How to Change Your Appearance and Name in Skyrim

Updated on April 13, 2016

Want to Change your Character's Name and Appearance in Skyrim?

Important: You can only change your character's appearance and name if you have the PC version of Skyrim.

With all of the character customization options that you get with Skyrim, it's easy to go overboard and choose an appearance for your character that's exciting at first, but then quickly loses its appeal.

If you've already invested dozens of hours in your character, earned a ton of gold, and completed numerous quests, it's not surprising if you don't want to go back and do it all over again with a new character just to change the way you look. Fortunately, there is a way to change your character's name and appearance later in the game by using the console. Read on to learn how.

Note: You can also use this to change your sex if you want, just don't change your race! (See the notes later on.)

Before we begin, don't forget the number one rule of modding: Always make a new save before making any changes to your character's appearance or name, like you should for all console changes. This will allow you to revert to a working saved game if for some reason changing your character causes any problems.

To change your character's appearance:

  1. Open the console by pressing '~', which is located in the top left corner of standard North American keyboards.
  2. Type showracemenu in the console and hit Enter. This will pull up the character creation screen that you first came across when you initially created your character.
  3. Press the '~' again to close the console so that you can start making changes.
  4. You can change anything about your character's appearance, including the gender. Avoid changing the race, though, as it may mess up your stats. (More on this below.) When you are done, just select 'Done.'
  5. You will be prompted to re-enter your character's name and the game will resume.

To change your character's name:

  1. If you just want to change your character's name, you don't have to make any changes to your appearance, just select 'Done' and type your new name.

Here's my character before changing his appearance.
Here's my character before changing his appearance.
After opening the race menu, you'll notice my character is paler.
After opening the race menu, you'll notice my character is paler.
Here's my character after making the changes.
Here's my character after making the changes.
My character after saving my game, exiting, and reloading.
My character after saving my game, exiting, and reloading.

Warning: Changing Your Race Changes Your Stats

Messing around with the console sometimes results in unintended side-effects. Don't lose your head over it, though.
Messing around with the console sometimes results in unintended side-effects. Don't lose your head over it, though.

If you change your character's race, your stats will change as well. This is because each race in Skyrim has different strengths and weaknesses—these are reflected in the different starting levels in different skills. Therefore changing your race should, in theory, change your skill levels because your old racial modifiers will be removed and your new racial modifiers will be applied. However, this isn't the case. Instead, changing your race may result in the following:

  1. Mismatched experience and skill levels. Unfortunately, the game doesn't automatically allocate your previous experience with the same skills that you've built up while playing, so your new skill levels won't match the levels you had before. In fact, it seems to just sort of dump all of your experience into Destruction and Restoration (at least in all my attempts.)
  2. Rebalancing your stats and changing levels. Even worse, it affects more than your skill levels. Changing your race also leads to the effect of either rebalancing your Magicka, Health, and Stamina stats by setting them as all equal, or it'll set them all to 100. The changes to your skills may also result in your level changing as well.
  3. Losing particular racial powers. Changing your race may also cause you to lose the racial power you had when you started the game, but won't necessarily add the racial power for your new race.

All in all, changing your race using showracemenu is a bad idea.

Using SetRace and SetPlayerRace to Change Your Race

Can you change your race without using showracemenu? You can use the console commands setraceraceId or setplayerrace raceId (you need to change raceId to the ID of the race, like ImperialRace or KhajiitRace, etc.) to change your character's race. However this has the unfortunate side effect of causing the game to forget where your head texture is located: the next time you load the game, your head will be missing!

Therefore, there is no known way to permanently alter your character's race without causing a bug of some sort.

Changing Your Character's Size

Scale comparison: 0.5 1.0 and 2.0
Scale comparison: 0.5 1.0 and 2.0

The weight slider allows you to adjust your character's build, but it doesn't give you any control over the character's size. If you want to make your character taller or shorter, therefore, you have to use the console.

