This review is focused on recent advances in our understanding of beta-sheet structure. It is intended to supplement previous surveys describing the early characterization and study of beta-sheet structure. The first two sections of this review provide a brief introduction to beta-sheet structure referencing the prior comprehensive reviews in this area as well as integrating new concepts. The next part outlines the typical problems encountered in solution studies on beta-sheet structures. The most useful spectroscopic and biophysical techniques used to characterize beta-sheet structures are described in the fourth section. Current hypotheses regarding the folding of predominantly beta-sheet proteins are discussed in some detail in the fifth segment. The efforts of a number of laboratories to utilize peptides or peptidomimetics to serve as small beta-sheet model systems are reviewed in the penultimate section. Finally, the efforts of a number of research groups focusing on the de novo design of beta-sheet-based proteins are outlined.