In several design codes and specifications, simplified formulae and charts are given for determining the effective lengths of frame columns. It is shown that these formulae may yield rather erroneous results in certain cases. This is due to the fact that, the code formulae utilise only local stiffness distributions. In this paper, a simplified procedure for determining approximate values for the buckling loads of braced frames is developed. The procedure utilises a fictitious load analysis of frames and yields errors less than 10%, which may be considered suitable for design purposes. The proposed procedure is applied to several numerical examples and it is shown that all the errors are in the acceptable range.