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Uniaxial magnetic anisotropy induced in iron thin films by the oblique incidence of deposition particles was investigated by computer simulation. In the simulation, the self‐shadowing effect was considered mainly to explain changes in the magnetic anisotropy of iron films with the incident angle. The simulated grain shape in the film changes significantly with the incident angle of deposition particles. Grains elongated in a direction normal to the incidence direction of depositing particles were clearly observed in simulated film deposited with an incidence angle around 60°. However, the film deposited at an incidence angle of 80° had columnar grains separated from each other and inclined to the incidence direction. Changes in the uniaxial magnetic anisotropy of the film can be qualitatively explained by the shape anisotropy of these grains in the film. The decrease in saturation magnetization of these films with incident angle seems to be mainly caused by the formation of a porous film. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.