The effect of carbon doping on the structural and magnetic properties of Mn5Si3Cx films is investigated for different substrate temperatures TS and concentrations x. Samples with x≈0.75 prepared at TS=650–750 K exhibit ferromagnetic order with enhanced ordering temperatures TC well above room temperature in contrast to the undoped antiferromagnetic Mn5Si3 compound. Structural analysis shows that C is incorporated interstitially in the hexagonal Mn5Si3-type structure with a lattice expansion with respect to the undoped compound. The enhanced ferromagnetic order is presumably not simply due to a change of the interatomic Mn–Mn distances but due to a change of the electronic structure and/or exchange interactions. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.