Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis is a basic tool for diagnosis of neurological diseases. Knowledge regarding blood-CSF barrier function (molecular flux/CSF flow theory) and neuroimmunology is reviewed to aid understanding and evaluation of CSF data. Disease-related immunoglobulin patterns (IgG, IgA, IgM with reference to albumin) are described in CSF/serum quotient diagrams with the hyperbolic reference range for blood-derived protein fractions in CSF. Clinical relevance of complementary analyses (cytology, PCR, oligoclonal IgG, antibody detection and brain-derived proteins) is briefly discussed. Integrated CSF data reports are shown with numerical and graphical data representation, reference range-related interpretation and diagnosis-related comments. The principles and rationale of general CSF analysis reported in this review should enable the reader to accurately interpret CSF data profiles, and to plan a proper evaluation of new brain- or blood-derived analytes in CSF.