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DAOSPEC is a Fortran code for measuring equivalent widths of absorption lines in stellar spectra with minimal human involvement. It works with standard FITS format files and it is designed for use with high resolution (R>15000) and high signal-to-noise-ratio (S/N>30) spectra that have been binned on a linear wavelength scale. First, we review the analysis procedures that are usually employed in the literature. Next, we discuss the principles underlying DAOSPEC and point out similarities and differences with respect to conventional measurement techniques. Then experiments with artificial and real spectra are discussed to illustrate the capabilities and limitations of DAOSPEC, with special attention given to the issues of continuum placement; radial velocities; and the effects of strong lines and line crowding. Finally, quantitative comparisons with other codes and with results from the literature are also presented.