This paper summarizes recent experimental characterization of radio frequency (RF)-induced scrape-off layer (SOL) modifications in ASDEX-Upgrade (AUG), JET and Tore Supra (TS). Geometrical aspects are emphasized: complex SOL patterns are observed by several indicators visualized in one or two dimensions transverse to the magnetic field lines. Results are ascribed to inhomogeneous RF-induced SOL biasing around powered ion cyclotron range of frequencies antennas and associated E × B0 density convection (D'Ippolito et al 1993 Phys. Fluids B 5 3603). Within a simple RF sheath model (Perkins 1989 Nucl. Fusion 29 583), the shape of convective cells on TS can be interpreted in terms of RF-sheath generation by parallel RF currents. Some lessons are drawn for future machines.