Two types or habits of anatase crystals may be distinguished. The commoner occurs as simple acute double pyramids with an indigo-blue to black colour and steely lustre. Crystals of this kind are abundant at Le Bourg d'Oisans in Dauphiné, where they are associated with rock-crystal, feldspar, and axinite in crevices in granite and mica-schist. Similar crystals, but of microscopic size, are widely distributed in sedimentary rocks, such as sandstones, clays, and slates, from which they may be separated by washing away the lighter constituents of the powdered rock. Crystals of the second type have numerous pyramidal faces developed, and they are usually flatter or sometimes prismatic in habit; the colour is honey-yellow to brown. Such crystals closely resemble xenotine in appearance and, indeed, were for a long time supposed to belong to this species, the special name wiserine being applied to them. They occur attached to the walls of crevices in the gneisses of the Alps, the Binnenthal near Brieg in canton Valais, Switzerland, being a well-known locality.
When strongly heated, anatase is converted into rutile, changing in specific gravity to 4.1; naturally occurring pseudomorphs of rutile after anatase are also known. Crystals of anatase have been artificially prepared by several methods; for instance, by the interaction of steam and titanium chloride or fluoride.
Another name commonly in use for this mineral is octahedrite, a name which, indeed, is earlier than anatase, and given because of the common (acute) octahedral habit of the crystals. Other names, now obsolete, are oisanite and dauphinite, from the well-known French locality.