Imaging and small-spot (small area) XPS have become increasingly important components of surface chemical analysis during the last three decades, and its use is growing. Some ambiguity in the use of terminology, understanding of concepts, and lack of appropriate reference materials leads to confusing and not always reproducible data. In this paper, it is shown that by using existing knowledge, appropriate test specimens, and standardized approaches, problems of comparability and such reproducibility issues recently observed for XPS data reported in the scientific literature can be overcome. The standardized methods of ISO 18516:2019, (i) the straight-edge, (ii) the narrow-line, and (iii) the grating method, can be used to characterize and compare the lateral resolution achieved by imaging XPS instruments and are described by reporting examples. The respective measurements are made using new test specimens. When running an XPS instrument in the small-spot (small area) mode for a quantitative analysis of a feature of interest, the question arises as to what contribution to the intensity originates from outside the analysis area. A valid measurement approach to control the intensity from outside the nominal analysis area is also described. As always, the relevant resolution depends on the specific question that needs to be addressed. The strengths and limitations of methods defining resolution are indicated.

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