The monolayer and LB film-forming properties of 20 structurally related amphiphilic octa-substituted phthalocyanine derivatives have been assessed. The molecular packing within examples of the films has been probed by visible-region spectroscopy and low-angle X-ray diffraction methods. Among derivatives where the aliphatic substituents are attached by ether linkages, there is a variation in the behaviour according to the length of the chains and whether or not the chains are branched. Films are not highly ordered but may contain domains of ordered structure, giving rise to a red-shifted absorption band in the visible spectrum. Analogues where the chains are attached by carbon-carbon bonds show superior monolayer behaviour and are excellent materials for deposition as LB films. Furthermore, there is good evidence from the spectra that change in the length of the alkyl chains provides a means of controlling the type of molecular packing within the films.