Ultrafast 2D NMR allows the acquisition of a 2D spectrum in a single scan. However, even when the acquisition of ultrafast spectra is carried out under optimized conditions, the appearance and the sensitivity of 2D spectra are often not satisfactory compared with what one could expect from this promising methodology. This is due to limitations in terms of sensitivity, spectral width and resolution, and also to non-ideal lineshapes characterized by asymmetric sinc wiggles. Here, we identify the origin of these distortions by means of numerical simulations compared with experimental data. We then propose a processing approach to improve lineshapes while increasing the sensitivity of ultrafast experiments. The method consists in multiplying the Fourier transform of ultrafast echoes by an optimized apodization function. The principles of the method are described, and a variety of window functions are tested to determine optimum processing conditions. The approach is finally applied to ultrafast 2D spectra, leading to symmetric lineshapes with a sensitivity increased by a factor of 2. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.