programmatic component that fixes various bugs and/or inconsistencies
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
1st Person Candlelight FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Bug FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Butterflies UnchainedLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Crash fixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Once installed, open the mod's INI and change UseOSAllocators=0 to UseOSAllocators=1. Save.
Enchantment Reload FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Eye Normal Map FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Fuz Ro D-ohLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
The Fuz Ro D'oh.ini file needs to be edited manually. To do this:
  1. While in Mod Organizer, right-click the Fuz Ro Doh mod on the left-hand side
  2. Select the menu option Open in explorer
  3. Within the new window, navigate into the SKSE/Plugins folder
  4. Right-click within the folder and select the menu option New > Text Document
  5. Name the file Fuz Ro D'oh.ini (make sure you are showing File Extensions - click here to see how)
  6. Open the new file and copy the below contents, pasting them into the file:
  7. Save and close the file
Hunters Not BanditsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Hunters Not Bandits for RDO Main File.
Modern Brawl Bug FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Project OptimizationLink to the mod's Wiki page. Full Version Install the "Skyrim Project Optimization - Full Version" Main File. Tick Data and click [OK] to install.
Unlimited BookshelvesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Waterbreathing Breathless EmergeLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Wiseman303s Critter FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Wiseman303's Critter Fixes
  • Introduction
    • Introduction
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Install
    • Options
      • ☑ Monarch Wing Fix
      • ☑ PondFish and Salmon Replacer (STEP Extended users only)
        • Install
Wiseman303s Flora FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the main file and the WM Flora Fixes SMIM Patch optional file.
Wiseman303s Trap FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install checking only the Traps Make Noise compatibility option.


Mods that affect general or multiple gameplay mechanics
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Clothing and Clutter FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the "Clothing and Clutter Fixes" main file.
Complete Alchemy and Cooking OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Complete Crafting Overhaul RemadeLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Main File and the CCO Compatibility Patch for WAFR Optional File.
GIST - Genuinely Intelligent Soul TrapLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Main File and GIST - Rustic Soul Gems patch Optional File.
Weapons and Armor FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Install the Main File:
FOMOD Instructions
Weapons and Armor Fixes Remade
  • Main File and DLC Selection
    • Main File and DLC Selection
      • ◉ Skyrim Legendary
    • Options
      • ◉ Customize Options
        • Next
  • Select Custom Options
    • True Weapons
      • ◉ True Orcish and Daedric Weapons
    • Dragon Priest Masks
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Faster Arrows
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Dark Brotherhood Mask Fix
      • ☑ Dark Brotherhood Mask Fix
    • Better Fitting Glass Helmet
      • ☑ Better Fitting Glass Helmet Meshes
        • Next
  • Texture Size
    • Choose Texture Size
      • ◉ 2K-1K
        • Next
  • Compatibility Patches
    • aMidianborn Skyforge Weapons
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Immersive Weapons
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Improved Closedfaced Helmets
      • ☑ Legendary
        • Next
  • Final Final
    • Final Step
      • ☑ Read Me File
        • Install

11-Gameplay-AI & Combat[edit]

Mods that affect AI, stats, or combat mechanics of NPCs

No mods defined.


Mods that affect currency, rewards, values, rates, or any other economy-related mechanics
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Trade and BarterLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Trade And Barter - Hearthfire Main File.


Mods that help to improve game immersion and role-playing scenarios
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Convenient HorsesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dead Body CollisionLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Disease DescriptionsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Select Vanilla, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn in the installer.
Go On AheadLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Guard Dialogue OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Do NOT clean with TES5Edit. ITMs/UDRs are intended by the author for the mod to work correctly.
Non-Essential ChildrenLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the Hearthfire version.
Point the WayLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Relationship Dialogue OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Main File. Skip all patches in installer.
Skyrim Coin Replacer ReduxLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the SCRR - Legendary Edition Main File and Septim HD Coinpiles Optional File.
SM Drop Lit TorchesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Torches and Shock Spells Ignite OilLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Traps Make NoiseLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Install the Traps Make Noise Main File.

Merger the Mining Makes Noise (for CCOR) Optional File.
Merge the Traps Make Noise - Follower Safety Patch and Wiseman303's Trap Fixes Update Misc Files.

Wet and ColdLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Detailed Instructions available
Install the Wet & Cold - Ashes optional.

