Abstract The need for feature selection and dimension reduction is felt as a fundamental step in security assessment of large power systems in which the number of features representing the state of power grids dramatically increases. These large amounts of attributes are not proper to be used for computational intelligence (CI) techniques as inputs, because it may lead to a time consuming procedure with insufficient results and they are not suitable for on-line purposes and updates. This paper proposes a combined method for an online voltage security assessment in which the dimension of the token data from phasor measurement units (PMUs) is reduced by principal component analysis (PCA). Then, the features with different stability indices are put into several categories and feature selection is done by correlation analysis in each category. These selected features are then given to decision trees (DTs) for classification and security assessment of power systems. The method is applied to 39-bus test system and a part of Iran power grid. It is seen from the results that the DTs with reduced data have simpler splitting rules, better performance in saving time, reasonable DT error and they are more suitable for constant updates.