Every dwarf is born with a unique personality that includes likes and dislikes.
 Possible Objects of Affection or Revulsion
Each dwarf prefers particular materials, objects, animals, and foods. These types may or may not be generally thought of as preferable, valuable or even useful. A given dwarf may display many, a few, or (theoretically) even none of these preferences.
Preferences generally include:
- a type of stone
- a type of metal
- a type of gem
- a type of wood
- a type of leather
- a type of glass
- a type of decoration material: a specific type of bone, horn, ivory, etc.
- a type of cloth
- a color
- a shape
- a weapon (inc. picks and bolts)
- a specific piece of armor
- a specific piece of clothing
- a type of finished goods or craft
- a type of furniture (inc. anvils)
- trap or siege weapon components
- one or more domestic animals, creatures or vermin (domestic animals seem to dominate)
- a type of crop
- a type of tree
- one or more favourite foods
- one or more favourite drinks
- detesting a type of vermin
This information can be brought up either by typingfrom the unit list, or by showing a dwarf and then typing for Prefs, to view profile, and to view thoughts and preferences.
- Logem Datanamid likes Felsite, brass, Red spinel, crystal glass, giant mole leather, beds, animal traps, horses for their strength and bronze colossuses for their height. When possible, she prefers to consume salmon, Dwarven wheat flour and Dwarven rum. She absolutely detests flies.
- She needs alcohol to get through the working day. She likes working outdoors and grumbles only mildly at inclement weather.
Note that it is guaranteed that each of your initial seven dwarfs "likes working outdoors and grumbles only mildly at inclement weather". Immigrants most likely will not have these preferences.
All dwarves "need alcohol to get through the working day" - that's part of being a dwarf.
Unlike other dwarves, the dungeon master's preferences are always the same.
 Effect on Skill Use (Crafting)
A dwarf with a preference for a material or an object will produce higher-quality results for a given skill when working with that raw material or making that object. This is especially important in cases where you're short of raw materials to train on, as even a dabbling dwarf with the right preferences can occasionally produce quality objects. The dwarf above is not only an ideal candidate to become a glassmaker, she has real potential as a carpenter or even trapper as well.
Note that the material preferences can affect more than one stage in the production chain. If you're fortunate enough to have a dwarf who likes pig tail cloth, or giant cave spider silk, it will improve both their weaving and clothes making with those materials. Double preferences (steel and axes, obsidian and short swords, or clear glass and windows, for instance) are especially useful since they will provide double the benefit.
 Effect on Thoughts and Behavior
Dwarves who prefer particular drinks or foods will seek them out instead of choosing whatever's closest or newest, and will get a more intense happiness boost from a given quality of food or drink. Dwarves without a preference for a drink will go for the newest brewed. The dwarf above will be especially grateful if you fish for salmon or include dwarven wheat flour in your prepared meals. The deciding factor is not the name of the meal but whether one or more of its ingredients is a favored one.
Dwarves will also try to acquire items they like; adopting pets, purchasing items from a shop, and in the case of nobles, demanding furniture in their rooms or mandating construction of items in their favourite stone/metal/gem.
 Effect on Artifacts and Demands
A dwarf's preferences have a strong impact on their artifact construction during a strange mood - if it is possible to create an item from the moody dwarf's preferences with the chosen material and workshop, it will be created. If the dwarf has preferences for multiple types of items, then one will be randomly selected. This is the only way a dwarf can produce an exotic weapon.
In a similar vein, nobles will only mandate or prohibit trade of items or materials from their preferences list, often resulting in trouble if you rely on trading those items or materials. Any noble that likes a material you cannot reliably obtain (e.g. rare gems such as red diamond) should probably be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.