Standard theta-2 theta and pole figure X-ray diffraction techniques were used to study structural properties and preferred orientation of nanostructured TiAIN thin films prepared using cathodic are deposition. Systematic collection of reflections from lattice planes {111}, {200}, {220}, and {311} showed that the in-plane orientation of crystallites exhibits cylindrical symmetry with random distribution of crystallites, while the out-of-plane growth presents strong texture which is inclined with respect to the surface normal. This brings the crystallographic orientation of fibre texture towards high indices lattice planes (113) and (115) contrary to traditionally grown films that develop a preferred orientation following to low indices close-packed planes (111) and (200). The origin of inclined growth is discussed taking into account the role of crystallographic defects in particular twin faults that develop in the lattice of growing crystal and change the stacking sequences of atom layers. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.