Optional Installation: Higher quality fur coats can be installed by ticking the High Res Fur Coats optional. This will install 2K textures. This is completely optional. Otherwise, just leave it unticked for the 1K textures.


Mods that alter aspects of quests and/or related lore
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Alternate Start - Live Another LifeLink to the mod's Wiki page.
ESF - The Companions GuildLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the ESFCompanions REQUIREMENTS-ONLY VERSION main file.
Even Better Quest ObjectivesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Do not install any patches (untick them), they are included in the Step Patch - Conflict Resolutiones.
FOMOD Instructions
Even Better Quest Objectives
  • Options for this mod
    • Main
      • ☑ automatically selected
    • Optional Files
      • Select Nothing (untick everything)
    • Compatible Mods
      • Select Nothing (untick everything)
        • Install
Gildergreen RegrownLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Not So Fast - Mage GuildLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Not So Fast-Main QuestLink to the mod's Wiki page.
The Choice is YoursLink to the mod's Wiki page.
The Paarthurnax DilemmaLink to the mod's Wiki page. Note: The Nexus page for this mod has a spoiler for those that have not played the main quest yet.
Thieves Guild RequirementsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Timing is EverythingLink to the mod's Wiki page.

15-Gameplay-Skills & Perks[edit]

Mods that affect the player character's or NPC skills and perks or related leveling

No mods defined.


Mods that affect any aspect of the user interface
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Better Dialogue ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better MessageBox ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Font OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Immersive HUDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
KenMOD Time On Loading ScreenLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Lore-Based Loading ScreensLink to the mod's Wiki page.
MoreHUDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
MoreHUD Inventory EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page.
RaceMenuLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Smaller Vanilla CursorsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Installation is user preference.
Viewable Faction RanksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Viewable Faction Ranks Dawnguard and Dragonborn Main File.


Mods that programmatically add new or alter vanilla locations
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Bring Out Your DeadLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Cutting Room FloorLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Farmhouse ChimneysLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Farmhouse Chimneys
  • Core Options
    • Meshes
      • ◉ Thinner Meshes
    • Base Selection
      • ◉ Vanilla
        • Next
  • Extra Options
    • New Lands
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Villages
      • ☑ Helarchen Creek
    • Misc Mods
      • ☑ Live Another Life
      • ☑ Cutting Room Floor
        • Next
  • Arthmoor Villages
    • Arthmoor Village Expansions
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Hearthfire ExtendedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Hearthfire Extended - All DLCs (Legendary Edition) Main File.
Helarchen CreekLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Oblivion GatesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Install the Oblivion Gates v3 Skyrim and Dawnguard DLC Main File.

Move the Oblivion Gates v3 without Markers - Skyrim + Dawnguard DLC.esp to Optional ESPs in MO.

18-Lighting and Weather[edit]

This section is optional!
We wish to be clear that the mods included within this section are completely optional. They are still within the Mandate, however, we've made this section optional for users who wish to customize their own lighting and weather for their games. As such, we've included an additional patch solely for this mod group.
Mods that affect lighting and/or weather systems **installation is optional**

No mods defined.


Mods that generate derived mod output from load-order-specific assets
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
DynDOLODLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Ensure that both x86 and x64 versions of Visual Studio 2015, 2017 and 2019 are installed.
  2. Download the DynDOLOD Main File. The Resources file was installed previously, so ignore it.
  3. Extract the archive to the Tools folder (e.g. ..\Modding\Tools\DynDOLOD).
  4. Create a folder for the application output: ..\Modding\Tools\DynDOLOD\DynDOLOD_Output
Configure MO Executable

Configure as follows (If necessary, revisit the Tool Setup in the guide.):

Application Title Executable Argument(s)
TexnGen TexnGen64.exe -SLE
Fores New Idles in SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Install the FNIS Behavior Main File.

FNIS is run through Mod Organizer like most other tools. Add FNIS to the list of executables by doing the following:

  1. In the right pane, go to the Data tab.
  2. Locate the tools folder and expand it. Then expand the GenerateFNIS_for_Users folder.
  3. Right-click the GenerateFNISforUsers.exe file and select [Add as Executable]
  4. In the window that opens, type FNIS for the Title.
  5. Click [OK]

Now each time you want to run FNIS, simply select it from the drop-down menu at top right and click Run.

