Final Fantasy XIV has a ton of customization options for a better user experience. Many of these settings are integral to how you control your character’s actions, and are the reason you can’t just sit down and start playing on someone else’s computer. The differences in Keybinds and HUD Layouts are highly personal.
I’ve recently moved countries, and in the process I’ve shuffled some computer components and files around. As a result, I now have to reset all my preferences and configurations when I open up FFXIV again.
I’ve done this before, and I guess I didn’t learn my lesson to set up a backup file. At least this time I decided I would make note here of all the crucial settings I need to remember to adjust. Hopefully this will make the process for myself (and others) a little less daunting in the future.
Important Note: If you hit the ‘Default’ button at the bottom, it will restore all System Configuration settings to default, not just the page you’re on (Display Settings, Sound Settings, etc).
This first section is pretty quick and simple. For the most part I use default settings, but you may want to adjust things like sound, resolution, etc. to your own preferences.
Mostly specific to the monitor you’re using, involving how you like stuff to appear on your screen, including resolution and UI size.
I don’t change this stuff really, but if you do prefer having smaller or larger UI than the default, I recommend deciding on it before you mess with the HUD Layout, as it may change how you interact with those elements.
Super important for me personally. Play specific game sounds in the background (when you’re in another window), toggle mount music, residential music, and battle music.
Obviously, adjust all volume sliders here for different types of sounds. You can even mute other players’ sound effects. No more skill spam headaches in town areas – you have the power!
Again, mostly this will be affect more by how your hardware handles the game, but maybe you have more particular preferences for how things are rendered and displayed.
I only really adjust mouse camera sensitivity here, but you can change your cursor type, size, and tracking as well.
The only thing here is your choice of dark theme or light theme, which they introduced with Shadowbringers.
Select where and how to save screenshots, auto-AFK settings, and group pose/idling settings.
Enable visual alerts (helpful for hearing impaired users), or color filtering (helpful for colorblind users)
Important Note: If you hit the ‘Default’ button at the bottom, it will restore all Character Configuration settings to default, not just the page you’re on (Control Settings, Item Settings, etc).
That said, Mouse Mode and Gamepad Mode Settings are still saved and adjusted separately. Most of my experience is with Mouse Mode, so the settings I point out will be tailored more towards the mouse and keyboard experience. I’m sorry I won’t have much advice to give to gamepad users, but I do hope to try out the game with a controller in the future.
This is one of the first sections I need to change, since I play with Legacy Type movement. Flying Mount Takeoff is whether you need to single or double jump to start flying.
Another big one is ticking all boxes for Cutscene Skipping, so you don’t have to manually skip through opening sequences for old dungeons and alliance raids.
You’ll need to mess with Target settings if you want to auto-lock a target on auto-attack, or if you don’t want to automatically face your target when using an action.
I change Target Type to ‘Cone’, so tab targeting doesn’t target enemies obnoxiously far away (at least not as often). When it’s set to ‘Ignore Depth’ it just goes left to right on the screen, regardless of distance.
Highlighting potential targets is actually kind of a nice feature you can enable, so you know what you’re clicking on if there are multiple targets.
Under the Character tab is where you’ll adjust Battle Effects for your character and others’. I prefer to show all for myself, show limited for my party, and show none for others.
This strikes a nice balance between interesting visuals on screen and keeping overworld effects from being overwhelming (and lagging your game) during FATEs or Elite Mark fights.
Mouse Targeting is something I personally adjust because it’s pretty annoying to accidentally deselect my target during battles.
If you prefer scroll wheel targeting over tab targeting, this is also where you would set that up.
I definitely prefer to change my Inventory Interface to ‘Open All’, and Retainer Inventory Interface to ‘Expanded’, so I can see as much as possible all at once.
I think it’s the default option anyway, but make sure you are not storing all newly obtained items directly in the Armoury Chest. It makes inventory management such a headache.
You can change the map transparency and font size here, which is pretty useful if you have trouble finding your way around the overworld.
This is also the section where you can adjust (or turn off) those windows that pop up when you log in, for the Playguide and Recommendations for nearby quests. I’d probably turn off the Playguide completely, but you may be interested in keeping Recommendations on, or even having it pop up when you change zones.
Under the HUD tab you can adjust the size of flying text if you really care (or really don’t care) about those numbers.
I also like to set the Clock Type here to Eorzea Time, but you can always adjust this simply by clicking on your clock on the screen to cycle through Eorzea, Local, or Server Time.
A really nice setting here is to display Target’s Remaining HP %. In many boss fights this can help you gauge your damage and predict phase changes.
The Party List tab can be important to customize for some players, depending on what jobs you play and how much you target your teammates.
Personally I leave it on default, but I know some people switch up the order of jobs to make targeting easier on Healers or DPS with buffing skills.
