The shape control of noble metal nanocrystals is crucial to their optical properties and catalysis applications. In this Progress Report, the recent progress of shape-controlled synthesis of Pd and Pt nanostructures assisted by small adsorbates is summarized. The use of small strong adsorbates (e.g., I−, CO, amines) makes it possible to fabricate Pd and Pt nanostructures with not only well-defined surface structure but also morphologies that have not been achieved by other synthetic strategies. The roles of small adsorbates in shape control of Pd and Pt nanocrystals are discussed in the Report. Also presented in the Report are unique optical and catalytic properties of several Pd and Pt nanostructures (e.g., ultrathin Pd nanosheets, concave Pt octapod, concave Pd tetrahedra), as well as their bioapplications, to demonstrate the power of using small strong adsorbates in the shape control of Pt and Pd nanostructures.