Example video

Generating DSR Files[edit]

Users will need to run the Dual Sheath Redux Patch for it to take effect ingame. To do so:

  1. First, run LOOT and sort the load order. Take care of any cleaning that needs to be done and return here when finished...
  2. ...welcome back! Ready to run DSR?
  3. Launch Dual Sheath Redux (DSR) Patch via Mod Organizer.
  4. Click [Patch] in the top right corner to generate the patch. After this is done, Dual Sheath Redux Patch will close automatically.

After closing the Dual Sheath Redux Patch, there will be files in Overwrite created by DSR.

  1. Right-click Overwrite
  2. Select Create Mod and name it DSR Output. Click OK.
    This will create a new mod listing in the left pane for the DSR patch generated files. Place it just above FNIS.
  3. Tick the listing to enable it.

Each subsequent time users rebuild their patch, they must open Overwrite and drag the new files back to this mod. Each time the load order changes, users should rerun the DSR Patch to remake the patch. Failure to do so may lead to a CTD upon startup.

Generating Animation Files[edit]

Once FNIS is installed, the animation files need to be generated for the skeleton changes.

  1. Sort the load order with LOOT, ignoring any plugin errors or warnings at this time.
  2. Run FNIS via Mod Organizer 2.
  3. In the Available Patches at the bottom of the window, tick the box adjacent to "SKELETON Arm Fix".
  4. Click the [Update FNIS Behavior] button and wait for a message to appear in the window stating "X animations for Y mods successfully included".
  5. Click [Exit].

After closing FNIS, there will be files in Overwrite (essentially a fake mod located at the bottom of the left pane if sorted by priority ascending):

  1. Right-click Overwrite and select Create Mod
  2. Name it Step SkyrimLE - FNIS Output and click OK.
    • This will create a new mod listing in the left pane for the FNIS generated files.
  3. Tick the new mod entry to enable it.


Mods that programmatically resolve load-order conflicts
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Step Patch - Conflict ResolutionLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Consistent Older People mod was recently hidden on the Nexus, and it is REQUIRED by the Step CR Patch. Click the forum link from the mod page to learn more.
Step Patch - Lighting and WeatherLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install this patch if the Lighting & Weather section was installed.

Sorting and cleaning the new load order[edit]

Before moving on, users should run LOOT, sort, and accept the default load order provided. Users should also take note of any plugins that LOOT reports as needing to be cleaned and perform the standard cleaning procedures on these mods. Keep in mind that LOOT tends to lag behind on the report information, therefore, it will not always be accurate. Users should ignore any reported missing compatibility patches. The STEP Patches take care of all the patching, thus eliminating the need for those additional plugins.

Users should be aware the new STEP Patches are designed to work with a default, LOOT-sorted order. This eliminates the need to set rules on the load order, thus, reducing user tasks and streamlines the Guide's installation. From this point on, users should:

  • Sort their load order using LOOT when adding, removing, updating mods that adds, removes, or replaces a plugin (ESM, ESP) from their load order.
  • Update LOOT (the program) any time it notifies their is an update available.
  • For good measure, ALWAYS sort your load order by running LOOT before running the game.


At this point, it's a good idea to launch a NEW GAME to verify that Skyrim loads without CTD (after sorting with LOOT). The game should successfully load into the Alternate Start character generation interface. If so, just Alt + Tab to close Skyrim. If the game crashes, there is a problem with load order, enabled mods, or any number of things missed in the above instructions. Please review mods installed and enabled as compared to this guide and ensure LOOT is run and plugins sorted.

STEP 5[edit]

Level of Detail (LOD)

Users should now have all the mods and patches installed and sorted. The next step is to generate custom LOD data for the modded setup. Thankfully, xLODGen and DynDOLOD makes generating the data fairly simple. Before moving on, create three empty mods to use for the output files in this section:

  1. Right-click on Overwrite in the mod list in MO and hover over All Mods (this can also be done from the menu at the top of the left pane in MO as described earlier).
  2. Select, Create empty mod.
  3. Name it (TEMP) Terrain - xLODGen (recall that this will only be used as a resource for xLODGen).
    • This places a new, empty mod at the bottom of the mod list. However if it's not, place it last in the mod list.
  4. Repeat these steps to create three other new mods named:Step SkyrimLE - xLODGen Output, Step SkyrimLE - TexGen Output, and Step SkyrimLE - DynDOLOD Output; or anything unique and descriptive to their source/function.
  5. Place these other new mods directly after (TEMP) Terrain - xLODGen.

