An advanced continuous path tracking controller and its application to accurate control of two different linear synchronous motor machine tool axes are described. The controller consists of state feedback, feedforward, and motor ripple compensation. The feedforward aims at zero tracking errors and consists of inverse model pre-filtering. Ripple compensation is implemented in the position control loop and based on an experimentally identified first order approximation of the motor ripple. Both cogging (magnetic ripple) and force ripple (electro-magnetic ripple) are considered. Experiments carried out on the two machine tool axes show that a simple ripple compensation method is necessary and sufficient in order to achieve acceptable tracking errors. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.