Extracting miRNA and total RNA from highly degraded archival formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue (FFPE) can be challenging due to combinations of fixation conditions, age, temperature, and storage. In the past few years, interest in the identification, detection and use of small RNA molecules from FFPE samples has rapidly expanded. The small RNA molecules refer to small interfering RNAs (siRNA), non-coding small RNA and regulatory microRNAs (miRNAs). These small RNA molecules, which range between 15-40 nucleotides in length, are not efficiently extracted by traditional precipitation or solid phase methodologies. This technical note describes how the Agencourt SPRI (Solid Phase Reverse Immobilization) magnetic bead based method is superior to the column purification method for purifying miRNA from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues (FFPE). The SPRI method is an easy, rapid, high yielding, robust and automation-friendly nucleic acid purification procedure that does not require centrifugation or filtration steps. This method uses carboxyl-coated magnetic particles that reversibly bind nucleic acids in the presence of binding buffers and crowding reagents. Typically, there are three basic steps in the extraction/purification procedure. In the first step, nucleic acids are immobilized onto the SPRI beads, leaving contaminants in solution. In the second step, a magnetic field is used to attract the micro-particles with bound nucleic acids out of the solution. Contaminants are then aspirated and the micro-particles with bound nucleic acids are thoroughly washed with molecular biology-grade ethanol. In the third step, purified nucleic acids are easily eluted from the micro-particles under low salt aqueous conditions, which provide maximum flexibility for downstream applications. The results show that the SPRI extraction method provides 5 times higher miRNA yield than the column purification method.