Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) is an ambient ionization technique for mass spectrometry that provides rapid and sensitive analyses with little or no sample preparation. DART has been reported primarily for mass analyzers of low to moderate resolving power such as quadrupole ion traps and time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometers. In the current work, a custom-built DART source has been successfully coupled to two different Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometers for the first time. Comparison of spectra of the isobaric compounds, diisopropyl methylphosphonate and theophylline, acquired by 4.7 T FT-ICR MS and TOF MS, demonstrates that the TOF resolving power can be insufficient for compositionally complex samples. 9.4 T FT-ICR MS yielded the highest mass resolving power yet reported with DART ionization for 1,2-benzanthracene and 9,10-diphenylanthracene. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exhibit a spatial dependence in ionization mechanisms between the DART source and the mass spectrometer. The feasibility of analyzing a variety of samples was established with the introduction and analysis of food products and crude oil samples. DART FT-ICR MS provides complex sample analysis that is rapid, highly selective and information-rich, but limited to relatively low-mass analytes. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.