How to Install DLC on Steam

Easily manage downloadable content on the online game platform

If you ever play PC games, then you'll probably want to know how to install Downloadable Content (DLC) on Steam. Many games offer DLC as in-app purchases, but you can also purchase DLC directly from Steam, or you can use a product key purchased elsewhere.

Instructions in this article apply to the Steam desktop client for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

DLC on Steam

Downloadable content is extra content that players can download after purchasing a game. DLC can include additional levels, new features, and cosmetic extras like character outfits and skins. Steam collaborates with game developers to offer DLC in its online store.

Most DLC purchased from Steam installs automatically, but some games require DLC to be authorized through a third-party app. Other games require a verification code to activate DLC.

How to Download DLC on Steam

To purchase and install DLC directly from Steam:

  1. Launch the Steam client and select Library.

    Launch the Steam client and select Library.
  2. Select your game in the left column.

    Select your game in the left column.
  3. Select Store Page.

    Select Store Page.
  4. Scroll down and select the DLC you want under Content for this game.

    Scroll down and select the DLC you want under Content for this game.
  5. Complete your purchase, then select Install content on the receipt page.

    Complete your purchase, then select Install content on the recipient page.

How to Manage DLC on Steam

Now, when you select the game in your Library, you'll see a DLC section. Select Manage my DLC to enable or disable your extra content.

Select Manage my DLC to enable or disable your extra content.

Another way to manage your DLC in Steam is to right-click the game and select Properties. In the Properties menu, select the DLC tab to see all installed DLC for the game.

In the Properties menu, select the DLC tab to see all installed DLC for the game.

How to Install DLC on Steam With a Product Key

Steam keys can be purchased from various vendors and work like traditional product keys that come packaged with physical copies of games. If you purchase a game with DLC from a store, the key for the DLC may be printed on your recipient or on a special card included in the game's case. Sometimes when you buy content from Steam or other online retailers, the developer will send you an email with a product key.

Beware of websites that offer "free" product keys for Steam. Such sites often contain malware that can collect your private data.

To activate DLC on Steam with a key:

  1. Launch the Steam client and select Add a game in the bottom-left corner, then select Activate a Product on Steam in the pop-up window.

    Launch the Steam client and select Add a game in the bottom-left corner, then select Activate a Product on Steam in the pop-up window.
  2. Select Next, then accept the Steam subscriber agreement.

    Product activation menu in Steam
  3. Enter the key under Product Code and select Next to install the content.

    Enter the key under Product Code and select Next to install the content.

How to Troubleshoot DLC on Steam

If your Steam DLC is not installed right away, check your email to make sure there aren't additional steps required to activate the content, then try these steps in order:

  1. Check your downloads. Go to your Downloads page to see if the download is still in progress. If the download is stalled, or if the installation was successful yet the DLC is still not working, move on to the next step.

    Go to your Downloads page to see if the download is still in progress.
  2. Restart the Steam client. Select Steam > Exit in the top-left corner, then reopen the program.

    Select Steam > Exit in the top-left corner, then reopen the program.
  3. Reconnect to the Steam servers. Select your username in the top-right corner, then select Log out of account. The Steam client will close, and you must provide your password to log back in.

    Select your username in the top-right corner, then select Log out of account.
  4. Restart your computer. Restarting your system can often resolve software installation issues.

    Restart option on Windows 10
  5. Validate the game files. Open the Properties menu for the game and select the Local Files tab, then select Verify Integrity of Game Files. Steam will automatically repair any files that need it.

    Open the Properties menu for the game and select the Local Files tab, then select Verify Integrity of Game Files.
  6. Check the Community Hub. See if anyone else has reported similar issues on the game's Community page. If so, you'll likely find suggestions for how to fix the problem.

    See if anyone else has reported similar issues on the game's Community page.
  7. Wait a while. Sometimes the Steam servers get overwhelmed, so you just have to be patient. You can check the SteamStatus website to see what traffic is like in your region.

    You can check the SteamStatus website to see what traffic is like in your region.
  8. Report the issue to Steam. If your DLC still isn't working, visit Steam's customer support page. Sign into your account and select the content you're having problems with for further help.

    Steam Support page