Quickfort blueprint creation guide

Quickfort is a DFHack tool that helps you build fortresses from “blueprint” .csv and .xlsx files. Many applications exist to edit these files, such as MS Excel and Google Sheets. Most layout and building-oriented DF actions are supported through the use of multiple files or spreadsheets, each describing a different phase of DF construction: designating digging, defining zones, placing stockpiles, and building.

The original idea came from Valdemar’s auto-designation macro. Joel Thornton reimplemented the core logic in Python and extended its functionality with Quickfort 2.0. This DFHack-native implementation, called “DFHack Quickfort” or just “quickfort”, builds upon Quickfort 2.0’s formats and features, preserving compatibility with existing blueprints (where possible – DF itself has changed since then). In contrast with the earlier quickfort implementations, which interacted with DF by simulating keyboard input, DFHack Quickfort calls lower-level API functions to designate tiles and configure buildings. This allows for nearly instantaneous blueprint application, error checking and recovery, and many other advanced features.

This guide focuses on DFHack Quickfort’s capabilities and blueprint syntax, and teaches players how to understand and create blueprint files. Some of the text was originally written by Joel Thornton, reused here with his permission.

If you are just looking to apply existing blueprints to your fort, check out gui/quickfort (or quickfort for the commandline version). There are many ready-to-use blueprints available in the Quickfort blueprint library distributed with DFHack.

Before you become an expert at writing blueprints, though, you should know that the easiest way to make a quickfort blueprint is to build your plan “for real” in Dwarf Fortress and then export that section of your map using gui/blueprint. You can apply those blueprints as-is in your next fort, or you can fine-tune them with additional features from this guide.

See the Links section for more information and online resources.

Feature summary

  • General

    • Blueprint modes for all phases of fort design

    • Read blueprints from .csv or multi-worksheet .xlsx files

    • Near-instant application, even for very large and complex blueprints

    • Blueprints can span multiple z-levels

    • Easy sharing of blueprints with multi-blueprint files

    • Scripted application of sequences of blueprints

    • Undo applied blueprints

    • Rotate blueprints or flip them around

    • Automatic cropping of blueprints that extend off the map

    • Generate manager orders for items required by a blueprint

    • Includes a library of ready-to-use blueprints

    • Blueprint debugging

  • Dig mode

    • Supports all types of designations, including dumping/forbidding items and setting traffic settings

    • Supports setting dig priorities

    • Supports applying dig blueprints in marker mode

    • Handles carving arbitrarily complex minecart tracks, including tracks that cross other tracks

  • Zone and place modes

    • Define zones and stockpiles of any shape, not just rectangles

    • Configurable numbers of bins, barrels and wheelbarrows assigned to created stockpiles

    • Automatic splitting of stockpiles that exceed maximum dimension limits

    • Create and attach locations to zones

    • Full control over stockpile configuration based on the stockpiles settings library

    • Configurable zone/location settings, such as the pit/pond toggle or hospital supply quantities

  • Build mode

    • Integrated with DFHack buildingplan: you can place buildings before manufacturing building materials and you can use the buildingplan UI for setting materials and quality preferences

    • Designate entire constructions in mid-air without having to wait for each tile to become supported

    • Automatic expansion of building footprints to their minimum dimensions, so only the center tile of a multi-tile building needs to be recorded in the blueprint

    • Tile occupancy and validity checking so, for example, buildings that cannot be placed on a target tile will be skipped instead of causing errors and interrupting the blueprint. Blueprints that are only partially applied for any reason (e.g. you need to dig out some more tiles) can be safely reapplied to build the remaining buildings.

    • Relaxed rules for farm plot and road placement: you can still place the building even if an invalid tile (e.g. stone tiles for farm plots) splits the designated area into two disconnected parts

    • Intelligent boundary detection for adjacent buildings of the same type (e.g. a 6x6 block of wj cells will be correctly split into 4 jeweler’s workshops)

    • Set building properties (such as a name)

    • Can attach and configure track stops as part of hauling routes

  • Burrow mode

    • Supports creating, adding to, and subtracting from burrows.

Introduction to blueprints

We recommend using a spreadsheet editor such as Excel, Google Sheets, or LibreOffice to edit blueprint files, but any text editor will do.

The format of Quickfort-compatible blueprint files is straightforward. The first line (or upper-left cell) of the spreadsheet should look like this:


The keyword dig tells Quickfort we are going to be specifying designations. The following “mode” keywords are understood:

Blueprint mode



Designations (digging, traffic, dumping, etc.)


Constructions, buildings, and furniture




Activity zones

If no modeline appears in the first cell, Quickfort assumes that it’s looking at a #dig blueprint.

There are also other modes that don’t directly correspond to Dwarf Fortress design operations, but we’ll talk about those later.

If you like, you may enter a comment after the mode keyword. This comment will appear in the output of quickfort list or in the dialog window when running gui/quickfort. You can use this space for explanations, attribution, etc.:

#dig grand dining room

Below this line, begin entering keys in each spreadsheet cell that represent what you want designated in the corresponding game map tile. For example, we could dig out a 4x4 room like so (spaces are used as column separators here for readability, but a real .csv file would have commas):

d d d d #
d d d d #
d d d d #
d d d d #
# # # # #

The letter d here stands for “dig”. The character sequences in these blueprints are based on the old (pre-v50) keyboard shortcuts for the various DF menus. Please see the Appendix: Symbols and properties below for a full reference.

Note the # symbols at the right end of each row and below the last row. These are completely optional, but can be helpful to make the row and column positions clear.

Once the dwarves have that dug out, let’s zone it as a bedroom:

b b b b #
b b b b #
b b b b #
b b b b #
# # # # #

This looks very similar to the #dig blueprint above, but with bs instead of ds. The bs mark the area for a bedroom zone just like the #dig blueprint marked the area for digging. It’s important to wait until after the area is completely dug out before applying further blueprints since zones can’t be applied to hidden tiles and furniture can’t be built in undug walls.

Now, let’s add some walls and furniture:

Cw Cw Cw Cw #
Cw b  h  Cw #
Cw       Cw #
Cw Cw    Cw #
#  #  #  #  #

The Cw cells represent the constructed walls, leaving space for a door that we might want to add later. Quickfort uses buildingplan for managing buildings, so the walls will be built out of whatever matches the current buildingplan filter set for walls. Also note my generosity – in addition to the bed (b) I’ve built a container (h) for this lucky dwarf.

Finally, let’s place a booze stockpile in the 2 unoccupied tiles in the room:

#place personal booze stockpile
` ` ` ` #
` ~ ~ ` #
` f f{name="bedroom booze"}:=booze
` `   ` #
# # # # #

This illustration may be a little hard to understand. The two f characters are in row 3, columns 2 and 3. All the other cells are empty. QF considers both ` (backtick – the character under the tilde) and ~ (tilde) characters within cells to be empty cells; this can help with multilayer or fortress-wide blueprint layouts as “chalk lines”.

QF is smart enough to recognize this as a 2x1 food stockpile, and creates it as such rather than as two 1x1 food stockpiles. Quickfort treats any connected region of identical designations as a single entity. The tiles can be connected orthogonally or diagonally, just as long as they are touching. You can also treat disconnected segments as belonging to the same stockpile, but we’ll get into Label syntax later.

Now what’s all that business attached to the second f? The part between the curly brackets specifies properties, in this case the name that we want to give the stockpile. The remaining part, from the colon (:) onward, applies the booze preset from the stockpiles library. That will configure the stockpile to accept only booze. You can use presets (along with other options that we’ll go over later) to configure stockpiles however you want, directly from the #place blueprint.

And that’s it! You now have a series of blueprints that you can “stamp” across your fort to quickly build new bedrooms.

