• fluorescence microscopy;
  • historical perspective;
  • diffraction-limited microscopy;
  • super-resolution microscopy

For a little more than a century, fluorescence microscopy has been an essential source of major discoveries in cell biology. Recent developments improved both visualization and quantification by fluorescence microscopy imaging and established a methodology of fluorescence microscopy. By outlining basic principles and their historical development, I seek to provide insight into and understanding of the ever-growing tools of fluorescence microscopy. Thereby, this synopsis may help the interested researcher to choose a fluorescence microscopic method capable of addressing a specific scientific question. © 2013 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry