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Experimental laser microbeam techniques have become established tools for studying living specimens. A steerable, focused laser beam may be used for a variety of experimental manipulations such as laser microsurgery, optical trapping, localized photolysis of caged bioactive probes, and patterned photobleaching. Typically, purpose-designed experimental systems have been constructed for each of these applications. In order to assess the consequences of such experimental optical interventions, long-term, microscopic observation of the specimen is often required. Multiphoton excitation, because of its ability to obtain high-contrast images from deep within a specimen with minimal phototoxic effects, is a preferred technique for in vivo imaging. An optical workstation is described that combines the functionality of an experimental optical microbeam apparatus with a sensitive multiphoton imaging system designed for use with living specimens. Design considerations are discussed and examples of ongoing biological applications are presented. The integrated optical workstation concept offers advantages in terms of flexibility and versatility relative to systems implemented with separate imaging and experimental components. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.