LOOT - Load Order Optimisation Tool by wrinklyninja
Skyrim Special Edition » Utilities
Added: 06/11/2016 - 04:49PM
Updated: 11/06/2017 - 11:39AM

8,306 Endorsements

0.11.0 Latest version

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Uploaded by wrinklyninja


Last updated at 6:39, 11 Jun 2017 Uploaded at 11:49, 6 Nov 2016

Load Order Optimisation Tool


LOOT is a plugin load order optimiser for TES IV: Oblivion, TES V: Skyrim, TES V: Skyrim Special Edition, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4. It is designed to assist mod users in avoiding detrimental conflicts, by automatically calculating a load order that satisfies all plugin dependencies and maximises each plugin's impact on the user's game.

LOOT also provides some load order error checking, including checks for requirements, incompatibilities and cyclic dependencies. In addition, it provides a large number of plugin-specific usage notes, bug warnings and Bash Tag suggestions for Wrye Bash.

While LOOT is able to calculate correct load order positions for the vast majority of plugins using only their content, it cannot do so for all plugins. As such, LOOT provides a mechanism for supplying additional plugin metadata so that it may sort them correctly. An online masterlist is provided to supply metadata for many plugins that need it, while users can make their own metadata additions, which are saved in their userlist.

LOOT is intended to make using mods easier, and mod users should still possess a working knowledge of mod load ordering.

See Introduction To Load Orders for a general overview and LOOT’s Sorting Algorithm for an in-depth article on how LOOT operates.


LOOT's official version as well as all accompanying files can be downloaded from it's official website or from this Nexus page, though the Nexus will exclusively provide the "LOOT.Installer.exe" executable, which is per se everything you need. In case you prefer a preconfigured .7z archive over an installer executable, please head over to LOOT's official website.

Unofficial "snapshot builds" are a work in progress and generally used to <test> future versions of LOOT and <provide feedback> for wrinklyninja. They are made available on Bintray - however this Bintray link should only be used by experienced users who are willing to test LOOT for wrinklyninja. It bears repeating, snapshot builds should in general only be used to help create future builds of LOOT and there is no guarantee that they work correctly. Please keep that in mind.

Installation & Uninstallation

LOOT requires Windows 7 or later.

LOOT can be installed either using its automated installer or manually. If you are using the installer, just run it and follow the wizard steps. If installing manually, extract the downloaded archive to a location of your choice (use 7-Zip, WinRAR or WinZip to extract the .7z archive), then download and install the MSVC 2015 x86 redistributable if you don’t already have it installed.

If LOOT was installed using the installer, then use the uninstaller linked to in the Start Menu to uninstall LOOT (the executable is called "unins000.exe"). If LOOT was installed manually:

  1. Delete the files you extracted from the location you chose.
  2. Delete the LOOT folder in your local application data folder, which can be accessed by entering %LOCALAPPDATA% into Windows' File Explorer.


When LOOT is run, it will attempt to detect which of the supported games are installed. If a default game has been set, LOOT will run for it, otherwise it will run for the same game as it last ran for. If the relevant game cannot be detected, or if there is no record of the last game LOOT ran for, it will run for the first detected game.

LOOT can also be launched with the --game=<game folder name> command line parameter to set the game to run for. If the supplied game folder name is valid, the default and last game values are ignored. The default folder names are Oblivion, Skyrim, Skyrim Special Edition, Fallout 3, FalloutNV and Fallout 4.

If LOOT cannot detect any supported game installs, it will immediately open the Settings dialog. There you can edit LOOT's settings to provide a path to a supported game, after which you can select it from the game menu.

Once a game has been set, LOOT will scan its plugins and load the game's masterlist, if one is present. The plugins and any metadata they have are then listed in their current load order.

If LOOT detects that it is the first time you have run that version of LOOT, it will display a First-Time Tips dialog, which provides some information about the user interface that may not be immediately obvious.

