Measurements of microscope stage movements in the x and y directions are of importance for some stereological methods. Traditionally, the length of stage movements is measured with differing precision and accuracy using a suitable motorized stage, a microscope and software. Such equipment is generally expensive and not readily available in many laboratories. One other challenging problem is the adaptability to available microscope systems which weakens the possibility of the equipment to be used with any kind of light microscope. This paper describes a simple and cheap programmable moving stage that can be used with the available microscopes in the market. The movements of the stage are controlled by two servo-motors and a controller chip via a Java-based image processing software. With the developed motorized stage and a microscope equipped with a CCD camera, the software allows complete coverage of the specimens with minimum overlap, eliminating the optical strain associated with counting hundreds of images through an eyepiece, in a quick and precise fashion. The uses and the accuracy of the developed stage are demonstrated using thin sections obtained from a limestone core plug. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.