Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) feature low cost, stability, and environment friendliness and are thus a promising substitute for traditional silicon solar cells. DSSCs have received intensive research attention and have been rapidly developing in the last two decades. The efficiency of DSSCs should be increased to promote their commercialization and large-scale application. This brief review summarizes the major progress in advanced nano/micromaterials to improve photoanodes and enhance the conversion efficiencies of DSSCs. Commonly used methods to improve photoanodes include semiconductor film nanoarchitecture, light-scattering material application, compositing, doping, interfacial engineering, and TiCl₄ post-treatment. This review provides insights into DSSC improvement and development of other photovoltaics, such as perovskite solar cells and photoelectrochemical cells. Copyright © 2017 Royal Society of Chemistry.