The morphology, and also the chemical and phase composition of sprayed SnO2 films doped with Cu, Zr, Fe and P have been investigated. It was found that in general, the film morphology was characterized by a fine grained basic layer with a few large crystallites located on the surface. All the doping elements decreased the grain size in the basic layer. For Fe, Zr and P the grain size depended on the doping level in the spray solution. It was established that the dopant:Sn ratio in the films was much lower than that in the spray solution. The doping element was preferentially accomodated in the large crystallites with only a small quantity of the dopant being introduced into the basic layer. The gas sensing properties of the films have are discussed on the basis of these results. © 1996 Chapman & Hall.