In this work, we have successfully fabricated micro- and nanosized magnetic elements by using capillary force lithography, which combines the essential feature of nanoimprint lithography. The magnetic configurations and magnetization reversal mechanism in elliptical Co elements with an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 were investigated using the magneto-optical microscope magnetometer and micromagnetic simulation. The magnetization reversal mechanism was found to take place by the formation and annihilation of two vortices in both the elliptical dot and ring patterns with an external field applied along the major axis. It was also observed that the two vortices evolved with mirror symmetry and center of inversion symmetry for the case of elliptical ring and dot patterns, respectively. (C) 2006 American Institute of Physics.