In the soft X-rays energy region, near edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectra are generally recorded by monitoring yield signals of secondary particles. These secondary particles, electrons or fluorescence photons, follow from the decay of the core hole excited in the primary absorption process. In general the yield signals are, to a good approximation, proportional to the absorption coefficient. However, in several applications it would be desirable to measure the absorption coefficient quantitatively. To derive the absorption coefficient quantitatively from a yield spectrum, one needs to know the escape depth of the emitted electrons (Ne) of the applied yield technique in the material of interest. Since this quantity is difficult to calculate, it is unknown for most materials. In this paper we present the first results of our systematic investigation of the total electron-yield (TEY) escape depth of the 3d transition metals (Fe, Co and Cu). In addition our results gave important information on the variation of the TEY escape depth with the filling of the 3d band. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.