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We report our studies of epitaxial growth of CoCrTa films on Cr underlayers and the properties of CoCrTa/Cr multilayers. The coercivity, Hc, strongly depends on Ta composition, sputtering conditions, and the thicknesses of the magnetic layer and Cr underlayer. An Hcvalue of 1300 Oe was obtained for a Ta composition of 2 at. %, a Cr underlayer thickness of 4000 Å, and a magnetic layer thickness of 400 Å. The x-ray data show that the high Hc occurs when crystallites of the Cr underlayer and CoCrTa layer are aligned with the Cr (200) and CoCrTa (110) planes in the film plane. Thus, the c axis of the CoCrTa lies essentially in the plane of the film. When the thickness of the magnetic layer increases above 1000 Å the c axis begins to tip out of the film plane. The basal plane lattice parameter varies roughly linearly with Ta content up to 13 at. %. For the CoCrTa/Cr multilayered films, Hc values up to 1200 Oe were obtained although the c-axis orientation of the magnetic layer becomes somewhat dispersed. Models for the dependence of magnetization reversal on microstructure are discussed. Journal of Applied Physics is copyrighted by The American Institute of Physics. Magnetic and structural properties of CoCrTa films and multilayers with Cr.