The operating conditions of functional materials usually involve varying stress fields, resulting in structural changes, whether intentional or undesirable. Complex multiscale microstructures including defects, domains, and new phases, can be induced by mechanical loading in functional materials, providing fundamental insight into the deformation process of the involved materials. On the other hand, these microstructures, if induced in a controllable fashion, can be used to tune the functional properties or to enhance certain performance. In situ nanomechanical tests conducted in scanning/transmission electron microscopes (STEM/TEM) provide a critical tool for understanding the microstructural evolution in functional materials. Here, select results on a variety of functional material systems in the field are presented, with a brief introduction into some newly developed multichannel experimental capabilities to demonstrate the impact of these techniques.