Handwriting Analysis


Handwriting analysis encompasses not only signatures, but several other aspects of our writing. A handwriting expert may be asked to examine a handwritten will, written in cursive. Another case may involve a hand printed contract or bill of sale. Questions arise regarding anonymous notes such as sexually harassing or threatening messages or bank robbery demand notes. Numeric entries are questioned on time sheets and accounting ledgers.

The comparison materials will vary, dependent upon the type of writing involved. For example, consider a circumstance where you received a harassing letter. If the address on the envelope was handwritten, other handwritten envelopes by the suspected writer would be valuable for the examination. A handwriting analysis expert would not only look at identifying features in the writing, but also if there is conformity in the numerals and formatting.

We can recall when we learned to write; there was a cursive writing system in the classroom we were taught to replicate. Through practice, our motor skills developed to enable us to communicate by our written words. As with other motor skill activities, such as sports or music, the more practice devoted toward the exercise, the more accomplished we become.

…no two writers write exactly alike to any extended degree.

While some people develop their cursive writing to a remarkable degree, others do not further their writing skill beyond a rudimentary level. Also, writers individualize their writing by inserting differences from the handwriting system they initially learned. As a result, handwriting analysis experts realize no two writers write exactly alike to any extended degree.

It is not uncommon for a handwriting expert to hear from a client a writing sample was obviously written by a left-handed writer, was written by an elderly person, or the writing was that of a female. The reality is there are left-handed writers that write with a right-handed slant, and vice versa. A writing sample that appears “shaky” does not establish the writer was elderly. Skillfully written cursive text is not proof the writer was female.

A recent case involved a significant number of graffiti images and whether a suspected writer was responsible for them. Graffiti, or tagging, is obviously a very different writing style from signatures. You may recall from graffiti images you have encountered, they are usually ‘drawn’ rather than written in a fluent manner. Tags are commonly written in large, block formations. Because they are rarely written in a natural cursive style, it is usually very difficult, if not impossible, for a handwriting expert to identify the writer.

Writing issues are unlimited; there may be a question regarding a signature on artwork, the authentication of a suicide letter or writing in a diary, signature issues on credit card or student loan applications, do-not-compete agreements, and so forth. Regardless of the handwriting issue you may have, call me to discuss your handwriting issue.


James A. Green,
Forensic Document Examiner

2456 Suncrest Ave,
Eugene, OR 97405

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