To change your character's size:

  1. Open the console '~' and type: player.setscale x.x (where x.x is the scale you would like your character to be set at—for example, setting your character's scale to 0.98 will make them a little smaller, and 1.02 will make them a little taller. The default is 1.0.)
  2. Type '~' again to close the console when you're done.
  3. You can check the current scale of your character by typing player.getscale (you don't need to provide a number.)

Note: Don't go crazy with these settings because it's very easy to blow your character way out of proportion. (Unless, of course, that's what you want to do.) Usually adjusting them by .2 or .3 is enough to get the effect you're looking for. If you make your character too small or too big, you may run into gameplay issues. (For example, I set one character to 0.5 and after a couple of minutes they started to run really slowly.)

As always, use console commands at your own risk.

Play as a Non-Player Character

In response to a number of requests, I've started uploading screenshots of the slider settings for various NPCs from Skyrim.

You can use these settings to make your character look like another character from the game (tweaking them however you like, of course) or, if you're a PC gamer, use the plugins or save files I've created to play as one of these characters 'out of the box.'

If you have any special requests, just shoot me an email or comment below.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Umknowm 

        7 months ago

        Does it work on Skyrim se

      • profile image

        Mh'eitaal 

        22 months ago

        I just wanted to add that as far as appearance goes, you can still change your characterif you play on consoles, but not your race or name. Just go to the Ragged Flagon and pay the creepy lady on the bench by the water 1,000 Septims. You can change your appearance as many times as you like that way, but if you are a vampire or werewolf she will not allow you to do it.

      • profile image

        secret 

        3 years ago

        xbox360 and ps3 u just go to riften near thieves guild and talk to the altmer lady

      • profile image

        Dadiocoleman 

        3 years ago

        For XBox 360:

        1. Copy profile and gamesave from 360 to flash drive

        2. On the PC extract the gamesave with Modio or Horizon

        3. Get your gamesave which should be a .exs

        4. Change the extension to a .ess

        5. Load the .ess file on Skyrim for PC

        6. Follow the tutorial

        7. Save the game

        8. Get the .ess file and change back to a .exs

        9. Inject to flash drive with Mod

      • profile image

        Nordlys 

        3 years ago

        I use the same character appearance I use in Saints row IV (to do this, I needed mods), so is unlikely i will grow sick of him. I will edit him more to make him match, or at least to make him closer to his saints row counterpart (I already succeeded for most part)

      • profile image

        Sea 

        4 years ago

        Had a wood elf character, I changed his height only by 1.075, and one of the shop owners in Skyrim referred to me as a nord...

      • profile image

        Dar'Purr 

        5 years ago

        This one is very pleased with your insights, friend. May your path lead you to warm sands.

      • profile image

        mayang 

        6 years ago

        wow, this is very helpful! now I don't have to start all the training again just to change my character hair. thank you so much for sharing this

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        6 years ago from Waterloo, On

        @JV: Did you remember to exit the console before trying to make your changes? You need to open the console with ~, type showracemenu, then close the console with ~. Then you can start editing your character. If you click on anything with the console open you'll get the form id for the object which is a string of hexadecimal characters.

      • profile image

        JV 

        6 years ago

        When I did it and tried to change my name, it showed some weird code(like ,1000140 or something) and wouldn't let me back out.

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        6 years ago from Waterloo, On

        @nat: I agree. It would be easy to do and make a lot of players happy. Seems like a no-brainer. Thanks for reading.

      • profile image

        nat 

        6 years ago

        They really do need to add a change character appearance option into the game.

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        6 years ago from Waterloo, On

        @bob: If you change your race, it will mess up your Health/Magicka/Stamina and sometimes your perks and skills. I recommend you NOT change your race. You can always create a new save, change your race using that save to see what happens, and if it's completely borked, you can just delete the save. Make sure you write down all of your stats first, though.

        It is possible to fix all of your settings after changing your race by using the console if you're really dead set on it. You need to learn how to add/remove perks, change stats, etc., which is too much to cover here. Go to the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages (UESP) for information about changing all of this stuff. Check under Skyrim Console. You can also find all of the editor ids you need there.

