In this paper, a parametrical method is developed to design a magnetic microactuator. The method is based on modeling the magnetic microactuator using the finite element analysis software that can be used to calculate the energy density and magnetic force. Here, the concept of design on experiments (DOE) is used to identify critical parameters that affect the performances of the electromagnetic microactuator. Numerical simulation results from a series of DOE have indicated that the dimension of core and the magnetic material block have the influence on planar electromagnetic actuators. When the length of the magnetic components is equal to that of outer diameter of coil circuit, we obtain the best efficiency in magnetic force. Furthermore, when we increase the thickness of the magnetic materials block or shorten the distance between the coils and magnetic materials block, the magnetic force will increase dramatically. In addition, we can achieve a great magnetic force when the combination ratio of the length of the core is half of the magnetic material block. Simulation results have shown that electromagnetic actuators with high aspect ratio planar cold could sustain higher electrical current that consequently increases the magnetic force. During the realistic fabrication, the thick resist patterning and electroplating technologies is used to fabricate the above-mentioned electromagnetic microactuator. Experimental results indicated that the magnetic force follows closely to the simulation results.© (1999) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.