The paper reviews recent results obtained with diode lasers used in external hybrid cavities with frequency selective feedback. Such cavities attract continuing interest for several reasons. They generate a tunable single laser mode with very low linewidths (usually a few tens of kilohertz). Very wide discrete tunable ranges over 100 nm for Fabry-Perot type and over 200 nm for quantum well lasers are achieved. They can be made to oscillate in a tunable mode having the desired polarization state,TE orTM and, in some cases, simultaneously atTE andTM. This is done by designing a cavity that increases strongly theTM/TE intensity ratio and by using coatings on one laser facet that greatly lower bothTE andTM reflectivities. High-speed polarization switching in the gigahertz range is possible by inserting passive or active polarization selecting elements in the cavity. For all these reasons hybrid external cavities are attractive for applications in optical metrology, spectroscopy and optical communications. Moreover, the external cavity configuration allows the study of physical mechanisms in the laser diode by inducing on purpose phenomena that would have been otherwise impossible to achieve with free-running lasers.