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In Oblivion I remember being able to cast spells while wielding a bow. Very useful for healing spells and night eyes. In Skyrim though either I'm missing something, or do I have to equip a single handed weapon first before I can cast?

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No, when you wield a bow it occupies both hands so you cannot equip a spell at the same time.

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That really puts a damper on my plans for a magic wielding, sniper, thief. –  NA Slacker Nov 13 '11 at 14:06
    
that kinda makes me mad cuz thats what i always did...i kept a charmelon spell while sneaking around with a bow... –  TAKEPANTSOFF Nov 13 '11 at 15:48
    
I use the time the arrow flies to switch to magic... sneak, aim, release-arrow-and-TAB, switch weapon(s), magic! By the time the arrow hits the enemy, you'll have conjured your ally and will be wielding your offensive spell from behind your ally. Works well if the spell can't hurt the ally (eg fire with fire atronarch). –  Konerak Nov 14 '11 at 8:05
    
I'm playing on the PS3 and fast switching between different weapons seems horribly slow. –  NA Slacker Nov 14 '11 at 22:14

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