The analysis of biological samples (e.g., blood, urine, saliva, tissue homogenates) by capillary electrophoresis (CE) requires efficient sample preparation (i.e., concentration and clean-up) procedures to remove interfering solutes (endogenous/exogenous and/or low-/high-molecular-mass), (in)organic salts and particulate matter. The sample preparation modules can be coupled with CE either off-line (manual), at-line (robotic interface), on-line (coupling via a transfer line) or in-line (complete integration between sample preparation and separation system). Sample preparation systems reported in the literature are based on chromatographic, electrophoretic or membrane-based procedures. The combination of automated sample preparation and CE is especially useful if complex samples have to be analyzed and helps to improve both selectivity and sensitivity. In this review, the different modes of solid-phase (micro-) extraction will be discussed and an overview of the potential of chromatographic, electrophoretic (e.g., isotachophoresis, sample stacking) and membrane-based procedures will be given. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.