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We report results on scanning force microscopy (SFM) studies of epitaxial SrBi2Ta2O9 films which, in conjunction with complementary x-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy data, allow us to establish direct correlation between the crystallographic structure at the submicrometer range and the nano- and macroscopic switching behavior of the films. SFM topographic analysis of the films revealed a high degree of inhomogeneity at the submicrometer level: a number of rectangular and spherical grains protruding out of the flat surface. It has been found that the ferroelectric behavior of the films is primarily due to the (110) and (100)-oriented grains, while a flat background is c oriented and therefore is not switchable. Remanent polarization values obtained using SFM data were consistent with the results of the macroscopic hysteresis loop measurements.