Focused ion beam (FIB) technology has become increasingly popular in the fabrication of nanoscale structures. In this paper, the recent developments of the FIB technology are examined with emphasis on its ability to fabricate a wide variety of nanostructures. FIB-based nanofabrication involves four major approaches: milling, implantation, ion-induced deposition, and ion-assisted etching of materials; all these approaches are reviewed separately. Following an introduction of the uniqueness and strength of the technology, the ion source and systems used for FIB are presented. The principle and specific techniques underlying each of the four approaches are subsequently studied with emphasis on their abilities of writing structures with nanoscale accuracy. The differences and uniqueness among these techniques are also discussed. Finally, concluding remarks are provided where the strength and weakness of the techniques studied are summarized and the scopes for technological improvement and future research are recommended.