The fundamental characteristics of dressing action on the polyurethane pad are investigated via dressing by single diamond of different orientations, dressing parameters and dressing path in this study. Experimental results show that a groove with pile-up on both side walls forms as the diamond moves over the pad with a specific dressing depth. The resulting asperities on the pad are strongly affected by the diamond orientation. Plowing is found to be the major mechanism responsible for this surface topology if dressing is conducted by the face of a diamond. On the contrary, cutting action dominates when the point of a diamond is responsible for dressing. It is also found that dressing velocity has an insignificant effect on the groove and ridges created on the pad. The depth of the groove is smaller than the dressing depth due to the spring back of the pad. When the groove created is repeatedly dressed over the same track, the ridge height and groove depth increases for each additional dressing. When two grooves cross each other, the ridges at the four corners of the intersection grow while the depth of the overlapped area decreases. These ridges will become the pressure enhancer of the abrasives to polish the wafer.