Nanomaterials are the building blocks of nanotechnology. Recently, nanotube materials have attracted considerable attention due to their unique physical and chemical properties. Here we discuss how nanotubes can be used as templates for preparation of a new family of materials, the nanoporous single crystals, and for the preparation of metal sulfide nanotube materials. Today, the characterization of these materials depends heavily on electron microscopy. However, as rational synthesis schemes are becoming available, more well-defined, homogeneous nanotube samples will be produced and the role of diffraction techniques may increase.