Over the last two decades the combination of brain slice patch clamp electrophysiology with optogenetic stimulation has proven to be a powerful approach to analyze the architecture of neural circuits and (experience-dependent) synaptic plasticity in such networks. Using this combination of methods, originally termed channelrhodopsin-assisted circuit mapping (CRACM), a multitude of measures of synaptic functioning can be taken. The current review discusses their rationale, current applications in the field, and their associated caveats. Specifically, the review addresses: (1) How to assess the presence of synaptic connections, both in terms of ionotropic versus metabotropic receptor signaling, and in terms of mono- versus polysynaptic connectivity. (2) How to acquire and interpret measures for synaptic strength and function, like AMPAR/NMDAR, AMPAR rectification, paired-pulse ratio (PPR), coefficient of variance and input-specific quantal sizes. We also address how synaptic modulation by G protein-coupled receptors can be studied with pharmacological approaches and advanced technology. (3) Finally, we elaborate on advances on the use of dual color optogenetics in concurrent investigation of multiple synaptic pathways. Overall, with this review we seek to provide practical insights into the methods used to study neural circuits and synapses, by combining optogenetics and patch-clamp electrophysiology.