Methods for solving crystalline nanostructures in real time at the electron microscope are reviewed, based on automated collection of microdiffraction patterns in three dimensions. We compare Koehler mode "SAD" patterns, a new kinematic CBED mode, and our new precession electron diffraction system. We discuss the optimum data-collection strategy and the eucentric-tilt problem. We advocate use of the new "charge-flipping" algorithm for solving the phase problem when dealing with relatively poor-quality electron diffraction data. We show an experimental demonstration of the effect of precession on the quality of diffraction data and of the use of the flipping algorithm to solve a nanocrystal.