The last few mods in the mod list should now reflect the following (numbering is approximate):

  1. DLC: Hearthfires
  1. ...
  2. (TEMP) Terrain - xLODGen
  3. xLODGen Output
  4. TexGen Output
  5. DynDOLOD Output


Complete the following in order, and ensure that all texture mods are enabled!


xLODGen is run first to generate updated LOD terrain textures and meshes so that landscape LOD is updated with mod changes:


Terrain LOD preparation

  1. Visit the STEP Forum and download TES5-Terrain-Tamriel.esm.
  2. Place the file in the (TEMP) Terrain - xLODGen folder in MO and enable (tick) the mod.
    • If the Overwrite folder isn't empty, it should be. Remove or delete all files/folders.
  3. Ensure the new plugin is active in the plugin list (ticked).
  4. Sort with LOOT.


Terrain LOD generation

  1. Run xLODGen from the MO executable drop-down list.
  2. Select all worldspaces.
  3. Ensure that ONLY the Terrain LOD box is ticked in the right pane.
  4. Use the following settings:
  5. Click [Generate] to run the process, which will require upwards of 30 minutes, depending on the PC.
  6. Once the "LOD generation complete" message has appeared, close xLODGen.

Wrap Up[edit]

Terrain LOD wrap up

  1. Navigate to the xLODGen output folder (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/xLODGen/xLODGen_Output).
  2. Back on MO, open the Step SkyrimLE - xLODGen Output mod in an Explorer window (Ctrl+double click).
  3. Cut and paste the files from the LOD generation to the Step SkyrimLE - xLODGen Output folder. Close both folders.
  4. Enable Step SkyrimLE - xLODGen Output mod.
  5. Disable (TEMP) Terrain - xLODGen mod (only needed as a xLODGen resources).


Users will now create object LODs using Dynamic Distant Objects LOD (DynDOLOD). DynDOLOD is one part mod and one part tool. Users should already have both parts installed from earlier in the Guide.

Run TexGen[edit]

TexGen, shipped with DynDOLOD, is a program that will generate custom object LOD textures based on enabled mods. This means distance object textures will better match their fully rendered counterparts. To run TexGen:

Instructions for TexGen

  1. Run TexGen from the MO executable drop-down list.
  2. Keep the default Output location. Step recommends:
    • LOD Texture Size = 512
    • Diffuse Alpha = BC3
    • Normal Specular = BC3
    • Diffuse = BC1
    • Normal = BC3
  3. Once the option has been chosen, click [Start].
  4. Once the completed message has appeared (5-30 minutes, depending on the PC), click [Exit].
  5. Navigate to the DynDOLOD TexGen_Output folder location (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD/TexGen_Output).
  6. Copy or cut the files from the TexGen_Output folder.
  7. In MO, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click on the SkyrimLE - TexGen Output mod created previously. This opens the mod's folder in an Explorer window.
  8. Paste the files into the mod's folder, and close the window.
  9. Enable the SkyrimLE - TexGen Output mod in MO.

Run DynDOLOD[edit]

DynDOLOD will now be run to generate the remainder of the LODs for the game. Users have the options of generating higher quality 3D Trees or generating the standard tree LOD. Following one of the two sets of instructions below, depending on the option desired.

Standard (2D) Tree LOD[edit]
Instructions for Standard Trees

  1. Run DynDOLOD from the MO executable drop-down list.
  2. Click [Advanced] once the main tool window is displayed.
  3. Select all worldspaces.
  4. Ensure the following are ticked:
    Generate static LOD
    Generate tree LOD
    Create texture atlas
    Generate DynDOLOD
  5. Set Max tile size equal to the texture size used for TexGen previously.
  6. Keep the default Output Path and click [Medium]. NOTE: Users with systems able to handle High settings, may do so.
  7. Click [OK], and get a cup of coffee. This takes ~20-40 minutes on SSDs.
  8. Once the completed message has appeared, click [Save & Exit].
3D Tree LOD[edit]

This Guide will result in Hybrid 3D Trees. Full 3D trees are possible, but are not recommend for gameplay; thus, not covered here. Hybrid 3D Trees are a performance friendly option for high quality tree LODs. It generates 3D branches with 2D trunks.