Area expansion syntax

In Quickfort, the following blueprints are equivalent:

#dig a 3x3 area
d d d #
d d d #
d d d #
# # # #

#dig the same area with d(3x3) specified in row 1, col 1
` ` ` #
` ` ` #
# # # #

The second example uses Quickfort’s “area expansion syntax”, which takes the form:


Note that area expansion syntax can only specify rectangular areas. If you want to create extent-based structures (e.g. farm plots or stockpiles) in different shapes, use the first format above. For example:

#place A single L shaped food stockpile
f f ` ` #
f f ` ` #
f f f f #
f f f f #
# # # # #

Area expansion syntax also sets boundaries, which can be useful if you want adjacent, but separate, stockpiles of the same type:

#place Two touching but separate food stockpiles
f(2x2)  #
~ ~ ` ` #
f(4x2)  #
~ ~ ~ ~ #
# # # # #

As mentioned previously, ~ characters are ignored as comment characters and can be used for visualizing the blueprint layout. This blueprint can be equivalently written as:

#place Two touching but separate food stockpiles
f(2x2)  #
~ ~ ` ` #
f f f f #
f f f f #
# # # # #

since the area expansion syntax of the upper stockpile prevents it from combining with the lower, freeform syntax stockpile.

Area expansion syntax can also be used for buildings which have an adjustable size, like bridges. The following blueprints are equivalent:

#build a 4x2 bridge from row 1, col 1
ga(4x2)  `  #
`  `  `  `  #
#  #  #  #  #

#build a 4x2 bridge from row 1, col 1
ga ga ga ga #
ga ga ga ga #
#  #  #  #  #

If it is convenient to do so, you can place the cell with the expansion syntax in any corner of the resulting rectangle. Just use negative numbers to indicate which direction the designation should expand in. For example, the previous blueprint could also be written as:

#build a 4x2 bridge from row 2, col 4
`  `  `  `  #
ga(4x-2) `  #
#  #  #  #  #

Property syntax

Many things you can designate with quickfort are configurable. All buildings, stockpiles, and zones, for example, can be named. These configuration elements are expressed as properties.

Properties are written between curly brackets ({}). There can be multiple properties defined between those brackets, separated by spaces. Each property has a name and a value, with an equal sign to connect them. If a property value has a space within it, it should be surrounded by double quotes (").

If you have defined the area of something over multiple spreadsheet cells, you can specify properties in just one of those cells and they will apply to the whole object. You can even split properties up among multiple cells if that is more convenient. If you are using expansion syntax, the expansion part always goes last.

Here’s an example of a seed stockpile that is configured to take from a seed feeder stockpile:

f{name=Seeds links_only=true}:=seeds(3x2)

f{name="Seeds feeder" give_to=Seeds}:=seeds

Different modes and different types may have different properties that you can configure. See the Appendix: Symbols and properties for a full list.

Label syntax

Labels are different from the name property. They are only used internally by Quickfort to associate tiles with a particular zones or stockpiles. This is useful for when you want to define two touching zones or stockpiles of the same type(s), but you can’t use expansion syntax because they are non-rectangular. It is also useful for marking two disconnected regions as belonging to the same zone or stockpile. Note that every tile in the zone or stockpile must be marked with the same label:

#place two touching stockpiles of the same type
f/feed f/feed f/feed{name="Seeds feeder" containers=0}:=seeds
f/feed f      f/feed
f      f      f{name=Seeds links_only=true take_from="Seeds feeder"}:=seeds

#zone one pasture in two disconnected regions
n/slots n/slots n/slots

n/slots{name="Pasture slots"}(3x1)

Automatic area expansion

Buildings larger than 1x1, like workshops, can be represented in any of three ways. You can designate just their center tile with empty cells around it to leave room for the footprint, like this:

#build a stonecutter workshop in row 2, col 2 that will occupy the 3x3 area
` `  ` #
` wm ` #
` `  ` #
# #  # #

Or you can fill out the entire footprint like this:

#build a stonecutter workshop
wm wm wm #
wm wm wm #
wm wm wm #
#  #  #  #

This format may be verbose for regular workshops, but it can be very helpful for laying out structures like screw pump towers and waterwheels, whose “center point” can be non-obvious.

Or you can use area expansion syntax:

#build a stonecutter workshop
wm(3x3)  #
`  `  `  #
`  `  `  #
#  #  #  #

This style can be convenient for laying out multiple buildings of the same type. If you are building a large-scale block factory, for example, this will create 20 stonecutter workshops all in a row:

#build line of 20 stonecutter workshops

Quickfort will intelligently break large areas of the same designation into appropriately-sized chunks.

Multilevel blueprints

Multilevel blueprints are accommodated by separating Z-levels of the blueprint with #> (go down one z-level) or #< (go up one z-level) at the end of each floor.

#dig Stairs leading down to a small room below
j  `  `  #
`  `  `  #
`  `  `  #
#> #  #  #
u  d  d  #
d  d  d  #
d  d  d  #
#  #  #  #

The marker must appear in the first column of the row to be recognized, just like a modeline.

You can go up or down multiple levels by adding a number after the < or >. For example:

#dig Two double-level quarries

#dig mode

#dig blueprints are normally the first step in any design. They define the boundaries and layouts for the blueprints for later stages of construction. Despite their name, #dig blueprints are for more than just digging. They also handle smoothing, carving, traffic designations, and marking items on the ground for dumping, forbidding, or other similar tags. See the full list of supported designations in the #dig mode reference.

Dig priorities

DF designation priorities are supported in #dig blueprints. The full syntax is [symbol][number][expansion], where if the symbol is not specified, d is assumed, and if number is not specified, 4 is assumed (the default priority). So all of these blueprints are equivalent:

#dig dig the interior of the room at high priority
d  d  d  d  d  #
d  d1 d1 d1 d  #
d  d1 d1 d1 d  #
d  d1 d1 d1 d  #
d  d  d  d  d  #
#  #  #  #  #  #

#dig dig the interior of the room at high priority
d  d  d  d  d  #
d  d1(3x3)  d  #
d  `  `  `  d  #
d  `  `  `  d  #
d  d  d  d  d  #
#  #  #  #  #  #

#dig dig the interior of the room at high priority
4  4  4  4  4  #
4  1  1  1  4  #
4  1  1  1  4  #
4  1  1  1  4  #
4  4  4  4  4  #
#  #  #  #  #  #

Marker mode

Marker mode is useful for when you want to plan out your digging, but you don’t want to dig everything just yet. In #dig mode, you can add a m before any other designation letter to indicate that the tile should be designated in marker mode. For example, to dig out the perimeter of a room, but leave the center of the room marked for digging later:

d  d  d  d d #
d md md md d #
d md md md d #
d md md md d #
d  d  d  d d #
#  #  #  # # #

Then you can use DF’s “Toggle Standard/Marking” icons (DF calls them “blueprints”, but hopefully that won’t get too confusing in this context) to convert the center tiles to regular designations at your leisure.

To apply an entire dig blueprint in marker mode, regardless of what the blueprint itself says, you can set the global quickfort setting force_marker_mode to true before you apply the blueprint by running quickfort set force_marker_mode true.

Note that the state of the in-game vanilla button that you use to draw designations in either Standard or “Blueprint” mode does not have any effect on quickfort.

