This study aims to optimize the heat treatment of tool steel 75Cr1 which is used for heavy loaded elements in transmissions. A salt bath was used to quench and temper the steel at different temperatures. Mechanical tests and microstructural characterization were done to define the heat treatment parameters corresponding to the optimal performance of the elements. Optical microscopy, electron back scatter diffraction and x-ray diffraction were used to characterize the microstructure, while tensile tests and toughness tests were employed to determine the mechanical properties after different heat treatments. It was found that the yield strength decreases with increasing annealing temperature and that the toughness decreases with increasing annealing time and temperature. The changes of the mechanical properties are discussed in relation with the thermal treatment and the corresponding microstructures.