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This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

The preferences of a diagnostician.

Preferences are materials, creatures, or objects described as being liked (and sometimes, detested) by someone in their "preferences" tab, accessible by clicking on a dwarf or other individuals in or near your fortress.

Possible objects of Affection or Revulsion[edit]

A given dwarf may display many, a few, or (theoretically) even none of these preferences.

Each unit's preferences consist of the following:

Food/Work/Benefits to productivity[edit]

Every dwarf will like at least one type of booze, and may like none to several food ingredients. Dwarves get happy thoughts from eating food and drinking booze they like; the meal's value can improve only those thoughts. There are 76 types of booze and hundreds, if not thousands, of types of food preferences. The difficulty in obtaining all types of booze or food means that it is practically impossible to satisfy the need to eat a good meal. Bug:10262 Note that it is possible to obtain all types of booze, especially if modding is used.

A dwarf's preferences (and disliked vermin) tend to feature in any artwork the dwarf makes, more often than subjects not listed in their profile. For example, a mason that likes cows for their haunting moos and absolutely detests bats, will make statues of both, presumably out of love for cows and horrified fascination for bats.

A dwarf working with a material they like - or creating items they like out of that material - will produce higher-quality goods. For example, a mechanic that likes olivine generally makes better olivine than granite mechanisms. This is most important during embark, when individual personality profiles and skills can be best matched up according to your specifications. For example, make the dwarf that likes beds your carpenter and the dwarf that likes gold your blacksmith. Urist McLikesbreastplates would be a good candidate for Armorsmith. This works less well later on with immigrants, as it is usually more advantageous to train up the great armorsmith than the novice armorsmith who likes steel.

The game is perfectly happy with giving a creature a bad thought from not eating a favored food, even when said creature doesn't actually like anything.

Value Considerations[edit]

Some types of preferences have an effect on how creatures perceive the value of a room and its furniture:

  • Preferences for stone or gem types will increase the value of floors and walls which have been smoothed and/or engraved
  • Preferences for materials or item types will increase the value of furniture
  • Furniture which has been decorated will receive further boosts from each decoration added
  • Furniture which was constructed by a creature of a different race will be more valuable to creatures who like that race
  • Furniture made from dyed cloth (e.g. bags) will be more valuable to creatures who like that dye's color
  • Furniture decorated with images of shapes will be more valuable to creatures who like that shape

For furniture, each preference match multiplies the entire item value - for example, if a dwarf likes the item's type (+1), the materials on two of its decorations (+2), and a shape inscribed on it (+1), the item's value to that dwarf will be multiplied by 5.


Nobles only give mandates and demands that accord with their preferences. For this reason, a good way to ameliorate the annoying effects of nobles is to nominate a baron who has no preferences for anything craftable. This baron won't issue any mandates or demands!