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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 jobs menu. A list of what job each dwarf is currently performing is visible on the units 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[edit]


You may have noticed that the UI for managing dwarves is a bit difficult to use. If you are using a supported operating system, Dwarf Therapist and DFHack can make this much easier.

To change a dwarf's labor preferences, access the labor screen by viewing the dwarf, then select preferences and labor. Use + and - to move the cursor up and down to highlight different categories or skills to enable or disable.

Using u can help you locate dwarves. Select a dwarf, hit c for "zoom to creature" and you'll automatically be placed in view mode on that dwarf. Use p-l to get to the labor configuration menu.

Labors are divided into skill trees - for instance, accessing metalsmithing allows you to enable various jobs that are related to working with metal, such as weaponsmithing and armorsmithing.

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.

Category Labors
Other Jobs

Labors and product quality[edit]

The experience a dwarf has with a certain labor will determine how well he goes about performing this labor. A higher experience will get the job done faster in all labors (which doesn't apply for labors in which no experience can be gained, like the nursing and hauling labors). However, only certain (typically crafting oriented) labors will produce products that have a quality tag. The table below lists in which labors the dwarf's experience will impact the quality of produced items and in which labors a higher experience will only be beneficial for the speed of production.

Category Labors Quality-effects? Details
Mining no speed only
Woodworker yes item, furniture, and designed building quality
yes weapon quality
no speed only
Stoneworking yes item, furniture, and designed building quality
yes engraving quality, speed only for smoothing and track carving
Hunting/Related yes training quality
no not implemented
no success rate tends to rise from increasing ambusher and marksdwarf skills
no success rate?[Verify]
no speed only
Healthcare (Doctoral) yes success chance, accuracy (and speed) of treatment
Healthcare (Nursing) no unskilled
Farming/Related no speed only
no speed only
yes crop yield (stack size)
yes dye quality
no speed only
no speed only
no speed only
no speed only
no speed only
no speed only
yes success and plant yield (stack size)
no speed only
no speed only
no speed only
no speed only
no speed only
yes meal and ingredient quality
no speed only
no speed only[Verify]
Fishing/Related yes fish stack size
no speed only
no speed only
Metalsmithing no speed only
yes weapon quality
yes armor quality
yes item, furniture, designed building quality
yes craft, item, decoration, designed building quality
Jewelry yes gem craft quality
yes decoration quality
Crafts yes clothing, decoration, craft quality
yes craft quality
yes craft quality
yes craft, decoration quality
yes craft, item, furniture quality
yes cloth quality
yes clothing, decoration quality
no speed only
yes craft, item, furniture quality
no no experience gain Bug:4577
yes craft quality
Engineering yes part, ammunition quality
yes accuracy
yes mechanism, furniture quality
no -
Hauling no unskilled
Other Jobs yes building design quality
no not implemented
no unskilled