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by Ashley Montalvo

The purpose is to allow great flexibility in individual work flow to easily customize maya, even though its confusing at first.

User Preference
The preference window is separated into two categories:
Options to change the main interface- the UI(User Interface) Elements, which lets you change parts that are displayed. Options to specify how objects are displayed.

Choose Window- Setting/Preferences

Choose Window- Settings/Preference- Colors, to open it.
You can also click the color, to change colors. The tabs access to the colors that are currently selected can be activated or inactive. To change the colors of a 3D panel, click 3D view heading and select your color.

Choose Window- Settings/ Preference- Shelves You can create or delete shelves, in which you can add menu items or toolbox items.

To add the item, from a menu to a shelf, hold down

Ctrl+shift+Atl, while selecting the item from the menu.

Hot Keys
Hot keys are shortcuts for access to Maya tools. You can create or organize it youre way, to suit how you work, in the Hot Key Editor.

First, get to know the Hot Key assigned by default before

you decide to start changing things. EJ: Ctrl+h to hide a selected object from view and press

Ctrl+shift+H to unhide.

Marking Menus
Choose Window- Setting/Preference- Marking Menus. The Marking Menus is divided into zones, select the zone that you want to customize and click Edit Marking Menus. To change it, drag the icon or menu item directly onto the location where you want it to appear in the Marking Menus.

The plugin manager

Window- Settings/ Preference- Plug-in Manager.
Here, it lets you load and unload plug-ins for Maya. You can also download it through Photoshop and open it in Maya.

Book: Mastering Maya 7 ,Chapter 1: The Maya interface.