SIXTE simulates X-Ray telescope observation; the software performs instrument performance analyses and produces simulated event files for mission and analysis studies. SIXTE strives to find a compromise between exactness of the simulation and speed. Using calibration files such as the PSF, RMF and ARF makes efficient simulations possible at comparably high speed, even though they include nonlinear effects such as pileup. Setups for some current and future missions, such as XMM-Newton and Athena, are included in the package; others can be added by the user with relatively little effort through specifying the main instrument characteristics in a flexible, human-readable XML-based format. Properties of X-ray sources to be simulated are described in a detector-independent format, i.e., the same input can be used for simulating observations with all available instruments, and the same input can also be used for simulations with the SIMX simulator. The input files are easily generated from standard data such as XSPEC (ascl:9910.005) spectral models or FITS images with tools provided with the SIXTE distribution. The input data scale well from single point sources up to very complicated setups.