Carved minecart tracks

In the game, you carve a minecart track by specifying a beginning and ending tile, and the game “adds” the designation to the tiles in between. You cannot designate single tiles because DF needs a multi-tile track to figure out which direction the track should go on each tile. For example to carve two track segments that cross each other, you might use the cursor to designate a line of three vertical tiles like this:

` start here ` #
` `          ` #
` end here   ` #
# #          # #

Then to carve the cross, you’d do a horizontal segment:

`          ` `        #
start here ` end here #
`          ` `        #
#          # #        #

This will result in a carved track that would be equivalent to a constructed track of the form:

`      trackS    `      #
trackE trackNSEW trackW #
`      trackN    `      #
#      #         #      #

Quickfort supports both styles of specification for carving tracks with #dig blueprints. You can use the “additive” style to carve tracks in segments or you can use the track aliases to specify the track tile by tile. To designate track segments, use area expansion syntax with a height or width of 1:

`      T(1x3) ` #
T(3x1) `      ` #
`      `      ` #
#      #      # #

“But wait!”, I can hear you say, “How do you designate a track corner that opens to the South and East? You can’t put both T(1xH) and T(Wx1) in the same cell!” This is true, but you can specify both width and height greater than 1, and for tracks, QF interprets it as an upper-left corner extending to the right W tiles and down H tiles. For example, to carve a track in a closed ring, you’d write:

T(3x3) ` T(1x3) #
`      ` `      #
T(3x1) ` `      #
#      # #      #

You can also use negative numbers in the expansion syntax to indicate corners that are not upper-left corners. This blueprint will also carve a closed ring:

T(3x3) ` `        #
`      ` `        #
`      ` T(-3x-3) #
#      # #        #

Or you could use the aliases to specify tile by tile:

trackSE trackEW trackSW #
trackNS `       trackNS #
trackNE trackEW trackNW #
#       #       #       #

The aliases can also be used to designate a solid block of track. This is especially useful for obliterating low-quality engravings so you can re-smooth and re-engrave with higher quality. For example, you could use the following sequence of blueprints to ensure a 10x10 floor area contains only masterwork engravings:

#dig smooth floor
#dig engrave floor
#dig erase low-quality engravings

The tracks only remove low-quality engravings since quickfort won’t designate masterwork engravings for destruction (unless forced to by a commandline parameter). You would run (and let your dwarves complete the jobs for) the sequence of blueprints until no tiles are designated by the “erase” blueprint.

#zone mode

Zones define how regions of your fort should be treated. They are also the anchor point for “locations” like taverns and hospitals. Unlike stockpiles or buildings, zones can overlap, which can lead to some interesting layouts. See the full list of zone symbols in the #zone mode reference.

Zone designation syntax

A zone is declared with a symbol followed by optional properties:

#zone a single tile garbage dump zone

#zone a single tile garbage dump zone named "The Dump"
d{name="The Dump"}

#zone interrogation room
o{name=Interrogation assigned_unit=sheriff}

#zone a small inactive pond zone
p{name="Fill me" pond=true active=false}(3x3)

If you want multiple zones that have the same footprint, they can be declared from the same cell:

#zone pasture and training area
n{name="Main pasture"}t{name="Pet training area"}(14x10)

or from different corners of the same rectangle:

#zone pasture and training area
n{name="Main pasture"}(10x2)
t{name="Pet training area"}(10x-2)

and you can use this technique to achieve partial overlap, of course. The only configuration that can’t be specified in a single blueprint is multiple non-rectangular zones that are partially overlapping. You will have to use multiple #zone blueprints to achieve that.

You can also use labels (see Label syntax above) to separate adjacent non-rectangular zones that happen to be of the same type or to combine disconnected regions into a single zone.

Locations, locations, locations

Hospitals, guildhalls, taverns, libraries, and temples are locations. You can declare a location in the properties for a zone:

#zone metalcrafter hall
m{location=guildhall profession=metalcrafter}(7x7)

You can attach multiple zones to a single location by giving the location a label (not a name – you can name zones, but you can’t directly name locations) and then using that label for each of the zones you want to attach:

#zone tavern and rented room
b{location=tavern/bigpub name="Rent me"}(3x1)
h{location=tavern/bigpub name="Central pub" allow=residents}(25x40)

Note that the label (“bigpub” in this case) will never appear in-game. It is only used in the context of the blueprint to identify a common location.

#place mode

#place mode is dedicated to stockpiles, which are a major design element in any fortress.

Stockpile designation syntax

Just like zones, stockpiles can have properties like names or lists of other stockpiles to take from. Unlike zones, stockpiles can have configuration specifiers for exactly what types of items to accept. The full syntax looks like this:


with every component other than the type being optional. You’re already familiar with Property syntax, Label syntax, and Area expansion syntax, so let’s focus in on the remaining elements.

Stockpile types

The type of stockpile corresponds to the category of items it accepts. Some types will cause the stockpile to accept bins or barrels. See the full list in the #place mode reference.

It is very common to have stockpiles that accept multiple categories of items. Although it is perfectly valid to declare a single-purpose stockpile, quickfort also supports directly declaring all the categories at once. For example, to declare a 20x10 stockpile that accepts both corpses and refuse, you could write:

#place refuse heap

The order of the individual letters doesn’t matter. If you want to configure the stockpile from scratch, you can place unconfigured “custom” stockpiles with (c).

Bins, barrels, and wheelbarrows

Quickfort has global settings for default values for the number of bins, barrels, and wheelbarrows assigned to stockpiles, but these numbers can be set for individual stockpiles as well in the properties.

Individual properties for bins, barrels, and wheelbarrows are supported. You can also set them all at once with the containers alias (it usually just makes sense to set this to 0 when you don’t want any containers of any type). For example:

#place a stone stockpile with 5 wheelbarrows

#place a bar, ammo, weapon, and armor stockpile with 20 bins

#place a weapon stockpile with no bins

That last one could have equivalently used bins=0, but sometimes you just don’t want to have to think about which stockpile types take which type of container.

If the specified number exceeds the number of available stockpile tiles, the number of available tiles is used. For wheelbarrows, that limit is reduced by 1 to ensure there is at least one non-wheelbarrow tile available in the stockpile. Otherwise no stone would ever be brought to the stockpile since all tiles would be occupied by wheelbarrows!

Generating manager orders for a #place blueprint with explicitly set container/wheelbarrow counts will enqueue manager orders for the specified number of containers or wheelbarrows, even if that number exceeds the in-game size of the stockpile. For example, the following blueprint will enqueue orders for 10 rock pots, even though the stockpile only has 9 tiles:


Stockpile configuration

Quickfort uses the stockpiles plugin and The stockpiles settings library to configure stockpile settings, and provides a syntax that is easy to write in a blueprint yet still allows you to access the full power of the stockpiles command.

The syntax is:

: <op> <preset_name> [/<filter>] [<op> <preset_name> [/<filter>]...]

<op> is one of =, -, or +, representing the three stockpiles import modes: set, disable, or enable, respectively. Note that if you are using an = op, then it should go first in the list. Any = configuration segment will override anything that comes before it.

For example, a blueprint like:


would be equivalent to creating a 5x4 food stockpile in the UI, then selecting it and running this command:

stockpiles import --mode=set booze

you can also add a slash (/) and a comma-separated list of filter strings to customize the settings further:

p{name="Metal weapons"}:-cat_weapons/other/(7x3)

Note that the “op” in this case lets us disable the matched preset, which in this case is the “Other materials” types in the Weapons category. This configuration is equivalent to the stockpiles command:

stockpiles import --mode=disable cat_weapons --filter=other/

And we can chain multiple stockpiles commands together by adding another “op” character and another preset:

p{name="Steel weapons"}:-cat_weapons/mats/,other/+steelweapons(7x3)

which corresponds to running these two commands:

stockpiles import --mode=disable cat_weapons --filter=mats/,other/
stockpiles import --mode=enable steelweapons

With the combination of the library presets and custom filter strings, you can configure any stockpile any way you like!

#build mode

#build mode handles buildings, furniture (which are also “buildings” according to DF), constructions (including constructed tracks), and hauling routes.

Building designation syntax

The syntax is very similar to the syntax for stockpiles, except that it only makes sense to have a single symbol to indicate what to build on that tile:


See the #build mode reference for properties that you can specify for each building type.

Here’s an example of a simple 5x5 square of flooring:


or a named Jeweler’s workshop that takes from specific stockpiles:

wj{name="Encrusting center" take_from="Furniture,Gem storage"}

or a forge that specializes in high-quality armor:

wf{name=Armorer labors=Armoring min_skill=Master}

The :configuration part is only relevant for hauling routes, which we’ll go over in the next section.

