By means of capillary electrophoresis coupled online to electrospray ionization MS, a library of theoretically 171 disubstituted xanthene derivatives was analyzed. The method allowed the purity and makeup of the library to be determined: 160 of the expected compounds were found to be present, and 12 side-products were also detected in the mixture. Due to the ability of capillary electrophoresis to separate analytes on the basis of charge, most of the xanthene derivatives could be resolved by simple capillary electrophoresis-MS procedures even though 124 of the 171 theoretical compounds were isobaric with at least one other molecule in the mixture. Any remaining unresolved peaks were resolved by MS/MS experiments. The method shows promise for the analysis of small combinatorial libraries with fewer than 1000 components.