During the past decade, numerous ncRNAs (non-coding RNAs) have been identified as regulators of transcription. This review focuses on a few examples of ncRNAs that directly interact with and regulate components of the transcription machinery. Artificial RNA aptamers have been selected against components of the transcriptional machinery. The bacterial 6S RNA and the eukaryotic B2 RNA directly target RNA polymerases. The 7SK RNA, U1 snRNA (small nuclear RNA) and SRA (steroid receptor RNA activator) RNA bind to and regulate the activity of transcription factors. Xist (X-inactive-specific transcript) and roX (RNA on the X) RNAs are involved in epigenetic regulation of transcription through the recruitment of histone-modifying enzymes.