We developed and tested a parallel plate shear cell that can be mounted on top of an inverted microscope to perform confocal real-space measurements on complex fluids under shear. To follow structural changes in time, a plane of zero velocity is created by letting the plates move in opposite directions. The location of this plane is varied by changing the relative velocities of the plates. The gap width is variable between 20 and 200 μm with parallelism better than 1 μm. Such a small gap width enables us to examine the total sample thickness using high numerical aperture objective lenses. The achieved shear rates cover the range of 0.02–103 s-1. This shear cell can apply an oscillatory shear with adjustable amplitude and frequency. The maximum travel of each plate equals 1 cm, so that strains up to 500 can be applied. For most complex fluids, an oscillatory shear with such a large amplitude can be regarded as a continuous shear. We measured the flow profile of a suspension of silica colloids in this shear cell. It was linear except for a small deviation caused by sedimentation. To demonstrate the excellent performance and capabilities of this new setup we examined shear induced crystallization and melting of concentrated suspensions of 1 μm diameter silica colloids.