The amphipathic alpha helix is an often-encountered secondary structural motif in biologically active peptides and proteins. An amphipathic helix is defined as an alpha helix with opposing polar and nonpolar faces oriented along the long axis of the helix. In a recent review article we grouped amphipathic helixes into seven distinct classes (A, H, L, G, K, C, and M) based upon a detailed analysis of their physical-chemical and structural properties (Segrest, J. P., et al. Amphipathic helix motif: classes and properties. Proteins. 1990. 8: 103-117). We have developed five computer programs that automate analysis and classification of potential amphipathic helical domains from primary amino acid sequence data. Here we describe these five programs and illustrate their usefulness by comparing two data sets of sequences representing different amphipathic alpha helical motifs from the exchangeable apolipoproteins. In a companion review article (Segrest, J. P., et al. The amphipathic helix in the exchangeable apolipoproteins: a review of secondary structure and function. J. Lipid Res. 1992. 33: 000-000) these five programs are used to localize and characterize the putative amphipathic helixes in the exchangeable apolipoproteins.