Hauling route definitions

Hauling routes are defined by properties and configuration attached to track stops. You can define a single-stop hauling route for a quantum stockpile as easily as a multi-stop stone quarry transportation line. The stockpile-like :configuration part of the syntax controls which item types are considered “desired” for the hauling route stop. If it’s not specified, then all item types are accepted. This is the most common case since most hauling route contents are filtered by the stockpiles that the stops take from, but the flexibility is there for when multiple stops take different items from the same stockpile, or when a stop only wants a subset of items from a stockpile.

Here is a common setup for a quantum stone stockpile:

s{name="Stone quantum" quantum=true} ~ s5{name="Stone feeder"}(3x3)
~ trackstopW{take_from="Stone feeder" route="Stone dumper"}

This sets up the quantum stockpile and the feeder stockpile in the #place blueprint, followed by the trackstop and the hauling route configuration in the #build blueprint. The route property is the name of the hauling route to create (or attach to if it already exists). If you are applying a quantum stockpile blueprint more than once in a fort, be sure to avoid defining the route property so that each application of the blueprint creates a unique hauling route. Two quantum stockpiles on the same route will not function properly (since one of the stops will be missing a minecart).

Let’s look at a slightly more complicated setup where we sort the stone into different output quantum stockpiles:

s{name="Other stone quantum" quantum=true}    ~ s5e{name="Rock feeder"}(3x3)
s{name="Ore/clay stone quantum" quantum=true} ~
s{name="Gem quantum" quantum=true}            ~
~ trackstopW{take_from="Rock feeder" route="Other stone"}:=otherstone
~ trackstopW{take_from="Rock feeder" route="Ore/clay"}:=cat_stone-otherstone
~ trackstopW{take_from="Rock feeder" route="Gems"}:=cat_gems

You can see how we make use of the stockpile-style configuration syntax to fine-tune the items desired by the hauling route stop.

Finally, let’s make a series of stops on a common hauling route. There is nothing particularly special about this example. If the route property names an existing route, the stop will be added to that route:

trackE trackEW trackEW trackW
trackstop{route="Tick tock"} ~ ~ trackstop{route="Tick tock"}

These two track stops (which do not dump their contents) simply exist on a common route at the ends of a connected carved track.

#burrow mode

#burrow mode can create, extend, and remove tiles from burrows.

Burrow designation syntax

The syntax should look familiar by now:


See the #burrow mode reference for symbol and property definitions.

Here’s how to create (or add to, if a burrow by that name already exists) a 5x5 burrow named Inside+. It will also register this burrow with gui/civ-alert if no burrow has yet been registered:

a{create=true name=Inside+ civalert=true}(5x5)

Why the trailing +? That’s to indicate to the burrow plugin that the burrow should grow as adjacent tiles are dug out.

Similarly, here is how to erase a tile from all burrows that currently include it:


Modeline markers

The modeline has some additional optional components that we haven’t talked about yet. You can:

  • give a blueprint a label by adding a label() marker

  • set a cursor offset and/or cursor placement hint by adding a start() marker

  • hide a blueprint from being listed with a hidden() marker

  • register a message to be displayed after the blueprint is successfully applied with a message() marker

The full modeline syntax, when all optional elements are specified, is:

#mode label(mylabel) start(X;Y;startcomment) hidden() message(mymessage) comment

Note that all elements are optional except for the initial #mode (though, as mentioned in the first section, if a modeline doesn’t appear at all in the first cell of a spreadsheet, the blueprint is interpreted as a #dig blueprint with no optional markers). Here are a few examples of modelines with optional elements before we discuss them in more detail:

#dig start(3; 3; Center tile of a 5-tile square) Regular blueprint comment
#build label(noblebedroom) No explicit 'start()' so cursor is in upper left
#meta label(digwholefort) start(center of stairs on surface)
#dig label(dig_dining) hidden() called by the digwholefort meta blueprint
#zone label(pastures) message(remember to assign animals to the pastures)

Blueprint labels

Labels are displayed in the blueprint selection dialog and the output of quickfort list and are used for addressing specific blueprints when there are multiple blueprints in a single file or spreadsheet sheet (see Packaging a set of blueprints below). If a blueprint has no label, the label becomes the ordinal of the blueprint’s position in the file or sheet. For example, the label of the first blueprint will be “1” if it is not otherwise set, the label of the second blueprint will be “2” if it is not otherwise set, etc. Labels that are explicitly defined must start with a letter to ensure the auto-generated labels don’t conflict with user-defined labels.

Start positions

Start positions specify a cursor offset for a particular blueprint, simplifying the task of blueprint alignment. This is very helpful for blueprints that are based on a central staircase, but it comes in handy whenever a blueprint has an obvious “center”. For example:

#build start(2;2;center of workshop) label(stonew) a stonecutter workshop
wm wm wm #
wm wm wm #
wm wm wm #
#  #  #  #

will build the workshop centered on the cursor, not down and to the right of the cursor.

The two numbers specify the column and row (or 1-based X and Y offset) where the cursor is expected to be when you apply the blueprint. Position 1;1 is the top left cell. The optional comment will show up in the blueprint listings and should contain information about where to position the cursor. If the start position is 1;1, you can omit the numbers and just add a comment describing where to put the cursor. This is also useful for meta blueprints that don’t actually care where the cursor is, but that refer to other blueprints that have fully-specified start() markers. For example, a meta blueprint that refers to the stonew blueprint above could look like this:

#meta start(center of workshop) a stonecutter workshop

You can use semicolons, commas, or spaces to separate the elements of the start() marker, whichever you prefer.

Hiding blueprints

A blueprint with a hidden() marker won’t appear in the blueprint listings unless hidden blueprints are specifically requested. The primary reason for hiding a blueprint (rather than, say, deleting it or moving it out of the blueprints/ folder) is if a blueprint is intended to be run as part of a larger sequence managed by a meta blueprint.


A blueprint with a message() marker will display a message after the blueprint is applied. This is useful for reminding players to take manual steps that cannot be automated, like assigning minecarts to a route, or listing the next step in a series of blueprints. For long or multi-part messages, you can embed newlines:

"#meta label(surface1) message(This would be a good time to start digging the industry level.
Once the area is clear, continue with /surface2.) clear the embark site and set up pastures"

The quotes surrounding the cell text are only necessary if you are writing a .csv file by hand. Spreadsheet applications will surround multi-line text with quotes automatically when they save/export the file.

Other blueprint modes

There are a few additional blueprint modes that become useful when you are sharing your blueprints with others or managing complex blueprint sets. Instead of mapping tile positions to map modifications like the basic modes do, these “blueprints” have specialized, higher-level uses:

Blueprint mode



Display long messages, such as help text or blueprint walkthroughs


Hide a section of your spreadsheet from quickfort, useful for scratch space or personal notes


Script sequences of blueprints together, transform them, and/or repeat them across multiple z-levels

#notes mode

Sometimes you just want to record some information about your blueprints, such as when to apply them, what preparations you need to make, or what the blueprints contain. The message() modeline marker is useful for small, single-line messages, but a #notes blueprint is more convenient for long messages or messages that span many lines. The lines in a #notes blueprint are output as if they were contained within one large multi-line message() marker. For example, the following (empty) #meta blueprint:

"#meta label(help) message(This is the help text for the blueprint set
contained in this file.

First, make sure that you embark in...) blueprint set walkthrough"

could more naturally be written as a #notes blueprint:

#notes label(help) blueprint set walkthrough
This is the help text for the blueprint set
contained in this file

First, make sure that you embark in...

The #meta blueprint is all squashed into a single spreadsheet cell, using embedded newlines. Each line of the #notes “blueprint”, however, is in a separate cell, allowing for much easier viewing and editing.

