It’s difficult to explore the rabbit hole of Skyrim mods for long before you come across one that requires SKSE to unlock its full potential. Many Skyrim mods rely on SKSE’s added functionality to let them run their basic features as it unlocks a whole new world of mechanics for the game.
Skyrim script extender is a tool used to cross the limits of what would normally be possible for Skyrim and Skyrim Special Edition mods. These patches are built upon the new scripting features and therefore require you to have SKSE installed before you can use them.
SKSE and SKSE64 are easy to set up. This guide should teach you how to install Skyrim Script Extender for Skyrim LE & Skyrim SE (Depending on the version that you play) so you can use essential mods like SkyUI and RaceMenu.
Why You Need the Skyrim Script Extender
Skyrim script extender is a tool that is well integrated into many Skyrim mods.
While not every mod you can use needs it, SKSE is an important requirement for a lot of the more complex ones. Some of the most popular mods like SkyUI use the expanded scripting capabilities that this tool features to improve core aspects of the game.
In addition to being a pre-requisite for some mods, this script extender adds additional functionality to a few others. It lets you go a few steps further into customizing textures and the NPC’s AI. A mod that lets you use SKSE to enhance its features will mention so in the mod description page.
Popular Skyrim Mods that Use Skyrim Script Extender
Some of the best mods in Skyrim and Skyrim Special Edition use the script extender’s new capabilities to unlock features that other mods are rarely able to. These are a few of them.
With millions of downloads over both versions, SkyUI might be the most well-known mod that uses SKSE. It uses the newly available mechanics to give the old inventory UI a much-needed overhaul. It comes with great features such as customizable hotkey groups and categorized favorites-menus.
For the number of RPG choices that Skyrim gives you, its character creation menu in the base game can feel limiting. This mod fixes this by providing you with new customization features. It gives players the ability you use multiple body paints, new tattoos, and much more. It also makes changes to the character creation UI to make it feel much more functional.
Skyrim’s Combat system is incredibly versatile on the user’s end. However, the same can hardly be said about NPCs. Most combat interactions are easily predictable even on the hardest difficulties.
This mod gives NPCs new special attacks, a smarter AI with more combat actions, stronger spells, and a solid overall improvement.
If you’re new to modding, check out our how to start modding Skyrim guide.
How to Download and Install SKSE and SKSE 64
The process to download Skyrim Script Extender for both versions is fairly similar, with the exception of a few key differences that you need to look out for. The following steps will guide you through the process of installing SKSE and SKSE64.
Download Skyrim Script extender files
You can find the files for both versions on the SKSE website. Look for the one that matches the version of your game (Current classic build for Original Skyrim and Skyrim SE build for Skyrim special edition).
Download the file you need and save it at your desired location.
Unpack and copy the files to the game folder
Unzip the downloaded file. You will need an unzipping software like 7zip or Winzip to do so.
Open Steam and find Skyrim on it. Go to properties to find the local game files.
Now, this is where you will notice a difference in the procedure as the classic version needs a few additional steps. Use the method that applies to the version you use.
Copying SKSE files for Skyrim LE (Classic):
Open the folder you recently extracted and copy all the files (Not the folders) to folder you found through Steam.
Run the ‘Data’ folder from the unzipped file through your preferred mod manager.
Copying SKSE files for Skyrim Special Edition:
This is more simple. Copy the files and folders from the SKSE folder you just extracted to the local folder you found through steam.
Note for both versions:
Every time you update it to the latest version, do the same and overwrite the old ones. It’s important to keep this updated or mods won’t work unless you don’t update them either and just stay where you are in terms of runtime versions.
Running SKSE and SKSE64
From here on, make sure to use the SKSE launcher that you recently installed and copied to the game folder to launch Skyrim.
You can make a shortcut to it on your desktop so that you don’t forget to launch it this way.
In order to check if you have installed Skyrim Script Extender, press the Tilde (~) key and type ‘getskseversion’. It should give you the SKSE version, release ID, and runtime. If those details don’t appear, something probably went wrong along the way.
These steps should help you download and install the Skyrim Script Extender for your game. In case of any errors, you can recheck the steps of the guide. You can also find answers to more specific problems through older posts by the modding community on Nexus Mods and Reddit.
Was this guide helpful to you? Are there any tips that we missed out on? Let us know in the comment section below.