How to Install 'The Sims 3' Downloads

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"The Sims 3" life-simulation video game published by Electronic Arts is one of the best-selling PC games of all time. Most players use the game exactly as Electronic Arts intended, but some prefer adding custom content in the form of mods to the game. Custom content is sometimes referred to as Sims 3 downloads, and it comes in three file formats:

  • Packages
  • Sims3packs
  • .Sim

Before You Download

Before you download custom content, you should install any patches that are available for your game. Go to the Updates tab in the Game Launcher to patch the game.

Only download content from a reputable site, and confirm that you are downloading content that is compatible with your version of the game. When you download custom content, the files are likely to be archived or "zipped," and you need software to unarchive or unzip them. You likely have this unarchiving software already installed on your computer.

Important note: Files for "The Sims 2" are not compatible with "The Sims 3." You should only be using files made for "The Sims 3."

Installing Sims3packs

To install a .sims3pack download, just double-click the file and the game takes care of the rest. It takes longer than unzipping the downloads and moving the files around, but the good part is that the automatic install process ensures the files are in the right folders, and there is no chance they are placed in the wrong folders.

Installing .Sim Files

After you download and unzip the .sim file you want, move the file to your "SavedSims" folder and open the game. You may already have a SavedSims folder. Look here:

  • Windows Vista/7: C:\Users\(username)\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\
  • Windows XP: C:/Documents and Settings\(username)\My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims3\
  • Mac OS X: /Users/(username)/Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3/

If you don't have a folder called "SavedSims," you can just make one in the documents folder following the format above and put the files in there, but the folder name must be exact — SavedSims. 

Installing Package Files

The .package files have to be installed manually. Find your "The Sims 3" folder (or make one if you don't already have one) and create a new folder inside called "Mods." Your downloaded .package files go into the Mods folder. 

If it is necessary to create the folder use this path format: Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims3/Mods/Packages folder.