This thing is driving me nuts on the PC version of Skyrim:

  • Open any menu such as LOAD/SAVE by hitting Escape, talk to a NPC, or just check your inventory.
  • Use the WASD keys to navigate because it's faster and hey, my left hand is already there most of the time!
  • Mouse cursor happens to be hovering somewhere and decides that another item should be activated when I press E.
  • Curse Talos, the Dragons, and all that lives in Tamriel.
  • Realize that your day wasn't bad enough yet, so try to hide the mouse cursor on the side of the screen and find out that it makes the camera rotate away from whaveter you're looking at.

This could be related to my play style as I do like to use the mouse on a few occasions.

Even if I put the mouse cursor in a "dead" location it'll always end up somewhere else when I enter a menu because you HAVE to use the mouse to dismiss various modal dialogs that can not be activated with the keyboard.

I've already posted on Bethesda blog once to suggest that they stop the mouse from highlighting anything until you actually move the mouse or click. And also perhaps add keyboard shortcuts to the modal dialogs.

Has someone found a way around this? An INI file setting perhaps that would remove the mouse cursor entirely except for modal dialogs? A mod that would address this?

EDIT: Bolded the question for the person who voted this as not really a question. Sorry if I'm a little too verbose. If user interface/modding questions are frown upon, please let me know.

  • 3
    You can (usually) answer modal dialogs by pressing y or n for yes or no. Dec 16, 2011 at 14:41
  • @StrixVaria: Yep, but, sadly, many of the popups contain options other than just yes/no and I have yet to find any of them which respond to keyboard input. Dec 16, 2011 at 15:15
  • 1
    I was swearing at the game the other night for doing this repeatedly - I asked someone the same question 3 times in a row because of it. Great game, abysmal interface.
    – Alex
    Dec 16, 2011 at 16:42
  • I believe this is a new problem introduced with the interface fixes in either Patch 1.2 or 1.3. It will probably get un-broke in a future patch.
    – agf
    Dec 16, 2011 at 17:04
  • 1
    Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. There was a change made in the 1.2 patch that made this much worse. For example, in the misc quests lists, if you scroll with W and S, you can scroll the selection out of the visible area -- before, it would scroll the area too. You can also make it so the selected item and highlighted item is two different items in the inventory list -- I don't believe that could happen before.
    – agf
    Dec 16, 2011 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


Try the mods, Better Dialogue Controls and Better MessageBox Controls.

Better Dialogue Controls description:

In A Nutshell

Have you ever pressed the E (activate) key in a dialogue and it selected something else than you expected? Then you may find this mod useful. Think of it as a patch for the controls of the dialogue interface.

This mod will be most useful for people who like to use both the keyboard and mouse, it fixes issues where the mouse just flat out prevents some keyboard controls from working as expected. If you exclusively use the mouse to scroll and click through dialogues you may not have run into some of these issues. Likewise if you do not move the mouse at all after entering a dialogue. If you move the mouse pointer after entering a dialogue, then you will run into the issues below:

  • A fairly common occurrence is when you leave the mouse pointer somewhere over the menu and you want to use the keyboard controls. If you like to switch to the keyboard navigation now and then, you will run into issues where the mouse pointer just flat out prevents you from scrolling to the top or bottom of the list with the keyboard controls.
  • Another common occurrence is that as you enter the dialogue, you think the first item, next to the pointy bit, is the selected item. However when you press E, you find that the 2nd or 3rd item has been selected. This happens because the mouse pointer takes the focus away from the default option. Often times, I had to move the mouse pointer out of the way when entering the dialogues because of this.


  • The mouse focus now highlights items, but does not make them active. Thus the active item is always at the center of the list (next to the arrow/pointy bit). When you enter a dialogue, the mouse pointer never takes the focus away from the default option.
  • The keyboard controls lets you scroll all the way to the first or last item, no matter if the mouse pointer is hanging over the menu.
  • Scrolling the list with the mousewheel, or up/down controls always maintains the center item as the active one.
  • You can still click off center dialogue items with the mouse, the mouse just won’t affect the menu until you click.
  • The mousewheel scrolling has a smoother transition. It happens because I changed the mousewheel scrolling to work exactly as if you pressed the up/down controls. I didn’t plan to change the mouse wheel scrolling appearance, but I thought it was nice so left it in.

From: http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/27371/

Better MessageBox Controls description:

In A Nutshell

This mod lets you navigate the message boxes with the keyboard. Use Left/Right controls, and Activate to select options (typically A,D and E but it should work if you remapped those controls to other keys). Fixes the clickable area of buttons so they are easier to click.

Detailed Changes

These are the changes made to the vanilla (original) Skyrim message boxes:

  • Enabled the gamepad style controls, which lets you navigate between options with the Left/Right keys (usually WASD), and select an option with the Activate key (usually E) and Return/Enter keys. Now you can dismiss simple “Ok” message boxes by pressing a single key instead of being forced to click a tiny text label.
  • The TAB key cycles through "Exit" type buttons, where the label matches exactly "Return", "Exit", "Done", "Cancel", "Back" or "No". This helps navigate custom menus from mods that have lots of options. While SkyUI3/MCM will alleviate this, there are still many instances where mods will continue to use message boxes (or mods that won’t update to use MCM).
  • With SKSE enabled pressing ESCAPE picks the first “exit” button and selects it. Thus you can quickly exit out of most dialogs that provide an “exit” button. The recognized “exit” buttons are exactly as for the TAB key (see above). You can quickly exit out of Yes/No dialogs, and mod options. In multi level mod options usually the ESCAPE key will take you to the parent set of options, because it picks “Return”, “Back” or “Cancel”, etc. WITHOUT SKSE the ESCAPE key behaves exactly as the TAB key (I’m sorry but it was not possible otherwise to distinguish the keys as crazy as it sounds!).
  • Fixed the width of the clickable area for the buttons to properly adapt to the entire length of the button label.
  • Extended the clickable area also below the button labels, instead of only above. This makes them easier to pick with the mouse.
  • Added a subtle highlight to the focused button.

From: http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/28170/

  • 3
    Thank you, I made both of these mods :) I forgot about this question. May 7, 2013 at 6:47
  • 1
    @faB That was awkward. Didn't know you were also an Arqade user. =) Thanks for making those mods! They remove a lot of the annoyances with the Skyrim UI on the PC. May 7, 2013 at 6:59

UPDATE2: Getting closer to a solution... The Skyrim UI appears to be entirely made in Flash. Whoah. There are .swf files in the Interface/ folder (extracted from the BSA files). No one put out a mod yet to address this though, so the next step is to open the SWF files in Flash and find the mouse highlight code/selection code.

UPDATE1: I looked into the complete 41KB heavy SkyrimPrefs.ini file that you get after using the saveini command. Unfortunately there are very few settings related to the UI, it seems. Most are angles for lights, cameras or speed settings such as the speed to switch between X and Y. Very few mouse settings as well. None at all that I could find were related to the mouse cursor, or menu selection. As a programmer I wouldn't have expected to find them there either but you never know...

Pretty sure this won't be solved through the INI file unless there are more hidden settings that saveini doesn't show.

Still hoping that someone has come accross a mod that addresses this problem or make it less troublesome (seeing as there are already some advanced UI mods like QD Inventory).

  • For the record, earlier today I was thinking to myself, "I wonder if the UI was made with Scaleform, it's got all these common flash bugs that I used to have to work around."
    – GmNoob
    Dec 20, 2011 at 19:30
  • It is. Sample code can be seen in the skyrim ui project. Dec 23, 2011 at 17:55

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