#ignore mode

If you don’t want some data to be visible to quickfort at all, use an #ignore blueprint. All lines until the next modeline in the file or sheet will be completely ignored. This can be useful for personal notes, scratch space, or temporarily “commented out” blueprints.

#meta mode

#meta blueprints are blueprints that control how other blueprints are applied. For example, meta blueprints can bundle a group of other blueprints so that they can be run with a single command. They can also encode logic, like rotating the blueprint or duplicating it across a specified number of z-levels.

Scripting blueprints together

A common scenario where meta blueprints are useful is when you have several phases to link together. For example you might:

  1. Apply a dig blueprint to designate dig areas

  2. Wait for miners to dig

  3. Apply another dig blueprint to designate traffic costs

  4. Apply a zone blueprint to designate zones

  5. Apply a place buildprint to designate and configure stockpiles

  6. Apply a build buildprint to designate buildings

Those last four “apply”s might as well get done in one command instead of four. A #meta blueprint can help with that. A meta blueprint refers to other blueprints in the same file by their label (see the Modeline markers section) in the same format used by the quickfort command: <sheet name>/<label>, or just /<label> for blueprints in .csv files or blueprints in the same spreadsheet sheet as the #meta blueprint that references them.

A few examples might make this clearer. Say you have a .csv file with blueprints that prepare bedrooms for your dwarves:

#dig label(bed1) dig out the rooms
#zone label(bed2) declare bedroom zones
#place label(bed3) add food stockpiles
#build label(bed4) build the furniture

Note how I’ve given them all labels so we can address them safely. If I hadn’t given them labels, they would receive default labels of “1”, “2”, “3”, etc, but those labels would change if I ever add more blueprints at the top. This is not a problem if we’re just running the blueprints individually from gui/quickfort or the quickfort list command, but meta blueprints need a label name that isn’t going to change over time.

So let’s add a meta blueprint to this file that will combine the last three blueprints into one:

"#meta label(bed234) combines zone, place, and build blueprints"

Now your sequence is shortened to:

  1. Run /bed1 to designate dig areas

  2. Wait for miners to dig

  3. Run /bed234 meta buildprint to declare zones, place stockpiles, and build furniture

You can use meta blueprints to lay out your fortress at a larger scale as well. The #< and #> notation is valid in meta blueprints, so you can, for example, store the dig blueprints for all the levels of your fortress in different sheets in a spreadsheet, and then use a meta blueprint to designate your entire fortress for digging at once. For example, say you have a .xlsx spreadsheet with the following layout:

Sheet name



one #dig blueprint, no label


one #dig blueprint, no label


four #dig blueprints, with labels “main”, “basement”, “waterway”, and “cistern”


one #dig blueprint, no label


one #dig blueprint, no label


one #dig blueprint, no label

We can add a sheet named “dig_all” with the following contents (we’re expecting a big fort, so we’re digging 5 levels of bedrooms):

#meta label(dig_it) dig the whole fortress
dig_bedrooms/1 repeat(down 5)

Note that for blueprints without an explicit label, we still need to address them by their auto-generated numeric label.

It’s worth repeating that #meta blueprints can only refer to blueprints that are defined in the same file. This means that all blueprints that a meta blueprint needs to run must be in sheets within the same .xlsx spreadsheet or concatenated into the same .csv file.

You can then hide the blueprints that you now manage with the meta blueprint from the blueprint selection lists by adding a hidden() marker to their modelines. That way, the blueprint lists won’t be cluttered by blueprints that you don’t need to run directly. If you ever do need to access the meta-managed blueprints individually, you can still see them by toggling the “Hidden” setting in the gui/quickfort load dialog or with quickfort list --hidden.

Meta markers

In meta blueprints, you can tag referenced blueprints with markers to modify how they are applied. These markers are similar to Modeline markers, but are only usable in meta blueprints. Here’s a quick list of examples, with more details below:



repeat(down 10)

Repeats a blueprint down z-levels 10 times

shift(0 10)

Adds 10 to the y coordinate of each blueprint tile

transform(cw flipv)

Rotates a blueprint clockwise and then flips it vertically

Repeating blueprints

Syntax: repeat(<direction>[, ]<number>)

The direction can be up or down, and the repetition works even for blueprints that are themselves multi-level. For example:

#meta label(2beds) dig 2 levels of bedrooms
dig_bedrooms/1 repeat(down 2)

#meta label(6beds) dig 6 levels of bedrooms
/2beds repeat(down 3)

You can use < and > for short, instead of up and down. The comma or space between the direction and the number is optional as well. The following lines are all equivalent:

/2beds repeat(down 3)
/2beds repeat(down, 3)
/2beds repeat(>3)

Shifting blueprints

Syntax: shift(<x shift>[[,] <y shift>])

The values can be positive or negative. Negative values for x shift to the left, positive to the right. Negative values for y shift up, positive down. Note the semantics for the y axis are opposite compared to regular graphs on paper. This is because the y coordinates in the DF game map start a 0 at the top and increase as they go down.

Transforming blueprints

Syntax: transform(<transformation>[[,] <transformation>…])

Applies a geometric transformation to the blueprint. The supported transformations are:

rotcw or cw:

Rotates the blueprint 90 degrees clockwise.

rotccw or ccw:

Rotates the blueprint 90 degrees counterclockwise.


Flips the blueprint horizontally (left edge becomes right edge).


Flips the blueprint vertically (top edge becomes bottom edge).

If you specify more than one transformation, they will be applied in the order they appear in.

If you use both shift() and transform() markers on the same blueprint, shifting is applied after all transformations are complete. If you want shifting to be applied before the transformations, or in between transformations, you can use nested meta blueprints. For example, the following blueprint will shift the /hallway blueprint to the right by 20 units and then rotate it clockwise:

#meta label(shift_right) hidden()
/hallway shift(20)
#meta label(rotate_after_shift)
/shift_right transform(cw)

Transforming build blueprints will also change the properties of buildings that care about direction. For example, a bridge that opens to the North, rotated clockwise, will open to the East when applied to the map.

Packaging a set of blueprints

A complete specification for a section of your fortress may contain 4 or more separate blueprints, one for each “phase” of construction (dig, zone, place, build).

To manage all the separate blueprints, it is often convenient to keep related blueprints in a single file. For .xlsx spreadsheets, you can keep each blueprint in a separate sheet. Online spreadsheet applications like Google Sheets make it easy to work with multiple related blueprints, and, as a bonus, they retain any formatting you’ve set, like column sizes and coloring.

For both .csv files and .xlsx spreadsheets you can also add as many blueprints as you want in a single file or sheet. Just add a modeline in the first column to indicate the start of a new blueprint. Instead of multiple .csv files, you can concatenate them into one single file. This is especially useful when you are sharing your blueprints with others. A single file is much easier to manage than a directory of files.

For example, you can write multiple blueprints in one file like this:

#dig label(bed1)
d d d d #
d d d d #
d d d d #
d d d d #
# # # # #
#zone label(bed2)
b(4x4)  #
# # # # #
#place label(bed3)
f(2x2)  #
 # # # # #
#build label(bed4)
b   f h #
t c     #
# # # # #

Of course, you could still choose to keep your blueprints in separate files and just give related blueprints similar names:


The naming and organization is completely up to you.

Buildingplan integration

buildingplan is a DFHack plugin that keeps building construction jobs in a suspended state until the materials required for the job are available. This prevents a building designation from being canceled when a dwarf picks up the job but can’t find the materials. quickfort uses buildingplan to manage construction.

This means that buildingplan’s filters will be used for each building type. For example, you can use the buildingplan UI to set the type of stone you want your walls made out of. Or you can specify that all buildingplan-managed chairs and tables must be of Masterful quality. The current filter settings are saved with planned buildings when the #build blueprint is run. You can set the filters the way you want for one blueprint, run the blueprint, and then freely change the filters again for the next blueprint, even if the first set of buildings haven’t been built yet.