The Main Interface

The Header Bar

The header bar provides access to LOOT's main features. Most of these features get disabled while the metadata editor is open, so if you're trying to use an option that is faded out, first close the editor.

Game Menu
LOOT's active game can be changed by clicking on it in the header bar, and selecting another game from the menu that is displayed. Games that have no install detected have their menu items disabled.

Masterlist Update & Sorting
The masterlist update process updates the active game's masterlist to the latest revision at the location given by the game's masterlist repository settings. If the latest revision contains errors, LOOT will roll back to the latest revision that works.

By default, sorting first updates the masterlist. LOOT then calculates a load order for your plugins, using their internal data and any metadata they may have. If a cyclic interaction is detected (eg. A depends on B depends on A), then sorting will fail.

Once LOOT has calculated a load order, the plugin cards are sorted into that order. The masterlist update and sorting buttons are replaced with APPLY and CANCEL buttons, which apply and discard the calculated load order respectively. Changing games is disabled until the calculated load order is applied or discarded.

LOOT is able to sort plugins ghosted by Wrye Bash, and can extract Bash Tags and version numbers from plugin descriptions. Provided that they have the Filter Bash Tag present in their description, LOOT can recognise filter patches and so avoid displaying unnecessary error messages for any of their masters that may be missing.

Any errors encountered during sorting or masterlist update will be displayed on the General Information card.

The search toolbar is displayed by clicking the search icon in the header bar, or using the Ctrl-F keyboard shortcut. It may be closed using the close button at the right of the toolbar.

Searching is performed as-you-type, or when the Enter key is pressed. All content visible on the front of plugin cards is searched, so the results may be affected by any filters you have active.

The plugin card list will be scrolled to the first card that contains a match. Matches may be scrolled between using the up and down chevron buttons, and the current match and the number of matches are displayed between them and the search input.

Main Menu
A few items in the main menu are not self-explanatory:

  • Redate Plugins is provided so that Skyrim modders may set the load order for the Creation Kit. It is only enabled for Skyrim, and changes the timestamps of the plugins in its Data folder to match their current load order. A side effect of changing the timestamps is that any Steam Workshop mods installed will be re-downloaded.
  • Copy Load Order copies the displayed list of plugins and the decimal and hexadecimal indices of active plugins.
  • Copy Content copies the data displayed in LOOT's cards as YAML-formatted text.
  • Refresh Content re-scans the installed plugins' headers and regenerates the content LOOT displays. This can be useful if you have made changes to your installed plugins while LOOT was open. Refreshing content will also discard any CRCs that were previously calculated, as they may have changed.

Plugin Cards & Sidebar Items

Each plugin is displayed on its own card, which displays all the information LOOT has for that plugin, and provides access to plugin-specific functionality, including its metadata editor. Each plugin also has an item in the sidebar's PLUGINS tab. The sidebar item contains the plugin's name and icons for plugins that load archives or have user metadata. It also displays the plugin's in-game load order index if the plugin is active. Clicking on a plugin's sidebar item will jump to its card, while double-clicking will jump to its card and open it in the metadata editor.

The plugin card's header holds the following information, some of which is only displayed if applicable:

  1. The "Active Plugin" icon.
  2. The plugin name.
  3. The plugin's version number, extracted from its description field.
  4. The plugin's CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Checksum), which can be used to uniquely identify it. CRCs are only displayed after they have been calculated during conflict filtering or sorting, except the CRC of the game’s main master file, which is never displayed.
  5. The "Master File" icon.
  6. The "Empty Plugin" icon.
  7. The "Loads Archive" icon.
  8. The "Verified clean" icon.
  9. The "Has User Metadata" icon.
  10. The plugin menu button, which provides access to metadata-related features for the plugin. These are explained in later sections.

Bash Tag suggestions and messages are displayed below the plugin card's header.

If LOOT suggests any Bash Tags to be added, they will be displayed in green text, while any Bash Tags to be removed will be displayed in red text. For completeness, the list of Bash Tags to add will include any Bash Tags that are already specified in the plugin's description field. Users generally don't need to do anything with this information, as if they're using Wrye Bash it will automatically apply LOOT's suggestions, and if they're not using Wrye Bash then this information doesn't apply.

