We discuss the application of spatial light modulators (SLMs) to the field of atom optics. We show that SLMs may be used to generate a wide variety of optical potentials that are useful for the guiding and dipole trapping of atoms. This functionality is demonstrated by the production of a number of different light potentials using a single SLM device. These include Mach-Zender interferometer patterns and the generation of a bottle-beam. We also discuss the current limitations in SLM technology with regard to the generation of both static and dynamically deformed potentials and their use in atom optics.