Z-axis adjustment or initial line thickness?

Can someone help me understand when to adjust the z-offset versus the initial line thickness and other settings. When printing ABS with the quick settings, I was getting some lifting, and the bottom surface showed inconsistencies across the face – i.e., the long diagonal lines across the face were a bit stringy and course looking, but they would get wider/flatter out toward the edges. I increased the initial layer thickness .05mm, and slowed down the speed of the first layer, and increased the initial width to 130 (from 125), and the combo of those things did seem to help. The individual lines look more uniform without being stringy, and the print is sticking much better.

I’m just trying to figure out if I’m on the right path or if I should be messing with the z-offset in addition or intead of these other settings. What are the circumstances/issues that would warrant changing the z-offset?

A Z-offset would get you closer to better adhesion if that’s the goal. Initial extrusion width and % of layer will make the bottom look more like a solid… the z-offset will help also with squashing down the extrusion.

I changed my Z offset due to the reasons you state; bottom layer not smooth, a bit stringy in places, etc. The standard is -1.2 mm and I did a bit of tweaking and settled on -1.45, which gives the tiniest of elephant’s foot but the bottom layer is lovely.