Instructions for 3D Trees

  1. Open the ./DynDOLOD folder (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD/).
  2. Open the DynDOLOD_TES5.ini file (e.g. ../DynDOLOD/Edit Scripts/DynDOLOD/DynDOLOD_TES5.ini)
  3. Set TreeLOD=0
  4. Run DynDOLOD from the MO executable drop-down list.
  5. Select all worldspaces.
  6. Ensure the following are ticked:
    Generate static LOD
    NOTE: "Generate tree LOD" will be greyed out as 'N/A' if TreeLOD=0 was set in DynDOLOD.ini as described above.
    Create texture atlas
    Generate DynDOLOD
  7. Set Max tile size equal to the texture size used for TexGen previously.
  8. Keep the default Output Path and click [High].
    NOTE: The High preset is the only preset that will generate 3D Trees! If High is too performance heavy, users can select another preset and manually edit the tree line in the mesh rules to match how it reads from the High preset.
  9. Click [OK], and get a cup of coffee.
  10. Once the completed message has appeared, click [Save & Exit].

Wrap Up[edit]

Instructions for DynDOLOD Wrap Up

  1. Navigate to the ./DynDOLOD folder location (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD).
  2. Copy or cut the files from the ./DynDOLOD_Output folder.
  3. In MO, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click on the SkyrimLE - DynDOLOD Output mod created above.
  4. Paste the files into the mod's folder and close the window.
  5. In MO, enable the mod.
  6. Ensure DynDOLOD.esp files is ticked in the right plugin pane.
  7. Sort with LOOT.


Users will now use xLODGen to update the occlusion data for the new mod list. Doing so will prevent holes in the distance landscape that is notoriously bad over water cells. To do this:

Instructions for occlusion generation

  1. Run xLODGen from the MO executable drop-down list.
  2. Select only the Tamriel and DLC2SolstheimWorld worldspaces.
  3. Ensure only the Occlusion box is ticked.
  4. Use the following settings:
    • Quality: 3
    • Height: 100
    • Radius: 100
    • Mode: -Flat +Borders
  5. Click [Generate] to run the process.
  6. Once the completed message has appeared, click the red X to close xLODGen.
    • Occlusion.esp is saved automatically and will be placed in the Overwrite folder in MO.
  7. Right-click on the Overwrite mod listing and select, [Create new mod].
  8. Name it Occlusion Output or anything unique.
  9. Ensure the new mod is active (ticked).
  10. Ensure the Occlusion.esp is the last plugin in the load order just after DyDOLOD.esp and that it is enabled, else run LOOT and sort plugins.

When to Regenerate LOD[edit]

Regenerate LOD any time mods affecting exterior objects are added, removed, or relocated in the mod list.

STEP 6[edit]

Mod Configuration (MCM)

Users should now be ready to load the game for the final steps, configuring mods in the MCM. The MCM is a feature of SkyUI that allows mod authors to provide custom settings for their mods, which users can set within the game. Below users will find recommendations for all the mods installed within this Guide.

First Launch[edit]

The MCM menu item may juxtapose the 'Exit' menu item, so be sure to scroll down to exit if it is 'missing'.

To run the game, select the SKSE Skyrim Launcher executable from the drop-down list and click the Run button. Users should keep the following in mind when first launching from a fresh Guide installation:

  • A new game is required! ... In other words, don't load from a save when first launching after a fresh Guide installation unless you know what can happen (which is beyond scope to support). NOTE: Users upgrading from a previous installation of the Guide should review the changelog of the update to determine whether or not a new game is recommended.
  • When launching the game for the first time after a Guide install, the load could take significantly longer than normal. This will only be a one-time wait as all the installed mods are being initialized. Subsequent load times should be shorter.
  • Finally, users may find INI files in their Overwrite folder after closing the game (e.g. ../SKSE/Plugins/SkyrimUncapper.ini). NOTE: These files should be moved to their respective mod folders, respecting their folder structure in the move.

Alternate Start[edit]

Users starting a new game will see Alternate Start - Live Another Life in action. Lets face it, Skyrim is old and the vanilla start quest is the last thing many want to play through. Alternate Start provides a variety of ways to start the game for these users. Once a new game is started, players are loaded into a locked cell. Simply talk to the statue in the room, choose a preference for starting the game (the vanilla start is provided as an option), and then sleep in the bed to start your new life. Users choosing an alternate start location can start the main quest line by simply visiting Helgen.