      • profile image

        bob 

        6 years ago

        so i can not chang my race

      • profile image

        skyrim 

        6 years ago

        It really rox

      • profile image

        Reid 

        6 years ago

        @Justin D on my ps3 it only shows the last 4 times I've saved so how do i change my character, I'm so far into the game i don't want to start over. I'm just wondering how to change my character?

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        6 years ago from Waterloo, On

        @Kensaimage: Thanks for the exhaustive testing and detailed analysis! I'm sure there are a lot of X360 users out there who will be happy to take advantage of this. :)

      • profile image

        Kensaimage 

        6 years ago

        I should have clarified, but this glitch was tested and replicated succesfully on the Xbox 360, current with Skyrim's latest patch as of 02/08/12

      • profile image

        Kensaimage 

        6 years ago

        Alright, I can do Justin D's glitch with a 100% success rate. I actually ran into it by myself by accident, and it took me quite awhile to replicate the bug. Justin is on the right track, but he's missing a few crucial steps. This is what MUST be done, and I tested it for days.

        1. Preset has to be the same, as Justin said

        2. Weight has to be the same, as Justin said

        3. Sex, race, and preset, as Justin said

        Now for what Justin DIDN'T say

        4. All facial "types" must match the base model. For example, you have the second nose selected for the character you want to edit. To re-edit him, you HAVE to select the SAME nose type or the glitch will not work.This goes for colors, too, and hair and facial hair styles. Make EVERYTHING match, but do NOT worry about the proportion sliders. Like the nose example, it has to be the same "type", but you can shape it however you want with the proportion sliders.

        5. Eye color MUST be the same

        6. Scars must match. If they are present. I tested this and I found that ADDING a scar will cause the glitch to fail, but adding warpaint CAN be done. I do not know why.

        7. Even the minute details MUST match. Even mouth type, but colors as well. This includes lip color, eyeliner, and any eye shadow, etc

        And bam, those are the missing keys to the puzzle. Obviously, due to everything needing to macth, the glitch isn't too terrible useful except to maybe give your guy minor tweaks. Say you made his eyes up a bit to high, you can lower them, or trim down his nose or adjust his jawline, etc. You cannot give him a haircut or add scars, but you CAN add warpaint.

        Final detail: The game uses your original base model for any modification. Transforming into a werewolf and back will reset your face to what it was when you first made him, and becoming a vampire will do the same.

        Conclusion: You can tweak the face, but ultimately, only gonna be useful for the really nit picky or for those who wanna try out new warpaint. WHIIIICHHHH in and of itself is actually kinda cool. I did not test if removing the warpaint is possible. The change is permanent, and can only be undone by becoming a vamp/werewolf, OR loading your previous save on a separate memory unit (flash drive), then loading your your other save again after will change him back if you screwed up. Keep in mind the change will affect ALL of your saves with that character, even if the image on the save doesn't reflect the changes. So don't freak out, it's still easily reversible, and if you don't have a flashdrive, vampirism is easily cured and can be contracted endlessly. And yeah, the guy that does the ritual is immortal and can't die, and if your a werewolf, transform ONCE and back again and your golden. Enjoy

      • profile image

        Michael 

        6 years ago

        An excellent article - thanks so much!

      • profile image

        superfly 

        6 years ago

        HA HA!¡! loose your head! that's funny and cool!

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        6 years ago from Waterloo, On

        That's studded armor. There are pictures of the different types on the bottom of this page:

        http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Armor

      • profile image

        Shammy 

        6 years ago

        What type of Hide Armour is that?

      • profile image

        Jj 

        6 years ago

        Justin, On Xbox if we do what you said with the glitch can we then load back to where we were currently playing with our new appearance or would we have to start completely over?

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        6 years ago from Waterloo, On

        @Eranofu: :)

        @Rokkyu: No. But if you use it to just change your name you may find that your color settings have changed. Whenever you open the showracemenu your skin colors revert to defaults and have to be reset.

