This review presents a selection of advanced microscope designs employing acousto-optical deflectors (AODs). In the designs covered, AODs are used as tunable diffraction gratings to control complex illumination patterns at the Fourier plane of an objective lens. This approach allows us to generate desired illumination patterns at the focal plane of a light microscope. In simple terms, I will describe two established designs, the 3D Random-Access Multi-Photon Microscope and the Standing-Wave Super-Resolution Microscope, as well as two new schemes including the Random-Access STED Microscope and the Frequency-Encoded Multi-Beam Microscope. All instruments mentioned here were designed to overcome the throughput limitations of previously used light microscopes in experimental Neuroscience.