Blood vessels, either in insufficient numbers or in excess, contribute to the pathogenesis of many diseases. Agents that stimulate angiogenesis can improve blood flow in patients with ischemic diseases, whereas anti-angiogenic agents are used to treat disorders ranging from macular degeneration to cancer. In this review I describe in vitro assays that can be used to assess the activity of agents that affect angiogenesis. Means of quantifying endothelial cell matrix degradation, migration, proliferation, apoptosis and morphogenesis are discussed, as are embryoid body, aortic ring and metatarsal assays of vessel outgrowth. Strengths and limitations of these techniques are also addressed.