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An office (called a study in some game-menus) is a room required by certain nobles and administrators. Some higher-ranking nobles require a "throne room", but this is the same thing, just fancier. These can simply be designated from a throne or chair using q, and do not (necessarily) have to be a separate enclosed space separated from other areas by walls and a door.
Note that if you assign an office to a dwarf, sometimes he will eat a meal in his office and complain about the lack of tables. To avoid this thought, put a table next to the chair in said office.
Reducing Office Space
A "meager office" can consist of a 1-tile-big area designated from a single chair, designated as a study/office, and assigned to a particular dwarf. You will probably first encounter this need in the bookkeeper. Assigning one of the chairs in the dining room for him is perfectly acceptable. However, conducting meetings in an office that overlaps with the dining room will cause (other) nobles to be embarrassed, so this might be a bad idea for general practice.
Holding meetings in a bedroom also results in a negative thought, so put the office in a separate room from the bed for nobles who will be conducting meetings.
If you put a table next to the office chair and assign it to be a dining room, both rooms will be used like they are supposed to. However, overlapping rooms drop considerably in value rating, making it harder to meet demands by higher ranking nobles. While this can be countered with high-value furniture (very helpful: artifacts), actual individual areas, designated separately from other areas (whether or not separated by walls) are the easier way to meet demands.
Barracks • Bedroom • Dining room • Dormitory • Jail • Meeting hall • Hospital • Office • Sculpture garden • Tomb • Zoo
Animal trap • Anvil • Armor stand • Bed • Bin • Box • Bucket • Cabinet • Cage • Coffin • Restraint • Seat • Statue • Table • Weapon rack
Fortification • Floor • Stairs • Ramp • Wall
|Machine & Trap parts|
Axle • Gear assembly • Millstone • Screw pump • Water wheel • Windmill • Lever • Pressure plate • Trap • Support
Archery target • Kennel • Shop • Siege engine • Trade depot • Wagon • Well