Educational pamphlets are widely used in family practice offices despite few studies on patient attitudes toward this educational technique. The purpose of this study was to: 1) determine how frequently patients perceive that pamphlets are used and how often they are desired; 2) determine what is usually done with pamphlets; and 3) determine patient preferences regarding requesting pamphlets, location of unsolicited pamphlets, techniques of getting pamphlets, and style of pamphlets. In this survey of 360 patients, 90% reported wanting a pamphlet at some or all of their office visits. Overall, 67% reported reading or looking through and saving pamphlets received, 30% read or looked through them and then threw them away, and only 2% threw them away without review. Only 11% of males and 26% of females reported ever asking a doctor for pamphlets. Some conclusions are that: 1) more patients desire pamphlets than are receiving them; 2) most patients do save pamphlets; and 3) patients need encouragement and permission to ask for pamphlets.