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The background effect in electron stimulated desorption ion angular distribution (ESDIAD) measurements due to soft x‐ray production on Si(111)‐(7×7) is investigated. We find that the background intensity from a Si(111)‐(7×7) surface varies linearly with incident electron beam energy and current density. It is also found that the elimination of the background effect (by subtraction) plays a crucial role in both quantitative and qualitative interpretations of digital ESDIAD measurements on silicon, as well as to similar measurements on other surfaces.