Note that buildings are still constructed immediately if you already have the materials. However, with buildingplan you now have the freedom to apply #build blueprints before you manufacture the resources. The construction jobs will be fulfilled whenever the materials become available.

Since it can be difficult to figure out exactly what source materials you need for a #build blueprint, quickfort can autogenerate manager orders for everything that a blueprint requires. See Generating manager orders for more details on this. You can apply a blueprint, then the planned buildings will be built as your dwarves fulfill the orders.

Generating manager orders

Quickfort can generate manager orders to make sure you have the proper items in stock for a #build blueprint.

Many items can be manufactured from different source materials. Orders will always choose rock when it can, then wood, then cloth, then iron. You can always remove orders that don’t make sense for your fort and manually enqueue a similar order more to your liking. For example, if you want silk ropes instead of cloth ropes, make a new manager order for an appropriate quantity of silk ropes, and then remove the generated cloth rope order.

Anything that requires generic building materials (workshops, constructions, etc.) will result in an order for a rock block. One “Make rock blocks” job produces four blocks per boulder, so the number of jobs ordered will be the number of blocks you need divided by four (rounded up). You might end up with a few extra blocks, but not too many.

If you want your constructions to be in a consistent color, be sure to choose a rock type for all of your ‘Make rock blocks’ orders in the manager orders screen. You might also want to set the rock type for other non-block orders to something different if you fear running out of the type of rock that you want to use for blocks. You should also set the buildingplan material filter for construction building types to that type of rock as well so other blocks you might have lying around aren’t used.

Extra Manager Orders

In #build blueprints, there are a few building types that will generate extra manager orders for related materials:

  • Track stops will generate an order for a minecart

  • Traction benches will generate orders for a table, mechanism, and rope

  • Levers will generate an order for an extra two mechanisms for connecting the lever to a target

  • Cage traps will generate an order for a cage

Stockpiles in #place blueprints that specify wheelbarrow or container counts will generate orders for the appropriate number of bins, pots, or wheelbarrows.

Tips and tricks

  • After digging out an area, you may wish to smooth and/or engrave the area before starting the build phase, as dwarves may be unable to access walls or floors that are behind/under built objects.

  • If you are designating more than one level for digging at a time, you can make your miners more efficient by using marker mode on all levels but one. This prevents your miners from digging out a few tiles on one level, then running down/up the stairs to do a few tiles on an adjacent level. With only one level “live” and all other levels in marker mode, your miners can concentrate on one level at a time. You just have to remember to “unmark” a new level when your miners are done with their current one. Alternately, if you have a chokepoint between levels (e.g. a central staircase), you can set the chokepoint to be dug at a lower priority than all the other tiles on the level. This will ensure your miners complete digging out a level before continuing on to the next.

  • As of DF 0.34.x, it is no longer possible to build doors at the same time that you build adjacent walls. Doors must now be built after adjacent walls are constructed. This does not affect the more common case where walls exist as a side-effect of having dug-out a room in a #dig blueprint, but if you are building your own walls, be aware that walls must be built before you run the blueprint to designate attached doors.

  • Quickfort is a very powerful tool. See the case study below for more ideas on how to build awesome blueprints!

Caveats and limitations

  • Weapon traps and upright spear/spike traps can currently only be built with a single weapon.

  • Pressure plates can be built, but they cannot be usefully configured yet.

  • Building instruments is not yet supported.

  • DFHack Quickfort is a large project, and there are bound to be bugs! If you run into any, please report them at the DFHack issue tracker so they can be addressed.

Dreamfort case study: a practical guide to advanced blueprint design

While syntax definitions and toy examples will certainly get you started with your blueprints, it may not be clear how all the quickfort features fit together or what the best practices are, especially for large and complex blueprint sets. This section walks through the “Dreamfort” blueprints found in the DFHack blueprint library, highlighting design choices and showcasing practical techniques that can help you create better blueprints. Note that this is not a guide for how to design the best fort (there is plenty about that on the wiki). This is essentially an extended tips and tricks section focused on how to make usable and useful quickfort blueprints that will save you time and energy.

Almost every quickfort feature is used somewhere in Dreamfort, so the blueprints are very useful as reference examples. You can copy the Dreamfort blueprints and use them as starting points for your own, or just refer to them when you create something similar.

In this case study, we’ll start by discussing the high level organization of the Dreamfort blueprint set. Then we’ll walk through the spreadsheets for each of the fort levels in turn, calling out feature usage examples and explaining the parts that might not be obvious just from looking at them.

If you haven’t built Dreamfort before, maybe try an embark in a relatively flat area and take it for a spin! It will help put the following sections in context. There is also a pre-built Dreamfort available for download on dffd if you just want an interactive reference.

Dreamfort organization and packaging

The Dreamfort blueprints are distributed with DFHack as one large .csv file, but editing in that format would be frustrating. Instead, the blueprints are edited online as Google drive spreadsheets. Either the .csv file or the .xlsx files can be read and applied by quickfort, but it made more sense to distribute the blueprints as a .csv so players would only have to remember one filename. Also, .csv files are text-based, which works more naturally with the DFHack source control system. We use the xlsx2csv utility to do the conversion from .xlsx to .csv format.

Each spreadsheet has a “help” sheet with a #notes blueprint that displays a walkthrough and other useful details. This is the first sheet in each spreadsheet so it will be selected by default if the user doesn’t specify a label name. For example, just running quickfort run library/dreamfort.csv will display Dreamfort’s introduction text.

Do not neglect writing the help text! Not only will it give others a chance to use your blueprints appropriately, but the help you write will remind you what you were thinking when you wrote the blueprint in the first place.

The surface level: how to manage complexity

Annotated screenshot of the dreamfort surface level

For smaller blueprints, packaging and usability are not really that important - just write it, run it, and you’re done. However, as your blueprints become larger and more detailed, there are some best practices that can help you deal with the added complexity. Dreamfort’s surface level is many steps long since there are trees to be cleared, holes to be dug, flooring to be laid, and bridges to be linked to control levers, and each step requires the previous step to be completely finished before it can begin. Therefore, a lot of thought went into minimizing the toil associated with applying so many blueprints.

The single most effective way to make your blueprint sets easier to use is to group them with meta blueprints. For the Dreamfort set of blueprints, each logical “step” generally takes more than one blueprint. For example, with #meta blueprints, setting up pastures with a #zone blueprint, placing starting stockpiles with a #place blueprint, and building starting workshops with a #build blueprint can all be done with a single command. Bundling blueprints with #meta blueprints reduced the number of steps in Dreamfort from 100 to about 25, and it also made it much clearer to see which blueprints can be applied at once without unpausing the game. Check out dreamfort_surface’s “meta” sheet to see how much meta blueprints can simplify your life.

You can define as many blueprints as you want on one sheet, but this is especially useful when writing meta blueprints. It’s like having a bird’s eye view of your entire plan in one sheet.

If a blueprint is bundled into a meta blueprint, it does not need to appear in the gui/quickfort blueprint load dialog or quickfort list output since you won’t be running it directly. Add a hidden() marker to those blueprints to keep the list output tidy. You can still access hidden blueprints by toggling the “Hidden” setting in gui/quickfort or by passing the --hidden option to quickfort list if you need to, for example to reapply a partially completed #build blueprint, but now they won’t clutter up the normal blueprint list.

This goes for both the file name and the modeline label(). Searching and filtering is implemented for both gui/quickfort and the quickfort list command. If you give related blueprints a common prefix, it makes it easy to set the filters to display just the blueprints that you’re interested in. If you have a lot of blueprints, this can save you a lot of time. Dreamfort uses the level name as a prefix for the labels, like “surface1”, “surface2”, “farming1”, etc. So if I’m in the middle of applying the surface blueprints, I’d set the filter to dreamfort surface to just display the relevant blueprints.

If you’ve been away from Dwarf Fortress for a while, it’s easy to forget what your blueprints actually do. Make use of modeline comments so your descriptions are visible in the blueprint list. If you use meta blueprints, all your comments can be conveniently edited on one sheet, like in surface’s meta sheet.

