In this study, for low atomic number targets and biological compounds, an inelastic mean free path (IMFP) formula and energy straggling parameter formula are presented, being valid for low and high electron energies. In addition, calculation of the continuous slowing down approximation-range (CSDA-range) from the stopping power is also made. The IMFP and the energy straggling parameter formulae are evaluated using the generalized oscillator strength (GOS) model and the exchange correction to the inelastic differential cross section (IDCS) given by Inokuti, M., [1978. Inelastic collisions of fast charged particles with atoms and molecules-the Bethe theory revisited. Rev. Mod. Phys. 50, 23-35]. The IMFP and CSDA-range for the biological compounds C5H5N5 (adenine), C5H5N5O (guanine), C4H5N3O (cytosine), C5H6N2O2 (thymine), C20H27N7O13P2 (cytosine-guanine) and C(19)H(26)NgO(13)P(2) (thymine-adenine) have been introduced for incident electrons in the energy range 20 eV-1 MeV. The calculated results are compared with semiempirical results and other theoretical results, good agreement being found with experimental data and Monte Carlo (PENELOPE code) predictions. All the IMFP versus energy curves exhibit minima around 80 eV. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.