Microscopic evaluation of apparent platelet size and morphology was examined in a variety of hematologic disorders. The time of preparation of the blood smear was important. An artifactual increase in platelet size was noted on blood films from 20 normal individuals that were prepared either immediately or 180 min after venipuncture. The clearest differentiation of patient categories was obtained with smears prepared 60 min after venipuncture using blood anticoagulated with K3EDTA. Under these conditions, normal size and morphology values were found in thrombocytopenic patients with aplasia or with increased splenic pooling. In contrast, large size values were a reliable finding in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura patients, whose platelet counts were less than 50,000/microleter. Large size values were also noted in patients with infiltrated bone marrows or myeloproliferative syndromes regardless of the platelet count. The last two groups usually showed abnormal platelet morphology with greater than 10% hypogranular platelets. Normal platelet size and morphology were observed in patients with iron-deficiency and megaloblastic anemias and in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and systemic lupus erythematosus who had normal platelet counts.