We present an improved version of one-against-all method for multiclass SVM classification based on subset sample selection, named reduced one-against-all, to achieve high performance in large multiclass problems. Reduced one-against-all drastically decreases the computing effort involved in training one-against-all classifiers, without any compromise in classification accuracy. Computational comparisons on publicly available datasets indicate that the proposed method has comparable accuracy to that of conventional one-against-all method, but with an order of magnitude faster. On the largest dataset considered, reduced one-against-all method achieved 50% reduction in computing time over one-against-all method for almost the same classification accuracy. We further investigated reduced one-against-all with linear kernel for multi-label text categorization applications. Computational results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method on both the text corpuses considered. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.