Structured-light illumination (SLI)-based microscopy offers geologists a new perspective for screening of hydrocarbon-bearing (HCFI) and small aqueous fluid inclusion (AFI) assemblages. This optical-sectioning technique provides rapid, confocal-like imaging, using relatively simple and inexpensive instrumentation. The 3D fluorescent images of HCFI planes and large single HCFIs permit the visualization of the relationships between HCFI assemblages, examination of HCFI morphology, and volume estimates of the fluorescent components within HCFIs. By the use of normal white light illumination, SLI image capture, and varying acquisition time it is also possible to image AFI because of the random movements of vapour bubbles within the inclusions. This allows the near-simultaneous visualization of hydrocarbon and AFI which is of significant importance for the study of sedimentary basins and petroleum reservoirs. SLI is a unique and accessible 3D petrographic tool, with practical advantages over conventional epifluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy.