Handwriting Analysis Techniques Every Analyst Should Know

Handwriting analysis, also known as graphology, has been around for centuries. The analysis of handwriting was first studied systematically in the 17th century by Italian doctor Camillo Baldi, although bits of graphological information can be found scattered throughout history. Graphology emerged as a tool in Britain in the 18th century when painter Thomas Gainsborough and others analyzed handwriting.

Graphology involves the analysis of the physical characteristics and patterns of handwriting to assess personality traits, mental state, aptitudes, and other insights about the writer. It is based on the theory that handwriting is an expression of the inner self, so variations reveal aspects of the writer’s psychology and personality.

The main goals of handwriting analysis are to understand the writer better, uncover aptitudes and skills, and reveal psychological insights. It has been used in recruitment, counseling, criminal investigations, and more. When done by a trained professional graphologist, it can provide beneficial information to guide decisions, actions, and understanding. However, results should always be considered in combination with other assessments.


The 3 Aspects of Handwriting

Handwriting analysis examines three key aspects: size, slant, and shape. According to the forensic handwriting experts at Dekalb Miller, analyzing these aspects is the first step in handwriting analysis. As they explain, “Handwriting analysis involves three key stages including the analysis, comparison, and evaluation of the handwriting characteristics.”1

When looking at size, analysts pay attention to letters that seem abnormally large or small. Letters that are too large may indicate the writer is outgoing or seeking attention. Very small letters often reflect a shy, meticulous, or analytical personality. According to HowStuffWorks, inconsistent letter size can signal emotional turmoil or lack of confidence.2

The slant of writing refers to whether it leans left, right, or is inconsistent. Left slant indicates introspection and reserve. Right slant reflects an outgoing, social nature. An irregular slant may mean the writer lacks direction or struggles with consistency.

The shape of letters shows how the writer’s mind works. Odd or irregular shapes point to unconventional thinking or poor coordination skills. Inconsistent shapes are a red flag for anxiety, mood swings, or pretending to be something one is not.

Analyzing Letter Size

The size of a person’s handwriting can reveal key aspects of their personality. Those with larger lettering tend to be more extroverted and confident. According to Signaturehandwriting.com, large letters represent an outgoing, people-oriented personality that craves attention.

In contrast, smaller letters may indicate someone who is more introverted and insecure. As explained on Handwritinggraphology.com, handwriting between 2.5 and 3.5 mm is considered medium size. Writing significantly smaller than that could signify shyness and a lack of confidence.

Overall, letter size provides insight into how someone presents themselves to the world. Larger letters come from those wanting to make a bold impression, while smaller letters reflect a more self-contained nature.

Analyzing Slant

The slant of one’s handwriting reveals a great deal about their temperament and personality. People who write with a right slant tend to be responsive, open to new experiences, and confident in social situations according to graphologists. A right slant may suggest feelings of optimism and extroversion.

In contrast, those with a left slant tend to be more introspective, cautious, and introverted. A left slant can indicate feelings of anxiety, depression, inhibition, and a tendency to withdraw from social situations. The more exaggerated the slant, the more pronounced these tendencies may be.

When analyzing a handwriting sample, take note of the overall slant direction and degree. Look for inconsistencies as well – a mix of left and right slanting letters may suggest ambivalence. With practice, detecting slant patterns can provide insight into personality.

Analyzing Shape

The shape and size of letters in someone’s handwriting can provide insight into aspects of their personality. For example, people who write with smooth, rounded letter shapes tend to be more creative and artistic. According to a study by Pens.com, rounded handwriting indicates creativity and an artistic nature [1]. This is because the flowing, curved shapes require imagination and aesthetic skill to execute.

On the other hand, people who write with very angular, rigid shapes may be more uptight in personality. The sharp corners and stiff lines suggest a linear, logical way of thinking and an interest in order and structure. As explained by GriffinOT, the rigid shapes are a result of increased muscle tension which can reflect tension or uptightness in personality [2]. Handwriting analysts look for a balance of curves and angles when evaluating shape and what it denotes about the writer.

Analyzing Line Spacing

Line spacing refers to the distance between each line in a sample of handwriting. This aspect of handwriting can provide insight into the writer’s psychology and needs.

