This chapter provides an overview of scanning probe microscopes (SPMs). A brief overview of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is also included. Found in this chapter, is an introduction to atomic force microscope (AFM) operation, including mention of practical AFM applications. A description of key components important to the operation of AFM is included this chapter. A brief introduction to AFM operating modes such as contact mode and tapping mode is in this chapter. To note, a more detailed overview of AFM operating modes is in chapters 5 (contact mode) and 8 (tapping mode). Readers will find a description of the feedback loop, a very important collection of electronics pivotal to successful AFM operation, in this chapter. The author would like to note that additional chapters include a more extensive overview of feedback loop operation.