We present a generalized theory to predict the domain configuration in the multilayered structures with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy. In this theory, periodic striped patterns with finite size of domain wall are considered by adopting the Fourier approach to solve Maxwell's equations in the continuum approximation. The present theory has been applied to Co/Pd multilayered system and interestingly, the theory has predicted an abrupt transition from the large-areal domain pattern to the striped one with increasing Co-sublayer thickness. The transition was verified experimentally by direct observations in a series of Co/Pd multilayers with varying Co-sublayer thickness. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.