Ferroelectric PZT thin films were prepared by sol-gel methods and RF magnetron sputtering. Sputtered PZT fast fired at 650° for 30 minutes showed microporosity. For the sol-gel route, solution precursors had a significant effect on the microstructure of the crystalline PZT films. PZT thin films derived from metal-organic precursors dissolved in n-propanol were observed to have large and microporous spherulitic grains on the order of 2 μm and phase separation in acetic acid-catalyzed films. In contrast, PZT precursors originated from alcohol exchanges with 2-methoxyethanols resulted in dense films with fine grains of ∼0.2 μm and clear evidence of ferroelectric domains. The dense sol-gel films possessed superior dielectric and ferroelectric properties.