Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), a rapidly growing subfield of chemical imaging, employs mass spectrometry (MS) technologies to create single- and multi-dimensional localization maps for a variety of atoms and molecules. Complimentary to other imaging approaches, MSI provides high chemical specificity and broad analyte coverage. This powerful analytical toolset is capable of measuring the distribution of many classes of inorganics, metabolites, proteins, and pharmaceuticals in chemically and structurally complex biological specimens in vivo, in vitro, and in situ. The MSI approaches highlighted in this Methods in Molecular Biology volume provide flexibility of detection, characterization, and identification of multiple known and unknown analytes. The goal of this chapter is to introduce investigators who may be unfamiliar with MS to the basic principles of the mass spectrometric approaches as used in MSI. In addition to guidelines for choosing the most suitable MSI method for specific investigations, cross-references are provided to the chapters in this volume that describe the appropriate experimental protocols.