Preamble This protocol is proposed for the evaluation of automated blood cell counters to assess the performance, advantages and limitations of such instruments. It is based on the International Committee for Standardization in Haematology (ICSH) ‘Protocol for type testing equipment and apparatus used for haematological analysis’ (1978a) and the British Committee for Standardization in Haematology ‘Guidelines for the evaluation of instruments used in haematology’ (Shinton, England & Kennedy, 1982). The document has been prepared by the ICSH Panel on Cytometry after discussion with colleagues. This tentative protocol will be reviewed I year after publication, in accordance with the ICSH rules, before it is adopted as a definitive standard.