LOOT's plugin messages are a valuable resource, acting as a means of providing users with information that they might otherwise not obtain. It is important for a stable, healthy game that you act on any messages that require action. If you think a message suggests an unnecessary action, report it to an official LOOT thread. If you encounter a message that is non-conditional, ie. it suggests an action but is still displayed on subsequent runs of LOOT after the action has been carried out, also report it to an official LOOT thread, so that it can be made conditional.


Clicking the FILTERS tab in the sidebar will replace the sidebar's plugin list with a list of filter toggles that can be applied to hide various combinations of plugins and other content. The available filter toggles are:

  • Hide version numbers: Hides the version numbers displayed in blue next to those plugins that provide them.
  • Hide CRCs: Hides the CRCs displayed in orange next to those plugins that provide them.
  • Hide Bash Tags: Hides all Bash Tag suggestions.
  • Hide notes: Hides all plugin messages that have the Note: prefix, or the equivalent text for the language selected in LOOT's settings.
  • Hide 'Do not clean' messages: Hides all messages that contain the text Do not clean, or the equivalent text for the language selected in LOOT's settings.
  • Hide all plugin messages: Hides all plugin messages.
  • Hide inactive plugins: Hides all plugins that are inactive.
  • Hide messageless plugins: Hides all plugins that have no visible messages.

The filter toggles have their states saved on quitting LOOT, and they are restored when LOOT is next launched. There are also two other filters:
  • A content filter. This hides any plugins that don't have the filter input value present in any of the text on their cards.
  • A conflict filter. This filters the plugin cards displayed so that only plugins which conflict with this plugin will be visible. If this plugin loads an archive, other plugins that load archives which may contain conflicting resources are also displayed. Sorting with the conflict filter active will first deactivate it.

Editing Plugin Metadata

LOOT uses metadata to supply plugins with messages and Bash Tag suggestions, and to help it sort plugins that it can't otherwise sort correctly. Users can add to their plugins' metadata through each plugin's metadata editor panel, and plugins with user metadata are indicated with a "Has User Metadata" icon.

The editor panel is accessed by clicking the "Edit Metadata" item in a plugin's menu, or by double-clicking a plugin name in the sidebar. Only one plugin's metadata can be edited at a time. While the editor panel is open, the plugin sidebar also displays any non-zero plugin priorities, to aid setting new priority values. The editor can be resized by grabbing the top of the editor's header and dragging it up or down.

The editor's header displays the name of the plugin being edited, "Save Metadata" and "Cancel" buttons, and a row of tabs. The Main tab's page contains the following inputs:
  • The “Enable Edits” toggle must be on for LOOT to use any user-added metadata, otherwise it will be ignored.
  • The "Global Priority" input sets the plugin’s global priority value, which is used to modify plugin position relative to all other plugins. Plugins with higher priority values load after plugins with lower priority values. Plugins have a default global priority of 0.
  • The “Priority Value” input sets the plugin’s local priority value, which is used to modify plugin position relative to other plugins that conflict, load archives or are empty. Plugins with higher priority values load after plugins with lower priority values. Plugins have a default local priority of 0.

The other tab pages contain metadata tables. New rows can be added, and existing user-added rows can be removed, though rows containing metadata from the masterlist cannot. The LOAD AFTER, REQUIREMENTS and INCOMPATIBILITIES tables can have rows added by dragging and dropping plugins from the sidebar into the table area.

"Insignificant Object Remover.esp" will load after "Guard Torch Remover.esp" (as an example).

For more information, please continue reading here.

Editing Settings

LOOT’s settings may be accessed through the main menu.

