The development of multicellular organisms is associated with extensive rearrangements of tissues and cell sheets. The driving force for these rearrangements is generated mostly by the actin cytoskeleton. In order to permit the reproducible development of a specific body plan, dynamic reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton must be precisely coordinated in space and time. GTP-exchange factors that activate small GTPases of the Rho family play an important role in this process. Here we review the role of this class of cytoskeletal regulators during important developmental processes such as epithelial morphogenesis, cytokinesis, cell migration, cell polarity, neuronal growth cone extension and phagocytosis in different model systems.