We report the first studies on the formation of an elongated plasma column suitable for X-ray laser experiments, using a gas puff target irradiated with a high-power laser. The gas puff targets, produced by pulsed injection of a small amount of gas from a high-pressure solenoid valve through a nozzle in the form of a slit, have been characterized by optical interferometry and X-ray backlighting. The formation of a hot plasma column up to 30-mm-long is demonstrated. The spatial uniformity of the column was monitored by means of an X-ray pinhole camera. XUV spectra measurements for SF6 gas puff targets show predominant 3–2 line of hydrogenic fluorine (λ = 8.1 nm), however, only linear increasing of its intensity with the target length was observed.