© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MRI is a versatile imaging method that probes the chemical exchange between bulk water and exchangeable protons. CEST imaging indirectly detects dilute labile protons via bulk water signal changes following selective saturation of exchangeable protons, which offers substantial sensitivity enhancement and has sparked numerous biomedical applications. Over the past decade, CEST imaging techniques have rapidly evolved owing to contributions from multiple domains, including the development of CEST mathematical models, innovative contrast agent designs, sensitive data acquisition schemes, efficient field inhomogeneity correction algorithms, and quantitative CEST (qCEST) analysis. The CEST system that underlies the apparent CEST-weighted effect, however, is complex. The experimentally measurable CEST effect depends not only on parameters such as CEST agent concentration, pH and temperature, but also on relaxation rate, magnetic field strength and more importantly, experimental parameters including repetition time, RF irradiation amplitude and scheme, and image readout. Thorough understanding of the underlying CEST system using qCEST analysis may augment the diagnostic capability of conventional imaging. In this review, we provide a concise explanation of CEST acquisition methods and processing algorithms, including their advantages and limitations, for optimization and quantification of CEST MRI experiments.