General Settings

  • Default Game: If set to something other than "Autodetect", this overrides game autodetection. If the game specified is not detected, LOOT falls back to autodetection.
  • Language: Controls the language LOOT uses. Any plugin messages that do not have translations in the selected language will be displayed in English, if available, or in their available language otherwise.
  • Enable Debug Logging: If enabled, writes debug output to %LOCALAPPDATA%\LOOT\LOOTDebugLog.txt. Debug logging can have a noticeable impact on performance, so it is off by default.
  • Update masterlist before sorting: If checked, LOOT will update its masterlist, should an update be available, before sorting plugins.

LOOT's game-specific settings can be customised in the games table. New game profiles can be added, making it easy to use LOOT across multiple copies of a game, including total conversion mods. LOOT ships with settings for the "Nehrim - At Fate's Edge" total conversion mod as an example. Game profiles can also be deleted, though the active game cannot have its profile deleted, and LOOT will recreate the profiles for the base games it supports (Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4) when it is next run.

The game settings are explained here.


LOOT’s user interface has CSS theming support. A dark theme is provided with LOOT: to use it, rename dark-theme.css in the resources/ui/css folder to theme.css. A working knowledge of CSS is required to create new themes, though the provided dark theme CSS file is commented to provide some assistance.

Contributing & Support

LOOT is very much a community project, and contributions from its users are very welcome, whether they be metadata, translations, code or anything else. The best way to contribute is to make changes yourself at GitHub! It's the fastest way to get changes you want applied, and you'll get your name automatically immortalised in our credits.

If you encounter an issue with LOOT, check the Frequently Asked Questions page in case a solution is available there. Otherwise, general discussion and support takes place in LOOT’s official forum thread, which is linked to on LOOT's homepage.

If you want to submit metadata, the easiest way to do so is to add the metadata to your own LOOT install, then use the Copy Metadata feature to easily get it in a form that you can then edit into a masterlist on GitHub or post in the official forum threads.

Information on dirty plugins is very welcome, but for such information to be useful we require at least the filename and the CRC of the dirty plugin. The CRC may be calculated using Wrye Bash or 7-Zip, with other sources being unverified as correct. In the case of 7-Zip, the “CRC checksum for data” is the one required. Any other information, such as the ITM record and deleted reference counts, is very welcome.


LOOT is developed on GitHub, and a full list of GitHub contributors may be found here.

LOOT's masterlists were largely converted from BOSS's masterlists, and so credit is due to the very large number of sources and people who have contributed to them.

In addition, the following are credited with application-related support:

  • Original icon: jonwd7
  • Translations:
    • Brazilian Portuguese: Kassane
    • Chinese: bluesky404
    • Danish: Freso
    • Finnish: 3ventic
    • French: Kaos
    • German: lpradel
    • Korean: SteamB23
    • Polish: Łukasz Niemczyk
    • Russian: Tokc.D.K.
    • Spanish: Sharlikran
    • Swedish: Mikael Hiort af Ornäs
  • Beta testing: Too many to list, thank you all!

LOOT is written in C/C++, HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, and uses the Boost, Jed, Jed Gettext Parser, libespm, libgit2, libloadorder, Marked, pseudosem, Polymer and yaml-cpp libraries, and the Chromium Embedded Framework. Copyright license information for all these may be found here.


LOOT is distributed under the GNU General Public License v3.0, aside from the documentation, which is distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License v1.3. The full texts of the licenses are included with LOOT in the accompanying GNU GPL v3.txt and GNU FDL v1.3.txt files.

While the GPL license allows anyone to make derivative works of LOOT, the LOOT Team encourages those thinking of doing so to first discuss their reasoning for such an endeavour with the Team. It may be that what the derivative work would do differently is already planned for a future version of LOOT or would be happily integrated into LOOT, thus avoiding any extra effort by others.

LOOT has been specifically designed to prevent it being locked into the LOOT Team's official masterlist repositories. Nevertheless, the LOOT Team appeals to the community to avoid the distribution of unofficial masterlists, as this would only hamper the effort to create one set of stores for load order information. Any issues with a masterlist are best brought to the attention of the LOOT Team so that they may be remedied.

Copyright (C) 2012-2017 WrinklyNinja