Thin, uniformly fluorescing reference layers can be used to characterize the imaging conditions in confocal, or more general, sectioning microscopy. Through-focus datasets of such layers obtained by standard microscope routines provide the basis for the approach. A set of parameters derived from these datasets is developed for defining a number of relevant sectioned imaging properties. The main characteristics of a particular imaging situation can then be summarized in a Sectioned Imaging Property-chart or SIPchart. We propose the use of such charts for the characterization of imaging properties in confocal and multiphoton microscopy. As such, they can be the basis for comparison of sectioned imaging condition characteristics, quality control, maintenance or reproduction of sectioned imaging conditions and other applications. Such charts could prove useful in documenting the more relevant properties of the instrumentation used in microscopy studies. The method carries the potential to provide the basis for a general characterization of sectioned imaging conditions as the layers employed can be characterized and fabricated to standard specifications. A limited number of such thin, uniformly fluorescing layers is available from our group for this purpose. Extension of the method to multiphoton microscopy is discussed.