Capillary electrophoresis (CE) was coupled off-line with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOFMS) for the analysis of proteins and peptides. CE fractions were collected directly on a matrix-coated MALDI target, using a sheath-flow interface. Protein adsorption during CE separations was prevented by coating the capillaries with the physically adsorbed, cationic polymer PolyE-323. The CE/MALDI-MS system was used for the analysis of model proteins and peptides at physiological pH as well as analysis of proteins in tear fluid. Moreover, tryptic on-target digestion of the collected protein fractions, with subsequent MALDI-MS and MS/MS peptide analysis, was demonstrated. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.