Messages are displayed after a blueprint is applied. Good things to include in messages are:

  • The name of the next blueprint to apply and when to run it

  • Whether orders should be generated for the current or an upcoming step

  • Any actions that you have to perform manually after running the blueprint, like assigning minecarts to hauling routes or pasturing animals in newly-created zones

These things are just too easy to forget. Adding a message() can save you from time-wasting mistakes. Note that message() markers can still appear on the hidden() blueprints, and they’ll still get shown when the blueprint is run via a #meta blueprint. For an example of this, check out the zones sheet where the pastures are defined.

The farming level: fun with stockpiles

Annotated screenshot of the dreamfort farming level

It is usually convenient to store closely associated blueprints in the same spreadsheet. The farming level is very closely tied to the surface because the miasma vents dug on the surface have to perfectly line up with where rottables can accumulate on the farming level. However, surface is a separate z-level and, more importantly, already has many many blueprints of its own. Farming is therefore split into a separate file.

The farming level starts doing interesting things with stockpiles in its #place blueprints. Note the careful customization of the food stockpiles and the stockpile chains set up with the take_from and give_to properties. For example, the “Seeds” stockpile is set to link_only=true and the “Seeds feeder” stockpile has containers=0 and give_to=Seeds. This minimizes container churn for the common task of seed recovery. When finding the named stockpiles to link, quickfort will search the other stockpiles created in the same blueprint first. If no stockpiles by that name are found, then existing stockpiles/workshops are searched. This is how many of the stockpiles on this level are configured to take from the starter stockpiles on the surface.

Hauling routes are notoriously fiddly to set up by hand, but they can be easily automated with blueprints. Check out the Southern area of the #place and #build blueprints for how the quantum refuse dump is configured with simple take_from and route properties attached to the track stop.

The industry level: advanced linking

Annotated screenshot of the dreamfort industry level

The industry level is densely packed and has more intracate stockpile and hauling route configuration.

In order to be a target for a stockpile or workshop link, the stockpile or building must have a name. That’s not the only reason you should give things names, though. The game is just much easier to play when stockpiles and key buildings have descriptive names. Which lever controls the bridge named “Right outer gate”? You can click on that bridge, click on “show linked buildings”, zoom to the lever, and click on the lever. Or you can scan your mouse over the levers and click on the lever with the same name as the target bridge. You can always edit names in-game, but blueprints are a great way to automate this task.

Some of the feeder stockpiles on this level are split up so that no one item type can fill the whole pile. The track stops that drive the quantum stockpiles have to take from all of them at once. When specifying multiple link targets that have spaces in their names, remember to surround the whole list with quotes. For example:

trackstopW{name="Goods/wood dumper" take_from="Wood feeder,Goods feeder,Furniture feeder" route="Goods/wood quantum"}

The services level: handling multi-level dig blueprints

Annotated screenshot of the dreamfort services level

Services is a multi-level blueprint that includes a well cistern beneath the main level. Unwanted ramps caused by channeling are an annoyance, but we can avoid getting a ramp at the bottom of the cistern with careful use of dig priorities.

We can ensure the bottom level is carved out before the layer above is channeled by assigning the channel designations lower priorities (the h5s in the lower layers – scroll down on the blueprint spreadsheet). This works here because there is only a single column of higher-priority stairs for a dwarf to dig down to get below the lower-priority channels. If the dig area has multiple tiles exposed, it is harder to control dig order since a second dwarf may not have access to any higher-priority tiles and may start digging the lower-priority designations prematurely.

An alternative is to have a follow-up blueprint that removes any undesired ramps. We did this on the surface and farming levels with the miasma vents since it would be too complicated to synchronize simultaneous digging of the two layers.

The guildhall level: avoiding smoothing issues

Annotated screenshot of the dreamfort guildhall level

The goal of this level is to provide rooms for locations like guildhalls, libraries, and temples. The value of these rooms is very important, so we are likely to smooth and engrave everything. To smooth or engrave a wall tile, a dwarf has to be adjacent to it, and since some furniture, like statues, block dwarves from entering a tile, where you put them affects what you can access.

In the guildhall level, the statues are placed so as not to block any wall corners. This gives the player freedom for choosing when to smooth. If a statue blocks a corner, or if a line of statues blocks a wall segment, it forces the player to smooth before building the statues. Otherwise they have to bother with temporarily removing statues to smooth the walls behind them.

The suites level: balance of flexibility

Annotated screenshot of the dreamfort noble suites

In designing this level, we needed to choose between two approaches:

  1. Create rooms with specific, pre-determined purposes, laying out furniture and zoning with appropriate types

  2. Lay out each room the same so each can serve any purpose

Each has pros and cons. The first option reduces more toil by pre-creating the zones. If we go this route, we can also auto-assign the rooms to the various roles (if they exist when the blueprint is run). Each room can be customized for its intended purpose: offices can look like offices, bedrooms could look like bedrooms, and so on. However, if the needs of the fort don’t correspond to the pre-determined layouts, or if the needs of the fort change significantly, then the blueprint can become more of a hinderance than a help.

As you can see from the screenshot, we went with option 2. The ability to re-zone arbitrarily to meet changing noble needs was too great of a benefit to ignore. The downside, of course, is that you have to zone and assign your own rooms. However, as soon as you gain a barony or a duchy, you’d be doing that anyway with option 1.

With option 2, if you need a “better” bedroom, you’d just expand the zone to cover the neighboring “unit”. Satisfying the monarch is also simple: plop down a new suites level and assign each block of 4 rooms to one zone. four units for the bedroom, four for the office, four for the dining hall, and four for the tomb. Smooth and engrave and you’re done. Of course, more asthetic-minded players are always free to design custom areas too. These blueprints are designed to be functional more than beautiful.

The beds and crypt levels: copy and paste and repeat

Annotated screenshot of the dreamfort apartments Annotated screenshot of the dreamfort crypt

The apartments and crypt blueprints are straightforward, other than the sheer number of zones. Copy-paste in Google Sheets was used heavily here. The only fancy bit is the meta blueprint that digs the stack of apartment levels, which brings us to our final tip:

We couldn’t use this technique for the entire fortress since there is often an aquifer between the farming and industry levels, and we can’t know beforehand how many z-levels we need to skip. We can, however, automate the digging of everything from the industry level down, including designating all apartment levels at once. See the #meta blueprint in the Dreamfort help spreadsheet for how it uses a repeat() marker for the /apartments1 blueprint to apply it to three z-levels at once.

That’s it! I hope this guide was useful to you. Please leave feedback on the forums or on the DFHack Discord server if you have ideas on how this guide (or the dreamfort blueprints themselves) can be improved!

Appendix: Symbols and properties

#dig mode reference




dig (mine out walls but leave the floors)


channel (empty tile with a ramp in the z-level below)


up stair


down stair


up/down stair


ramp (produces empty tile in the z-level above)


remove up stairs/ramps


chop trees


gather plants


smooth walls or floors


engrave smoothed walls or floors


carve fortification


carve track


toggle whether engraving details are visible


toggle marker (called “blueprints” by the DF interface)


remove construction


remove designation


claim items on this tile


forbid items on this tile


melt items on this tile


remove melt flag from items on this tile


dump items on this tile


remove dump flag from items on this tile


hide items on this tile


unhide items on this tile


set high traffic


set normal traffic


set low traffic


set restricted traffic


carve track that extends to the north


carve track that extends to the south


carve track that extends to the east


carve track that extends to the west


carve track that extends to the north and south


carve track that extends to the east and west


carve track that extends to the north and east (corner)


carve track that extends to the north and west (corner)


carve track that extends to the south and east (corner)


carve track that extends to the south and west (corner)


carve track that extends to the north, south, and east (tee)


carve track that extends to the north, south, and west (tee)


carve track that extends to the north, east, and west (tee)


carve track that extends to the south, east, and west (tee)


carve track that extends in all directions (cross)

You can carve a track over an existing natural ramp to allow a minecart to safely traverse z-levels. You can write trackramp<dir> instead of track<dir> (e.g. trackrampSW) for clarity in blueprints where this is the intention. The actual designation produced by track<dir> and trackramp<dir> is identical.

