In this research, silver particles with different contents were co-deposited within Ni-P coating on AISI 1045 steel samples by electroless plating process and then Ni-P-Ag composite coatings were heat treated at 400 degrees C for 1 h. The concentration of silver particles in Ni-P metallic matrix was determined by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and image analysis software. The phase transformation of deposits was analyzed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential thermal analysis (DTA). Also, the mechanical properties of coatings were evaluated by microhardness and indentation tests. The results showed that the content of silver particles and heat treatment have the great effects on hardness and mechanical properties of Ni-P-Ag electroless composite coatings. Also, heat treatment can lead only to phase transformation in metallic matrix of nanostucture Ni-P-Ag composite coatings. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.