Cell-substrate interactions play a crucial role in the design of better biomaterials and integration of implants with the tissues. Adhesion is the binding process of the cells to the substrate through interactions between the surface molecules of the cell membrane and the substrate. There are several factors that affect cell adhesion including substrate surface chemistry, topography, and stiffness. These factors physically and chemically guide and influence the adhesion strength, spreading, shape and fate of the cell. Recently, technological advances enabled us to precisely engineer the geometry and chemistry of substrate surfaces enabling the control of the interaction cells with the substrate. Some of the most commonly used surface engineering methods for eliciting the desired cellular responses on biomaterials are photolithography, electron beam lithography, microcontact printing, and microfluidics. These methods allow production of nano-and micron level substrate features that can control cell adhesion, migration, differentiation, shape of the cells and the nuclei as well as measurement of the forces involved in such activities. This review aims to summarize the current techniques and associate these techniques with cellular responses in order to emphasize the effect of chemistry, dimensions, density and design of surface patterns on cell-substrate interactions. We conclude with future projections in the field of cell-substrate interactions in the hope of providing an outlook for the future studies. (c) 2018 The Authors. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co., Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).