#zone mode reference





meeting area




dining hall





pond: if set to true, then the zone is a pond


water source














archery range

shoot_from: can be any of: west, left, east, right, north, top, south, or bottom. defaults to west.


garbage dump


animal training



pets: if set to true then pets are allowed. citizens: if set to false then citizens are not allowed.


gather/pick fruit

pick_trees, pick_shrubs, gather_fallen: all are set to true by default. set to false to disable.



In addition to the type-specific properties listed above, all zones support the following properties:




the name of the zone


if set to false then the zone is deactivated


if set to the name of a noble position (like manager or bookkeeper or sheriff) then the zone will be assigned to the unit appointed to the indicated noble position (if any). if the fort has progressed to the point that the sheriff role has been replaced by the captain of the guard, then assigned_unit=sheriff will be interpreted as assigned_unit=captain_of_the_guard.


the type of location to create and attach the zone to: one of: hospital, guildhall, tavern, library, or temple. To attach multiple zones to the same location, specify a label after the location type and use the same label for all attached zones. For example: location=tavern/mainpub.


(only if location is also set) sets the access restriction for the attached location: one of: visitors, residents, citizens, or members. defaults to visitors.


(only if location=guildhall) sets the profession of the guildhall. See possilbe values with :lua @df.profession. For example: profession=metalsmith.


(only if the location is set to the relevant type) sets the desired number of stocked items for the attached location. See the table below for details.

Here are the desired items that can be specified for each location type:

Location type



desired_goblets (defaults to 10), desired_instruments (defaults to 5)


desired_splints (defaults to 5), desired_thread (defaults to 5), desired_cloth (defaults to 5), desired_crutches (defaults to 5), desired_powder (defaults to 5), desired_buckets (defaults to 2), desired_soap (defaults to 5)


desired_paper (defaults to 10)


desired_instruments (defaults to 5)

#place mode reference

The symbol or symbols used to declare a stockpile determine which item categories are enabled by default as well as which stockpile containers (e.g. bins/barrels/wheelbarrows) are assigned to the stockpile by default.



























bars and blocks















finished goods










All stockpiles support the following properties:




the name of the stockpile


comma-separated list of names or building ids of stockpiles or workshops that the stockpile takes from


comma-separated list of names or building ids of stockpiles or workshops that the stockpile gives to


if set to true then the stockpile will only take from links


the number of desired barrels


the number of desired bins


the number of desired wheelbarrows


sets the desired numbers for barrels, bins, and wheelbarrows. this is most useful to set all desired container counts to 0.


if set to true, then sets containers=0 links_only=true


if set to true, enables the corresponding logistics feature


if set to true, enables the corresponding logistics feature


if set to true, enables the corresponding logistics feature


if set to true, enables the corresponding logistics feature

Note that specifying building IDs in take_from or give_to lists is primarily useful when dynamically generating quickfort blueprints and applying them via the API. You will not generally know the ID of a stockpile or building when writing a blueprint by hand or when preparing a blueprint to apply in a different fort.

#build mode reference

In addition to the type-specific properties listed in the symbol table below, all building types accept the name property.

Moreover, all workshops and furnaces (both called “workshops” below) accept the following “profile” properties:




the maximum number of general workorders that the workshop will accept


comma-separated list of names or building ids of stockpiles that the workshop takes from


comma-separated list of names or building ids of stockpiles that the workshop gives to


comma-separated list of labors that should be enabled for the workshop. all unlisted labors for the workshop will be disabled.


comma-separated list of labors that should be disabled for the workshop. all unlisted labors for the workshop will be left enabled. if both the labor and labor_mask properties are specified, the labor property takes precedence.


the minimum skill rating for units that perform jobs at the workshop


the maximum skill rating for units that perform jobs at the workshop

For the labor and labor_mask properties, you can use either the labor ID or the readable caption string. You can see both options by running:

:lua for idx,name in ipairs(df.unit_labor) do cap=df.unit_labor.attrs[idx].caption if cap then print(('%22s %25s'):format(name, cap)) end end

For example, you can specify either BONE_CARVE or "Bone Carving" (it contains a space – don’t forget the surrounding quotes!) to indicate the bone carving labor.

Likewise, for the min_skill and max_skill properties, you can specify either the skill rating ID or the readable caption string. You can see both options by running:

:lua for idx,name in ipairs(df.skill_rating) do cap=df.skill_rating.attrs[idx].caption if cap then print(('%22s %25s'):format(name, cap)) end end





armor stand






burial receptacle






floor hatch


wall grate


floor grate


vertical bars


floor bars






weapon rack








bridge (retracting)


bridge (raises to north)


bridge (raises to east)


bridge (raises to south)


bridge (raises to west)




glass window


gem window


trade depot


screw pump (pumps from north)


screw pump (pumps from east)


screw pump (pumps from south)


screw pump (pumps from west)


water wheel (vertical)


water wheel (horizontal)


gear assembly


horizontal axle (east-west)


horizontal axle (north-south)


vertical axle


roller (pushes to south)

speed: one of 50000, 40000, 30000, 20000, or 10000. defaults to 50000.


roller (pushes to west)



roller (pushes to north)



roller (pushes to east)





animal trap






archery target


traction bench


nest box



if do_install is set to true then a bee colony will be installed. if do_gather is set to true then hive products will be gathered.


offering place




display furniture


farm plot

if seasonal_fertilize is set to true then the plots will be configured for seasonal fertilization


paved road


dirt road


vermin catcher


leather works
















magma forge












siege workshop
















soap maker


screw press


wood furnace




magma smelter


glass furnace


magma glass furnace




magma kiln












up stair


down stair


up/down stair




track stop (no dumping)

friction: one of 50000, 10000, 500, 50, or 10. defaults to 50000. take_from: create a hauling route stop on this track stop and make it take from the given comma-separated list of stockpile names or stockpile building ids. route: add this route stop to the named route. if no route of this name exists, it will be created. If no route name is given, a new route is always created.


track stop (dump to north)

friction, take_from, route


track stop (dump to south)

friction, take_from, route


track stop (dump to east)

friction, take_from, route


track stop (dump to west)

friction, take_from, route


stone-fall trap


weapon trap




pressure plate


cage trap


upright spear/spike


track to the N


track to the S


track to the E


track to the W


track to the N, S


track to the E, W


track corner to the N, E


track corner to the N, W


track corner to the S, E


track corner to the S, W


track tee to the N, S, E


track tee to the N, S, W


track tee to the N, E, W


track tee to the S, E, W


track cross


track ramp to the N


track ramp to the S


track ramp to the E


track ramp to the W


track ramp to the N, S


track ramp to the E, W


track ramp corner to the N, E


track ramp corner to the N, W


track ramp corner to the S, E


track ramp corner to the S, W


track ramp tee to the N, S, E


track ramp tee to the N, S, W


track ramp tee to the N, E, W


track ramp tee to the S, E, W


track ramp cross

#burrow mode reference






name: if set, will add to an existing burrow of this name. create: if set to true, will create a burrow with the specified name if it doesn’t already exist. civalert: if set to true, will register this burrow with gui/civ-alert if no burrow has already been registered. autochop_clear: if set to true, register the burrow with autochop so that all trees in the burrow are immediately chopped down, regardless of how many logs are in stock. autochop_chop: if set to true, register the burrow with autochop so that woodcutting activity is constrained to this burrow (and others marked for chop).



name: if set, will only affect the first burrow of the given name. if not set, will affect all burrows that cover the given tiles.