Super-resolution optical microscopy techniques have revolutionized how we see and understand biology. In recent past, a new super-resolution optical microscopy technique called expansion microscopy (ExM) was developed. Unlike other pre-existing super-resolution imaging techniques, this technique achieves super-resolution by physically expanding biological specimens via a swellable hydrogel. After the development of ExM, various techniques based on ExM but with improved performance in various aspects, have been developed. In this review, we introduce the basic principles of ExM and its variants. and compare the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques. In addition, we present the applications of ExM techniques in various fields.