How to Use a Microscope – Step by Step Guide

Want to know how to properly use a microscope? For beginners, who aren’t too sure how to use a microscope, this step by step guide is for you.

The truth is that using a microscope doesn’t have to be a difficult task, it just takes a little patience and know-how and once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be a pro in no time at all.

Using a microscope can be great fun, so you have to make sure you know how to work one to take full advantage of this sophisticated piece of equipment.

If you’ve bought a microscope and its looking amazing sitting on your dining room table right now, you’ll want to get started straight away.

How to Use a Microscope

Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure you get your microscope working in no time at all:

 First of all, you need to make sure that the microscope is on a flat surface, such as a table, so that it can stand up correctly without the slides or whatever you may be observing on the mechanical stage falling out of place.

Depending on the microscope you own, you may need to connect your microscope to an electric source in order to use LED lights so you can actually see what is on your slides. However, some microscopes use mirrors to reflect natural light, so that an electric outlet isn’t necessary. Once you have the light on, you need to adjust the diaphragm control to the largest hole to let the most amount of light in.

Now, you need to adjust the nosepiece so that you have the lowest objective lens selected, usually 40x works great at first because it allows a large field of view. This means you will be able to view the majority of your sample and zoom into the parts of interest accordingly.

Once all this has been done, you are ready to insert your slide. For beginners, it’s best to use a prepared slide, one that already contains a prepared specimen, because preparing a slide by yourself can take time. However, if you do have your own slide prepared, this too can be put onto the mechanical stage.

Once the slide is inserted observe your objective lens and stage from the side and adjust the coarse focus knob so that the objective lens is just above your slide.

Be very careful as glass slides in particular are very easily broken.

Adjusting the coarse focus knob, will make the objective lens go up, away from the slide. Adjust the coarse focus knob until the specimen becomes clearer. You can then use the fine focus knob for fine tuning the focus.

To really sharpen the viewing, adjust the diaphragm to allow the correct light onto the specimen. This will ensure the specimen has sharp contrast and give you a better viewing experience.

You can move the microscope slide around the stage to ensure the area of interest is in the field of view and adjust the diaphragm accordingly to achieve the best image. 

Now you an adjust the objective lens as needed, and use the fine focusing knob for focusing adjustment. 

Repeat with the 40x objective for 400x magnification, which will enable you to see even more detail.

Cleaning Your Microscope

Just like every product, a microscope works better when it has been looked after with the best possible care. Some more expensive microscopes allow for little maintenance, they will come with filters that stop it getting dirty. However, most microscopes need cleaning to ensure they remain at the best quality.

Cleaning a microscope is really straightforward; there are just a few points that should be made:

  • Make sure you clean the microscope first with a brush to remove any dust that could have accumulated within the space.
  • Make sure to use a non-solvent cleaning solution to remove any dirt, so that you do not damage your optics.
  • When cleaning the interior of a microscope, only use a microfiber cloth. Standard cloths will damage your lens, so it’s vital it is cleaned with a microfiber cloth so that you don’t ruin your microscope. A microfiber cloth can be purchased with most microscope cleaning kits.

Look After Your Microscope

Now you can set up and clean your instrument, you’re well underway to examining anything and everything you can imagine.

Look after your microscope and its quality and durability will remain at the highest standard.