        @noname: I think the reason why your skill levels change has to do with the fact that each race receives different starting bonuses, so the engine tries to recalculate them. My hunch is that when you change your race it runs this code but at the wrong time so it's not doing it properly. It doesn't touch your perks because no one starts with perks so it doesn't have to recalculate anything.

      • profile image

        noname 

        6 years ago

        Interestingly enough your perks remain after changing your race with showracemenu. Fortunately i can now increase once more my levels sky high with blacksmithing (which in my case was reset). Archery is way too high though. Anyway it seems interesting (thank god i had already made the damn dragon armor).

      • profile image

        Rokkyu 

        6 years ago

        Nice job, no need to mess with save files

      • Eranofu profile image

        Eranofu 

        6 years ago from Europe

        Haha, don't lose your head over it. xD Still laughing... Heeehhhh...

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        7 years ago from Waterloo, On

        @GUest: Changing presets hasn't affected my characters, but it's a good idea for each person to test this for themselves. Changing race will always cause stats to change.

      • profile image

        GUest 

        7 years ago

        The trick to using Showracemenu bug free is not to switch to a diff race or to a preset, if you leave these untouched you should be able to still chance scars, hair, skin tone, etc.TIP- If you see your avatar arms cross, you've changed something and reset the majority of your stats to LVL 1 ranks; and must restart your save.

      • profile image

        therandomguy 

        7 years ago

        Justin I have tried following your steps but it doesn't seem to work. Can you perhaps make a video, or post a more detailed description of how you got it to work? I think it would be really helpful for all the Xbox 360 owners who have Skyrim. Thanks!

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        7 years ago from Waterloo, On

        Great tip, Justin D. Thanks for sharing!

      • profile image

        Justin D 

        7 years ago

        I play on Xbox 360 and have found a glitch which allows you to change your appearance on any character. What you must do is:

        1. make a save with the character you want changed

        2. load the first save of the game where you are still the nord prisoner (before you customize your character)

        3. choose the same race, sex, preset, and weight as the character you want to change

        4. once you have done that, you may change the face however you want, DO NOT name your character

        5. load the save you made in step 1.

        Presto! Your character will look like the one you were just making. I've done this twice now in a row and it worked perfectly each time as long as you start with the same preset and weight. May work on PS3, but I don't have one so I cannot confirm.

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        7 years ago from Waterloo, On

        @dane anderson: Skyrim doesn't give you an option after character creation like Oblivion did at the exit to the tutorial dungeon and there doesn't appear to be any way to do it in-game, so short of them releasing it as a feature in a DLC I think you're out of luck.

        I think they should include at least one way to change your appearance in every game. They did this to a limited extent in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas but with the number of people who want to change it it should just be a standard feature.

      • profile image

        dane anderson 

        7 years ago

        i play on xbox 360, is there anyway to change it on there? cause i hit "b" on accdent and canceled all of it and i didn't think it was a big deal at the time cause i thought i could change it, but so far i don't think you can:( so do you think there is a way? or they might come out with it in the furture?

      • j-u-i-c-e profile imageAUTHOR

        j-u-i-c-e 

        7 years ago from Waterloo, On

        Great tip, okita. Thanks for the suggestion!

      • profile image

        okita 

        7 years ago

        my advice is to write down all your skill levels, shouts learned, etc. even your health, magicka and stamina levels... save that for later. Now look online for the way to alter those stats which is "player.setav (skill) (number value of skill desired)" Write all of these in one text(txt) file, one on each line. It'll be kind of long because you need a line for every skill, your health/magicka/stamina bars and your shouts. I think that's all the stats it will mess up. Once you've saved this as a filename you'll remember (in .txt format) save it in your Skyrim directory in My Computer. Right inside the skyrim folder. Load up the game, go to the character that has the now messed up stats from changing race... type in the console command "bat (name of file)" and enter. It will run through all the commands you entered in the text file and bring your character back to what it was before you altered its race. Now, if you ever want to alter your character again, you just load that file up, update it to what you are now before changing... make your changes, then run that file again. Best workaround I came up with.

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