This website is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission.

How to use a microscope

Last Updated: 29.11.21


If you are thinking of purchasing a microscope or if, better yet, you already own one, there is a possibility that you might not know how to use such a gadget. Because we know just how tricky learning how to manage a microscope can be, we have put together a short but comprehensive guide that can help you understand how this type of equipment works.

Before reading the following instructions, you should know that not all microscopes work the same. For example, if you own a great microscope for SMD soldering you probably have a simpler to operate device.  

Nonetheless, first things first, if you own a compound microscope, it is best that you start by turning the revolving turret in order to reach the lowest power on the device’s objective lens. Then, you have to lay the microscope slide on the unit’s stage and secure it in place by using the stage clips that you were provided with.

Once you’ve done this, look at the objective lens from the side and use the focus knob to move the stage upward. However, keep in mind that, when doing so, the objective should not, in any case, touch the coverslip. Furthermore, at this stage, you should look into the device’s eyepiece and move the focus knob until the image that you see is focused and clear.

Next, adjust the condenser and the light intensity so that enough light is provided to the lens. This way, once you place your sample, you won’t have difficulties seeing it with precision.

Then, you should turn the slide in the best possible position so that you can see the sample with ease. In order to do so, you should make sure that the sample is in the center of your focus. Once more, at this stage, make sure to adjust the condense again and to check to see that enough light is provided.

If you feel like the light’s intensity does not allow you to get a good grip on the image, it is recommended that you dim it until perfect focus and clarity is achieved.

Once you have a good, clear viewing of the sample (at this point you are still using the lowest power objective), you can start to change to the more powerful objective lenses. Any readjustments that need to be done should follow the already mentioned steps. When you are done with examining samples, you should place the low power lens into position and then remove the slide completely.

What is more, there are a few extra aspects that you should have in mind whenever using a microscope. For instance, it is forbidden that you touch the glass part of the lens by using your fingers. Even more so, when cleaning glass surfaces, you should only use a special lens paper that can be bought in specialized shops.

Even more so, if you are not using the microscope, specialists recommend that you keep it covered in order to avoid debris and dirt sticking to its components. Additionally, whenever you are transporting such a device from one place to another, it is best that you use both of your hands in order to avoid unintentionally dropping it.

Nevertheless, if you are using a stereomicroscope, you should simply place the sample on the given stage and then proceed to turn on the LED light. Then, similarly to the already described process, just look through the eyepiece and try to focus the image so that it becomes as clear as you need it to be.

Next, go ahead and adjust the distance between the two eyepieces of the device so that you get an all-embracing grasp of the sample.  Nonetheless, it is worth pointing out that, whenever you move the sample you will necessarily have to focus the gadget once again.

Before ending this guide, we feel like it is crucial that we point out that if you purchase a new microscope for iPad, you probably won’t have to go through all the instructions that we have discussed previously. Because these units were built to make microscopes more accessible, they are consequently almost effortless to operate.

Moreover, they are particularly liked because they allow the user to have a broader, clearer viewing of the sample that is being examined. As a plus, when making use of a gadget of this kind, one does not have to continually adjust the eyepieces as the older models require.

Even more to this point, if you are new to this line of products and you are interested in a product that is not that difficult to work with, you should seriously take the latter models into consideration. Apart from the already mentioned features and capabilities, these devices are known for being able to supply their users with 2D and even 3D images of various samples.

Thanks to this advantage, the digital microscopes are a great addition to any medical student’s kit of gadgets. By settling for such a unit, one can rest assured knowing that he/she will be able to carefully examine samples without worrying about all the additional settings and adjustments that traditional models require you to know.

Yet, if you are fond of precision and old-school technology, older devices are known for their reliability and sturdiness. So, don’t waste any more time, pick up your microscope and start examining life under all its forms and particularities, and maybe check out our most recent article while you’re doing your research. 



Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments Protection Status