Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) is a three-dimensional imaging modality that has recently become available on linear accelerators for radiotherapy patient position verification. It was the aim of the present study to implement simple strategies for reduction of the dose delivered in a commercial CBCT system. The dose delivered in a CBCT procedure (Varian, half-fan acquisition, 650 projections, 125 kVp) was assessed using a cylindrical Perspex phantom (diameter, 32 cm) with a calibrated Farmer type ionisation chamber. A copper filter (thickness, 0.15 mm) was introduced increasing the half value layer of the beam from 5.5 mm Al to 8 mm Al. Image quality and noise were assessed using an image quality phantom (CatPhan) while the exposure settings per projection were varied from 25 ms/80 mA to 2 ms/2 mA per projection. Using the copper filter reduced the dose to the phantom from approximately 45 mGy to 30 mGy at standard settings (centre/periphery weighting 1/3 to 2/3). Multiple CBCT images were acquired for six patients with pelvic malignancies to compare CBCTs with and without a copper filter. Although the reconstructed image is somewhat noisier with the filter, it features similar contrast in the centre of the patient and was often preferred by the radiation oncologist because of greater image uniformity. The X-ray shutters were adjusted to the minimum size required to obtain the desired image volume for a given patient diameter. The simple methods described here reduce the effective dose to patients undergoing daily CBCT and are easy to implement, and initial evidence suggests that they do not affect the ability to identify soft tissue for the purpose of treatment verification.