Low dielectric constant silica films are made using a surfactant templated sol-gel process (K∼2.5) or an ambient temperature and pressure aerogel process (K∼1.5). This paper will present the in-situ measurement and analysis of stress development during the making of these films, from the onset of drying till the end of heating. The drying stress is measured by a cantilever beam technique; the thermal stress is measured by monitoring the wafer curvature using a laser deflection method. During the course of drying, the surfactant templated films experience a low drying stress due to the influence of the surfactant on surface tension and extent of siloxane condensation. The aerogel films first develop a biaxial tensile stress due to solidification and initial drying. At the final stage of drying where the drying stress vanishes, dilation of the film recreates the porosity of the wet gel state, reducing the residual stress to zero. For the surfactant templated films, very small residual tensile stress remains after the heat treatment is finished (∼30MPa). Aerogel film has almost no measurable stress developed in the calcination process. In situ spectroscopic ellipsometry analysis during drying and heating, and TGA/DTA are all used to help understand the stress development.