Handwriting Identification

A Primer on Handwriting Identification:

There are four elements concerning handwriting identification, namely;

  • No two people write exactly alike.
  • In a repeated writing, you do not write exactly the same.
  • Each writer has a range of writing that cannot be exceeded.
  • You can write worse than your capability, but you cannot write better than your capability.
  • A persons handwriting has unique individual characteristics, the determination, of which, makes it possible for questioned writing to be identified or not.

When comparing questioned and known writing, an examiner looks for such writing characteristics as shapes of characters, size of characters, spacing of characters, beginning and ending strokes of characters, slant characters, speed of writing (slow writing has “wavy” lines while fast writing has “straight’ lines) and system of writing (remember Zaner-Bloser, Palmer, Putnam-Mills, and other systems).

Additional writing characteristics that an examiner considers are writing with relation to a baseline (is the writing above, on, below, at a slant to baseline), are there pen lifts between characters in a name or word, are there left and right margins, does the writer use proper punctuation, and are there any unusual letter formations.

If the examiner notes similarities (writing characteristics which indicate identity) when comparing questioned and known writing, then the determination can be made that the known writer prepared the questioned writing. If writing differences (writing characteristics which indicate non-identity) are noted when comparing questioned and known writing, then a determination that the known writer did not prepare the questioned writing can be made.

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