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Electron lithography at micrometer dimensions suffers from a seemingly fatal problem due to proximity effects. Three corrections techniques are discussed. The self‐consistent technique computes the incident electron exposure such that identical average specific fragmentation occurs in each written shape of the pattern. A unique solution, that depends only on the form and on the magnitude of proximity function, is obtained. The unaddressed‐region compensation technique attempts to compensate for proximity effects in regions between shapes; this, however, leads to computational complexities and impracticalities. The shape‐dimension adjustment technique attempts to compute dimension of exposed shapes such that the shapes developed in the resist will have the designed dimension. A set of nonlinear (and impractical) equations are obtained in this case. The implementation of these techniques and the experimental results obtained therefrom are the subject of the two succeeding papers.