Any type of tubulogenesis is a process that is highly coordinated between large numbers of cells. Like other morphogenetic processes, it is driven to a great extent by complex cell shape changes and cell rearrangements. The formation of the salivary glands in the fly embryo provides an ideal model system to study these changes and rearrangements, because upon specification of the cells that are destined to form the tube, there is no further cell division or cell death. Thus, morphogenesis of the salivary gland tubes is entirely driven by cell shape changes and rearrangements. In this review, we will discuss and distill from the literature what is known about the control of cell shape during the early invagination process and whilst the tubes extend in the fly embryo at later stages.