Background Metabolic and cardiovascular health problems have become a major focus for clinical care and research in schizophrenia. Aims To evaluate the content and quality of screening guidelines for cardiovascular risk in schizophrenia. Method Systematic review and quality assessment of guidelines/recommendations for cardiovascular risk in people with schizophrenia published between 2000 and 2010, using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE). Results The AGREE domain scores varied between the 18 identified guidelines. Most guidelines scored best on the domains 'scope and purpose' and 'clarity of presentation'. The domain 'rigour of development' was problematic in most guidelines, and the domains 'stakeholder involvement' and 'editorial independence' scored the lowest. The following measurements were recommended (in order of frequency): fasting glucose, body mass index, fasting triglycerides, fasting cholesterol, waist, high-density lipoprotein/low-density lipoprotein, blood pressure and symptoms of diabetes. In terms of interventions, most guidelines recommended advice on physical activity, diet, psychoeducation of the patient, treatment of lipid abnormalities, treatment of diabetes, referral for advice and treatment, psychoeducation of the family and smoking cessation advice. Compared across all domains and content, four European guidelines could be recommended. Conclusions Four of the evaluated guidelines are of good quality and should guide clinicians' screening and monitoring practices. Future guideline development could be improved by increasing its rigour and assuring user and patient involvement.