Several recent technological advances have considerably improved the field of confocal fluorescence microscopy. Improvements in confocal microscope design, new fluorescent probes and indicators, more sensitive imaging devices, and computer advances which allow for data manipulation and storage provide a convenient method to acquire complex three-dimensional (3-D) architectural details which previously were difficult or impossible to obtain from biological specimens. Applications of the laser scanning and tandem scanning confocal microscopes offer the potential for gaining powerful insights into the complex relationship of cellular structure and function. Confocal microscopy generates optical sections free from out-of-focus blur. With the development of new visualization tools to render and display complex 3-D data, a set of optical sections taken at different focal planes can be three-dimensionally reconstructed to create an animated sequence which can reveal latent features of the specimen. The combination of confocal microscopy and 3-D reconstruction provides a powerful new imaging tool to advance knowledge about structural and functional cellular properties as they occur dynamically in three dimensions.