How to Remove the Compass and Crosshair in Skyrim
The compass and crosshair are the only two elements of the HUD (heads-up display) that are visible in Skyrim all of the time. While they can be very useful tools, for many serious role-players who like to give themselves a bit of a challenge, they are a source of distraction and annoyance.
This mini-tutorial will show you how to disable the crosshair and compass to improve your immersion, or simply to take better screenshots.
Removing the Crosshair
Skyrim allows you to remove the crosshair by changing a setting in-game, which is very convenient.
To remove the crosshair, just open the System menu by pressing Esc (on default settings), then go to Settings, Display and scroll down to the Crosshair option. To enable or disable the crosshair, just select it.
The Sneak Crosshair Icon
Note that this only removes the regular crosshair, the small four-pointing arrow that you see when you walk around normally. The sneak icon, which looks like a line-drawing of an eye that opens and closes as enemies become more or less aware of you, is not affected by this change.
The sneak crosshair is special because it is animated and interacts with the game instead of being a more or less static fixture of the HUD. I don't know how to disable it yet, but I will update this hub as soon as I do.
Only On the PC Version
You can only edit the SkryimPrefs.ini file if you are playing the PC version of Skryim.
Removing the Compass Using the SkyrimPrefs.ini File
To disable the compass, you need to edit the SkyrimPrefs.ini file as the game does not have a setting to disable it in-game. The SkyrimPrefs.ini is located in your game folder, not your Skyrim executable folder. Typically, this is Documents/My Games/Skyrim/.
After making a backup (always, always, always keep a backup!), open the SkyrimPrefs.ini and look (or search) for this section:
You want to change the last setting, bShowCompass to 0, like so:
This will disable the compass so you will no longer be able to use it. If you want to restore the compass, just change bShowCompass back to 1 and resave.
(You can also enable and disable subtitles here. They are off by default in Skyrim.)
Removing the Crosshair Using the SkyrimPrefs.ini File
Incidentally, you can also disable the crosshair in the SkyrimPrefs.ini file by changing the bCrosshairEnabled setting from 1 to 0. Here is the default:
And here's what your .ini file should look like after the change:
Note that you will still be able to re-enable the crosshair in game.
These HUD elements can be enabled and disabled independently, so, if you like the crosshair but don't like the compass, you can just disable the compass and leave the crosshair.
It's hard to see in this picture, so I've circled it in red.