Abstract ZnO film is attractive for high frequency surface acoustic wave device application when it is coupled with diamond. In order to get good performance and reduce insertion loss of the device, it demands the ZnO film possessing high electrical resistivity and piezoelectric coefficient d 33. Doping ZnO film with some elements may be a desirable method. In this paper, the ZnO films undoped and doped with Cu, Ni, Co and Fe, respectively (doping concentration is 2.0 at.%) are prepared by magnetron sputtering. The effect of different dopants on the microstructure, piezoelectric coefficient d 33, and electrical resistivity of the film are investigated. The results indicate that Cu dopant can enhance the c-axis orientation and piezoelectric coefficient d 33, the Cu and Ni dopant can increase electrical resistivity of the ZnO film up to 10 9 Ω cm. It is promising to fabricate the ZnO films doped with Cu for SAW device applications.