Display Name Settings
This is probably highly personal, since there are so many options for displaying names across different groups of Player Characters, Non-Playable Characters, and Enemies.
If you frequent busy areas like endgame hubs, hunt trains, or PvP, you may want to declutter your screen of display names.
I’d suggest first looking at turning off or scaling down titles, companions (chocobos), and pets (minions).
You can also customize colours by clicking on the coloured circle next to each category. The defaults are generally fine, but if you need to create greater distinctions, or just make the game prettier, the options are there.
Hotbar settings are super important and customizable, since they hold most of the actions you’ll be pressing the majority of the time. They go hand in hand with your HUD Layout customization.
I like to Hide Unassigned Slots so I can save valuable screen space and create smaller hotbars near the center, where my focus usually is.
I personally disable Hotbar Cycling, mostly because I’ve had some traumatizing oopsies when I was a new player. It’s pretty disorienting in the middle of a dungeon where suddenly you lose access to half your skills and don’t know why.
You can also disable Drag-and-Drop Repositioning if you’ve gotten your hotbar placement just right and moving it accidentally would be a pain to fix.
Hotbar display and sharing are suited to your individual needs. I usually leave the first four hotbars open for each Job’s needs, and I keep the rest as shared hotbars.
Log Window Settings
This is where you’ll set up your chat preferences, including which types of messages appear in each of your four chat tabs.
You can mess with window transparency and font size to make things easier to read. There are also some cool features you might choose to add like time stamps or different notification sounds for the various chat groups.
Important Note: If you hit the ‘Default’ button at the bottom, it will restore all Keybind settings to default, not just the page you’re on (Movement, Targeting, etc).
Keybinds are the most personal, customized part of setup, so if you’re restarting from default settings, you’ll want to go over these very soon. Assign all the important buttons before you start playing and discover you can’t do something like sprint, target something, or limit break.
The basics. WASD or wherever you like your hand to rest. Strafe if you need it (I don’t use it anyway). Make sure you can Jump, Auto-Run and Toggle Run/Walk. There are a few camera commands here that I expect most players don’t use, aside from maybe Flip Camera, or if you like to mess around with screenshots.
Pretty important, especially for career Healers in how they like to target party members and focus targets. Personally I set up my keybinds for Assist Target and Focus Target and leave most other things at default.
One neat trick here that new players often aren’t aware of is the Target Nearest NPC or Object keybind. I set this to something comfortable and use it fairly often to interact with Quest NPCs and Summoning Bells, both of which can sometimes be obscured by a crowd of players.
A lot of shortcut keybinds are unassigned by default, so it really is up to you and your in-game activities which, if any, you assign. You might be a frequent Fisher, or check your Challenge Log all the time. Maybe you’re always digging through your Emotes, Mounts, or Minions. Whatever you do, consider assigning a keybind shortcut instead of navigating through menus.
If you’re a social butterfly who’s really comfortable with a keyboard, you might make use of some of these keybinds to quickly switch between your preferred chat groups.
There are some useful commands to know here, like Confirm/Cancel, Take Screenshot, and Toggle UI Display Mode.
Keybinds you might want to set up for yourself include ones to Switch HUD Layouts, Log Window Zoom, Mute Master Volume, and find your mouse on a busy screen with Mouse Sonar.
The most important section for combat, you’ll probably have at least 40 buttons to assign if you’ve got a specific custom keybind layout that you’re used to. You can also assign a keybind for Duty Actions here.
You can save up to four HUD Layouts, and even copy/paste them over each other with the gear icon to the right of the Layout slots. This could be useful if you like different layouts for different Jobs or Roles, or if you play on multiple machines and have different screen dimensions. You can always return a specific element or an entire slot to the default settings.
Once again, specific layouts will depend entirely on your personal preferences and also the size of your screen, but there are a few tips I can offer here.
Your Target Info element can be split into three sub-elements: Target Info (HP), Target Info (Progress Bar), and Target Info (Status). These display the enemy’s HP, cast bar, and buffs/debuffs respectively, and I highly recommend splitting it so you can resize and reposition these elements individually.
Placing combat information like the cast bar and debuffs closer to the center of the screen helps you keep on top of relevant information quickly. This way you won’t have to worry about forgetting to look over at the edges of the screen regularly.
For the same reason, positioning your Job Gauge(s) and important skills near the middle, or even increasing their size, might help you learn or play a Job more effectively.
Make use of the UI Element Settings button to resize elements, reshape hotbars, adjust transparency, or even hide the element entirely. You can definitely get lost in the HUD Layout screen for a while messing around with all the different changes you can make.
I hope some of this info has helped you to quickly get back into gaming, and spending less time hunting through menus. These are just the settings that I find have a large, positive impact on my FFXIV experience, which is why I’m sharing them here.
Of course, I still haven’t tested every single setting in the game. So if you found any other hidden gems in the settings that have been game changers for you, let me know in the comments!