Particle-induced x-ray emission (PIXE) is one of several quantitative analyses based on characteristic x-rays. This article provides a detailed account on the principles of PIXE, discussing the data-reduction codes used to identify, integrate, and reduce x-ray peaks into elemental concentrations. It provides information on the calibration of PIXE analysis, which is mostly performed using gravimetric standards to avoid serious absorption, refluorescence, or ion energy change corrections. A comparative study on PIXE and x-ray fluorescence is also included. Finally, the article discusses the applications of PIXE in three areas, namely, atmospheric physics and chemistry, external proton milliprobes and historical analysis, and PIXE microprobes.