Microstructure and magnetoimpedance (MI) properties of soft magnetic Co73Fe4.5Mn0.5Nb1.0Si4.2B16.8 ribbons with artificial defects have been investigated. The holes of <0.5 mm diameter were created on 5 cm long amorphous ribbon to study the role of demagnetizatizing fields on MI. The MI ratio [MI(%)] decreased by 21% for ribbon with maximum 7 holes. Present results show that the anisotropy induced by artificial defects strongly influences the MI properties. However Joule annealing at an optimum condition enables one to reduce the anisotropy developed by the defects. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.