Defects in crystalline solids control the properties of engineered and natural materials, and their characterization focuses our strategies to optimize performance. Electron microscopy has served as the backbone of our understanding of defect structure and their interactions, owing to beneficial spatial resolution and contrast mechanisms that enable direct imaging of defects. These defects reside in complex microstructures and chemical environments, demanding a combination of experimental approaches for full defect characterization. In this article, we describe recent progress and trends in methods for examining defects using scanning electron microscopy platforms. Several emerging approaches offer attractive benefits, for instance, in correlative microscopy across length scales and in in situ studies of defect dynamics.