The determination of peptides and proteins in a biological matrix normally includes a sample-preparation step to obtain a sample that can be injected into a separation system in such a way that peptides and proteins of interest can be determined qualitatively and/or quantitatively. This can be a rather challenging, labourious and/or time-consuming process. The extract obtained after sample preparation is further separated using a compatible separation system. Liquid chromatography (LC) is the generally applied technique for this purpose, but capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) is an alternative, providing fast, versatile and efficient separations. In this review, the recent developments in the combination of sample-preparation procedures with LC and CZE, for the determination of peptides and proteins, will be discussed. Emphasis will be on purification from and determination in complex biological matrices (plasma, cell lysates, etc.) of these compounds and little attention will be paid to the proteomics area. Additional focus will be put on sample-preparation conditions, which can be 'hard' or 'soft', and on selectivity issues. Selectivity issues will be addressed in combination with the used separation technique and a comparison between LC and CZE will be made. © Springer-Verlag 2005.