Document examiners are commonly asked if photocopy analysis may be used for a handwriting comparison. They may. However, the preferable form documents are submitted is in the following order: originals, photographs, photocopies and, if necessary, microfilm and faxed copies. Fortunately, modern microfilm machines provide much better quality reproductions.

Original documents may provide evidence not reproduced on machine copies. For example, a common type of fabricated document involves a “cut and paste” process; cutting a genuine signature from one document and pasting it onto the fabricated document. The resulting photocopy will have a genuine signature, implying the person signed the document at issue. The ‘original’ can not be provided for examination. It’s absence will be explained as being “lost” or “misplaced”.

Another reason the original is of value is it may be examined for indentations. Also, pen pressure may be evaluated and optic brighteners of individual pages in the document may be compared.

Take the extra effort to provide your document examiner with the originals, if they are available. It will make their task easier and produce better results.