The active preferences are a list of different options from the Vectorworks Preferences and Document Preferences. These preferences are often used, which is why it is handy to have them be easily accessible.
By default, four preferences are active: Zoom in to Line Thickness, Data Bar Options, Standard 3D Projection, and Standard Render Method.
It is possible to add additional options such as Show Clip Cube or Drop Shadow to the bar using the arrow on the right and then activating the preference by clicking in front of the text.
Some options set the default values. For example, if you choose the default rendering method for the “shaded” instead of “wireframe”, a 3D view with the shaded render style automatically appears when you move from a Top/plan to a 3D view.