Wide spacing between lines indicates a need for freedom, independence, and breathing room. The writer desires ample space for thinking and moving about (Source).

Narrow spacing may indicate crammed or crowded thoughts. The writer feels confined and has difficulty organizing and separating ideas. Close line spacing can point to congested thinking and a lack of spontaneity (Source).

Overall, line spacing gives the graphology analyst clues into how the writer handles boundaries, relationships, and freedom of thought.

Analyzing Baseline

The baseline is the imaginary line on which the writing rests. Analyzing the slant of the baseline can provide insight into the writer’s outlook and frame of mind.

An upward slanting baseline generally indicates optimism, imagination, and creativity. As graphology expert Valery Smeyuk states, “An ascending baseline reflects imagination and optimism. People with rising baselines are full of ideas and plans for the future” (Smeyuk). An upward trend shows enthusiasm and hopefulness.

In contrast, a downward slanting baseline tends to reveal pessimism, melancholy, and depression. According to handwriting analyst Meeh Kaur, “A downward slanting baseline indicates pessimism. This person anticipates problems in carrying out plans. Downward baseline reveals melancholy and depression” (Kaur). A declining baseline reflects a negative outlook on life.

In summary, analyzing the baseline slant provides insight into the writer’s mindset, energy level, and emotions.

Analyzing Margins

Margins are the blank spaces left around the writing on the page. Analyzing margins can provide insight into a writer’s openness, flexibility, and approach to new experiences. Wider margins generally suggest greater openness, while narrower margins may indicate rigidity and conventional thinking.

People who leave wide margins are demonstrating a willingness to explore and be exposed to new ideas and experiences. The abundant white space allows room for additional thoughts and annotations, reflecting an open, curious mind. As one handwriting analysis source explains, “Wide margins mean you are open-minded and like new challenges in life” (Psychology and Handwriting Analysis: Margins).

In contrast, very narrow margins may reveal a writer who feels threatened by unfamiliar experiences. According to handwriting analysis, narrow margins signify “a lack of interest in the outer world of events and other people,” preferring strict conventions and order (What Margins Say – Handwriting & Graphology). Reduced margins demonstrate a mind crowded with established ideas, leaving little room for new perspectives.

Examining a person’s margins can offer valuable clues about their ability to enthusiastically welcome new ideas and situations. Wider margins generally reflect openness, while narrower margins may signal rigid thinking.

Analyzing Connections

The connections between letters in handwriting can provide insight into a person’s thinking process. Connected writing refers to handwriting where the letters within words are joined together. This shows fluid, connected thinking. As Signature Handwriting analysis explains, connected writing indicates “emotional and intuitive thinking prevailing over logic.”

In contrast, disconnected writing is where letters are separate and not joined. This may reveal fragmented, analytical thinking. According to Handwriting Graphology, disconnected writing suggests “a predominance of rationality over intuition.” The writer separates each component in a logical, systematic way.

A healthy balance of connected and disconnected letters is ideal. Too much connection may indicate disorganized thinking, while frequent disconnections can suggest rigidity. Analysts examine factors like the percentage of connected versus disconnected letters to determine a writer’s thinking style and flow of ideas.


In this article, we covered some of the main techniques used in professional handwriting analysis, including analyzing letter size, slant, shape, spacing, baseline, margins, and connections. While handwriting analysis can provide insight into personality, it has limitations and should be conducted ethically. Handwriting analysis is best left to trained professionals.

We looked at how letter size can indicate extroversion or introversion, slant can suggest emotion and openness, shape can reflect logical thinking or creativity, and spacing can show organization. Baseline, margins, and connections also give clues to traits. However, handwriting is complex, and analysis should consider many factors.

Handwriting analysis has critics, and results may depend on the analyst’s skills. There are privacy concerns around analyzing handwriting without consent. Responsible analysts obtain permission, keep client information confidential, and avoid sweeping judgments based on limited samples. In the hands of professionals, handwriting analysis can provide useful personality insights when applied ethically and cautiously.

For deeper analysis, it’s best to consult a trained graphologist or certified handwriting analyst. This article covered introductory techniques, but expert analysts integrate findings from multiple indicators into an integrated personality profile. With proper training and ethical standards, handwriting analysis can be a valuable tool for understanding personality.

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