A two-dimensional pencil-beam algorithm is presented for the calculation of arc electron dose distributions in any plane that is perpendicular to the axis of rotation. The dose distributions are calculated by modelling the arced beam as a single broad beam defined by the irradiated surface of the patient. The algorithm is two-dimensional in that the anatomical cross section of the patient and the skin collimators are assumed identical in parallel planes outside the plane of calculation. The broad beam is modelled as a collection of strip beams, each strip beam being characterised by its planar fluence, mean projected angular direction and a root-mean-square spread about the mean direction. Using these parameters, the dose distribution is calculated using pencil-beam theory. Examples of strip-beam parameters and resulting dose distributions for patient geometries are presented. Features of the algorithm, which include (1) incorporation of pencil-beam theory for the calculation of dose in heterogeneous tissue, (2) run times of only about twice that of comparable-sized fixed electron fields and (3) the input requirement of only a single depth dose and four off-axis dose profiles of measured data, make the algorithm practical for clinical use.