Carbohydrate-processing enzymes are gaining more attention due to their roles in health and disease as these enzymes are involved in the construction and deconstruction of vast arrays of glycan structures. As a result, the development of methods to identify these enzymes in complex biological systems is of increasing interest. Activity-based proteomics probes (ABPPs) are increasingly being used in glycobiology to detect and identify functionally related proteins (and homologues) within a biological system. This review will describe the design of activity-based proteomics probes, provide examples of compounds that have been used to profile activity in the area of carbohydrate-processing enzymes, and give some future perspectives. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.