Handwriting Standards

Requested and Collected Handwriting Analysis

Handwriting identification to determine whether a questioned entry may or may not have been written by a particular individual involves a comparative study between the questioned writings and known handwriting from the suspected writers. The known writings, or “standards” or “exemplars,” are a critical factor in the comparisons process. The largest single factor causing an inconclusive or qualified opinion is insufficient or inadequate standards. Simply put, the standards must be comparable and must contain a sufficient amount of writing.

Handwriting standards fall into two (2) general categories: Collected and Requested.


These types of handwriting standards are those writings that are created through the normal course of daily business. If, for one reason or another, it may not be easy to obtain standards from an individual (i.e., death, unable to locate or diminished capacity) several sources of everyday writing may still exist. Cancelled checks, correspondence, tax returns, job applications, bank signature cards, event sign-in or attendance records, handwritten statements, work notes, employment records and address and recipe books are just some examples. Because these types of writings are not executed for the sole purpose of handwriting comparisons, they will more than likely contain the natural handwriting of the author.


These types of writings are those writings where the individual is brought in and directed as to what writings are to be given. When the investigator is required to obtain requested writings to serve as standards for handwriting comparisons, the writings should be dictated and verbatim (with the questioned writings) and must be reproduced multiple times, one at a time.