This paper presents an overview of the finite element alternating technique for the analysis of interacting cracks. To illustrate the ease and accuracy of this method the technique is used to analyse several problems associated with both widespread fatigue and multi-site damage, a problem which is attracting worldwide attention. Whilst this paper presents an overview of the technique for both two- and three-dimensional problems attention is focused on three-dimensional problems. In particular, the interaction effects between two fully embedded elliptical flaws and between two semi-elliptical surface flaws, and the effects of crack proximity and crack aspect ratio on the stress intensity factors are presented. For semi-elliptical surface flaws these results indicate that as the cracks approach each other the position of the point on the crack front with the highest stress intensity factor shifts. This subsequently suggests that surface cracks will tend to grow preferentially towards each other. The same trend is evidenced for fully embedded cracks. However, in this case there is no shift in the position of the maximum stress intensity factor. A discussion of the results in terms of stress intensity magnification factors is also presented.