Mass spectrometric ionization methods that operate under ambient conditions and require minimal or no sample pretreatment have attracted much attention in such fields as biomedicine, food safety, antiterrorism, pharmaceuticals, and environmental pollution. These technologies usually involve separate ionization and sample-introduction events, allowing independent control over each set of conditions. Ionization is typically performed under ambient conditions through use of existing electrospray ionization (ESI) or atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) techniques. Rapid analyses of gas, liquid, and solid samples are possible with the adoption of various sample-introduction methods. This review sorts different ambient ionization techniques into two main subcategories, primarily on the basis of the ionization processes, that are further differentiated in terms of the approach used for sampling.