Abstract In this paper, a modified widely linear selective mapping (MWL-SLM) scheme is proposed to reduce the peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) of the orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) systems. In the proposed MWL-SLM scheme, through partition one complex signals into two real signals and combining the linear properties of the Fourier Transform, at most 4M2 candidate signals can be obtained but only require M inverse fast Fourier transform (IFFT) operations. As a result, the proposed SLM scheme has the ability to generate more candidates when compared with conventional SLM (C-SLM) and widely linear SLM (WL-SLM). Therefore, MWL-SLM outperforms C-SLM and WL-SLM for the same computational cost of IFFT operations. Alternatively, for a given number of candidates, MWL-SLM has slightly inferior PAPR reduction performance to C-SLM and WL-SLM but requires less IFFT operations to be implemented, thus resulting in a lower computational complexity. Simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed scheme.