Mod Configuration Menu Settings[edit]

Convenient Horses[edit]

The following screenshots display the recommended settings for the mod's MCM:

Timing is Everything[edit]

Timing is Everything is set up in a way that integrates DLC content and balances the game's quests. Vampires and werewolves will show up early in the game because the are a part of the world. Dragonborn will not start until the news of your deeds have time to reach the island and you become something that must be dealt with. Attack chances are lowered from 100% so users will have less of a chance to predict an attack. Other things are active that make sense, such as not being able to do the Break of Dawn quest if you're a vampire, Thalmor won't attack until after they enter the questline, etc. The following screenshots display the recommended settings for the mod's MCM:

Lock Overhaul[edit]

This mod must be activated to work. Once enabled, the settings are user preference.

Trade & Barter[edit]

This mod must be started to work. Start the mod to activate it. Once enabled, the settings are user preference; however, Step recommends keeping the defaults and ticking Merchant Gold Fluctuates on the Merchants tab.

Wet & cold[edit]

The following screenshots display the recommended settings for the mod's MCM:

Vivid Weathers[edit]

Settings are user preference; however, Step recommends enabling customizations and changing Bloom to Medium. Users who prefer a darker interior experience may also wish to change Interior Brightness to Low.

Remaining Mod Configurations[edit]

The remaining mod configurations are recommended to be left at their defaults for the most enhanced, vanilla experience. However, users may adjust the settings for these mods to their preference.

STEP 7[edit]

Optional Customizations

(optional) BethINI Customization[edit]

Users are now ready to play their enhanced SkyrimLE, however, please consider reading the remainder of the Guide before taking an arrow to the knee.

The final consideration is customizing BethINI once the game is confirmed to be stable. Users who have no issues with performance and aren't knowledgeable with the settings are recommended to simply jump into the game and play! Other users who are familiar can feel to customize the settings to their personal preferences. Caution is advised against using the custom INI input feature. This feature will allow users to make custom INI edits, however, doing so without the knowledge of exactly what the customizations are doing can cause instability.

(optional) ENBSeries with the Step SkyrimLE Guide[edit]

Because the effects of ENB are so variable, depending on 1) use of lighting/weather mods, 2) a great many other options for various mods, and 3) PC hardware and software environments, the Guide doesn't include an ENB preset. Instructions and recommendations would result in a massive flurry of support 'issues'. To provide a bit of direction, keep in mind the ENB preset chosen must be compatible with Vivid Weathers.


Help build STEP

STEP can only get bigger and better with help from the community. It is very time consuming for the STEP team to ensure that the Guide is consistently maintained at the highest quality possible. We need people to help us identify mods that improve the vanilla game while adhering to our Mandate. We also need ongoing bug reports, reviews, and updates on mods that may cause problems or that stray from the Mandate.

In order to suggest a mod for inclusion, visit the Mods section of the Forums.

Call for Mod Testers[edit]

Community members interested in becoming Mod Testers, please contact TechAngel85 via PM on the forums. Once registered, Mod Testers will be given access to Staff forums that houses useful information. For more information about our mod testing process, read through the Mod Testing Guide to get a sense of what's involved.

Call for Forum Moderators[edit]

Regular community members interested in becoming moderators, please contact TechAngel85 via PM on the forums. Forum Moderators will be determined based upon level and quality of activity within our community.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the game!


Thank you all!

The Step Administrators would sincerely like to thank (from the bottoms of our fuzzy little hearts):

  • The authors of mods recommended within our Guides
  • The authors of mods who granted permission for their mods to be incorporated into the Step Patches
  • The core Community for feedback, suggestions and input
  • The Beta and Mod Testers for their good humor and rigorous analyses
  • The Nexus community
  • Bethesda Softworks for their games
  • Tannin for the gift that is Mod Organizer
  • All the developers that kept MO alive to create MO

Step Staff[edit]


  • TechAngel85
    • Lead Release Coordinator, Patch Coordinator, Lead Forum Administrator, Mod Author
  • z929669
    • Project Founder, Lead Site Developer, Lead Site Administrator

Step Admin[edit]

  • DoubleYou
  • Greg

Honorary Staff[edit]

Retired Founders, Administrators, and Staff:

  • Aiyen
  • Bealdwine
  • deathneko11
  • EisDrache
  • EssArrBee
  • Farlo
  • frihyland
  • GSDfan (still active: MO Support)
  • GrantSP
  • hishutup
  • Kelmych
  • MontyMM
  • Nebulous112
  • oqhansoloqo
  • phazer11
  • rootsrat
  • stoppingby4now
  • TheCompiler
  • torminater
  • Uhuru
  • WilliamImm
  • wolverine2710