|This article is about an older version of DF.|
A dwarf's labor preferences define the tasks/jobs that he or she is allowed to do, whether it is food hauling, mining, hunting, or any of dozens of other tasks. For instance, only a dwarf with the wood cutting labor enabled will cut down trees whenever trees are designated to be cut.
Note that a labor is not a "job", nor a "skill". A job is the actual task of doing something, and a skill is the experience that determines how fast a job gets done, and/or the quality of any finished product (specifics vary with skill/job), while a labor preference simply designates whether a dwarf is allowed do that sort of job or not. You can view a list of all current, queued, and suspended jobs on the obs menu. A list of what job each dwarf is currently performing is visible on the nits menu.
Once designated as a labor preference, a single skill can possibly be applied to many different jobs. For instance, a dwarf with the bone carving labor designated might carve a totem out of a skull, craft bone practice bolts for a crossbow, create bone armor, or carve bone crafts to trade. Each of these is a different possible job allowed by designating the associated labor, which in each of these cases is governed by the "bone carving" skill.
Note that many labor preferences, especially hauling, have no associated skill, do not generate experience, and do not improve with practice.
The mining, wood cutting, and hunting labors require the dwarf to either pick up and wield a pick, battle axe, or crossbow. For this reason, a dwarf cannot be assigned to any combination of mining, wood cutting, or hunting at the same time. Additionally, the assignment of these tools overrides any uniform assigned to a dwarf's squad, so military dwarves should never be assigned any of the aforementioned labors.
Jobs that are not labors: eating, drinking, sleeping, going on break, partying, cleaning themselves, pulling levers, and resting. A few things are listed as "No Job" but can be considered labors in a different sense: running scared, not having a path to anyplace useful, and being insane.
 Viewing labors
To change a dwarf's labor preferences, access the labor screen byiewing the dwarf, then select references and abor. Use and to move the cursor up and down to highlight different categories or skills to enable or disable.
Usingcan help you locate dwarves. Select a dwarf, hit for "zoom to creature" and you'll automatically be placed in view mode on that dwarf. Use - to get to the labor configuration menu.
A category is dark gray if there are no labors under it enabled, light gray if there are some jobs enabled, and white if all jobs are enabled. (These distinctions can sometimes be very hard to tell apart in the default color scheme.)
The Woodcutting, Mining and Hunting labors are mutually exclusive, since they each require the dwarf to equip a different tool.
Note that changes in labors will not always take effect immediately - if a labor is deselected on a dwarf, say Mining, who is performing the job, they will first finish mining the current tile and then stop mining.
 Labors and product quality
The experience a dwarf has with a certain labour will determine how well he goes about performing this labour. A higher experience will get the job done faster in all labours (which doesn't apply for labours in which no experience can be gained, like the nursing and hauling labours). However, only certain (typically crafting oriented) labours will produce products that have a quality tag. The table below lists in which labours the dwarf's experience will impact the quality of produced items and in which labours a higher experience will only be beneficial for the speed of production.
|Woodworker||yes||item, furniture, and designed building quality|
|Stoneworking||yes||item, furniture, and designed building quality|
|yes||engraving quality, speed only for smoothing and track carving|
|no||success rate tends to rise from increasing ambusher and marksdwarf skills|
|Healthcare (Doctoral)||yes|| success chance, accuracy (and speed) of treatment |
|yes||crop yield (stack size)|
|yes||success and plant yield (stack size)|
|yes||meal and ingredient quality|
|Fishing/Related||yes||fish stack size|
|yes||item, furniture, designed building quality|
|yes||craft, item, decoration, designed building quality|
|Jewelry||yes||gem craft quality|
|Crafts||yes||clothing, decoration, craft quality|
|yes||craft, decoration quality|
|yes||craft, item, furniture quality|
|yes||clothing, decoration quality|
|yes||craft, item, furniture quality|
|no||no experience gain Bug:4577|
|Engineering||yes||part, ammunition quality|
|yes||mechanism, furniture quality|
|Other Jobs||yes||building design quality|