[en] The present work is focused on the thermodynamic optimization of organic Rankine cycles (ORCs) for power generation and CHP from different average heat source profiles (waste heat recovery, thermal oil for cogeneration and geothermal). The general goal is to provide optimization guidelines for a wide range of operating conditions, for subcritical and transcritical, regenerative and non-regenerative cycles. A parameter assessment of the main equipment in the cycle (expander, heat exchangers and feed pump) was also carried out. An optimization model of the ORC (available as an electronic annex) is proposed to predict the best cycle performance (subcritical or transcritical), in terms of its exergy efficiency, with different working fluids. The working fluids considered are those most commonly used in commercial ORC units (R134a, R245fa, Solkatherm, n-Pentane, Octamethyltrisiloxane and Toluene). The optimal working fluid and operating conditions from a purely thermodynamic approach are limited by the technological constraints of the expander, the heat exchangers and the feed pump. Hence, a complementary assessment of both approaches is more adequate to obtain some preliminary design guidelines for ORC units.