"Although an automated flexible production cell is an intriguing prospect for small to median enterprises (SMEs) in current global market conditions, the complexity of programming remains one of the major hurdles preventing automation using industrial robots for SMEs. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the recent research progresses on the programming methods for industrial robots, including online programming, offline programming (OLP), and programming using Augmented Reality (AR). With the development of more powerful 3D CAD/PLM software, computer vision, sensor technology, etc. new programming methods suitable for SMEs are expected to grow in years to come. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved."