Handwriting Analyst  USA
Andrew Hunt's Software UK
Sheila Lowe Handwriting Analyzer USA
Unknown Spain
Cheryl Patrick  USA
PC Grafologia  Italy
Bolognesi Italy

This is mainly based on the article below.  Questa pagina è anche in italiano  

Computer Assisted Graphology

Copyright 1997-2003  Nigel Bradley


The use of computer technology has been a relatively recent development, one which has impacted on graphology and is certain to have further effects. The industrial use of computing really began in the 1960s, when companies, unable to afford the bulky hardware, shared installations. By the 1970s many larger firms were able to purchase or lease machines for themselves. In the 1980s smaller and cheaper models were offered enabling widespread industrial adoption of the technology. Now in the 1990s over a third of the UK population have a www computer, and most adults have access. The recent popularity of the Internet is leading to an information-technology-based general population.

Graphology has itself followed an interesting evolution. Before 1900 individuals, who we might now call graphologists, made their own associations between handwriting and personality. Judging by the absence of publications before 1900 one may conclude that this information was passed on by word of mouth. Then from 1900 onwards this knowledge was diffused by formal tuition, essays, articles and books. From about 1980 we have evidence for the use of computers for tuition, for analysis and in research. This article addresses the general question - how has the computer assisted graphology and how can it be of further assistance?

Computers to teach Graphology

Outside the field of graphology, computer-aided-instruction (CAI) began in the 1960s and has been used in two ways. Firstly as a straightforward presentation of data, communicating much of what was previously available in published text, but in a new way. Secondly computers have fulfilled a tutorial role, permitting students to be tested on comprehension and to learn through exercise repetition.

CAI has numerous benefits associated with the one-to-one interaction allowed by the software. Students have an instant response to queries, are able to work at their own pace and the computer can focus on the student's problem areas, with a privacy not possible in a classroom situation. Such a mechanism frees the teacher's time allowing that time to be allocated in different ways.

The disadvantages of CAI centre on the cost of creating, maintaining and updating the hardware and software. "Courseware", as it has become known, needs to be designed for specific subjects and needs to be updated as the subject evolves. There is also a loss of human interaction and the possibility that concepts are misunderstood. It has been argued that one cannot learn graphology from books, this criticism could be extended to computer-aided- graphological instruction.

Computer-based-tuition can take place at a location with terminals, or in-www using a www personal computer. It can be delivered by diskette, by CD-ROM, or via a network such as the Internet (on the world wide web, on usenet or as e-mail). Despite the great number of graphology books and the ever-increasing number of correspondence/distance learning courses, there are few examples of Computer Aided Graphological Instruction. Internet searches reveal a bilingual Spanish/English on-line course provided by Mariano Bosom from Spain and a Sunday night e-mail tutorial session by Erika Karohs from America.

There is a great opportunity for existing correspondence courses to be adapted for CAI. Undoubtedly this will happen, but, as with mainstream education, the computer will complement, not replace, other methods. (See note 1)

Computers To Analyse Handwriting

The use of computers in graphological analyses has received a mixed response from practitioners. Whilst it has been argued that computers cannot do the work of the graphologist, Willetts (1991 pg.24) wrote, "There is no reason why a computer program cannot remove much of the drudgery in producing reliable analyses, even to the extent of automating the interpretation process".

Gille-Maisani, writing of the Moretti system said that the way signs are quantified on a ten point scale "obliges one to make a precise observation. It prepares for the computer deduction of the personality profile starting from the writing definition, as certain researchers have begun to do with success in Urbino (N. Palaferri), in Barcelona (A. Vels) and surely elsewhere too " ( Torbidoni et al 1993. Pg.6). Danor (1986 p.38) cites the first graphologist to have created an analysis program to be Yzchak Perry in Jerusalem, basing the software on the works of Betty Link published in America in 1972.

A graphological analysis involves six clear procedures: (1) Obtaining a specimen; (2) Describing the signs (a definition); (3) Converting the definition into personality traits; (4) Composing a report; (5) Communicating results; (6) Storing the results and raw data. The modern computer is able to perform all of these duties. Potentially it could provide a fully automated service. However, analysts need good eyes, analytical thought, memory, graphological knowledge, communication skills and other characteristics. These are qualities which computers do not yet possess, leaving the human analyst a cheaper, more powerful option. As Maze (1990 pg.13) said "It is easier to train graphologists than it is to design software to do what they do".

Practitioners from different schools of graphology make records of handwriting features. This record is variously known as a worksheet, psychogram, checklist, questionnaire or form. The computer offers an excellent place to record and recall such detail. Yolan and Danor (1992) offer such a program to assist analysis using the Wittlich method. A disk is used, and a PC provides tables, a sort of worksheet. The authors emphasise that "the computer does the technical work. Evaluation is left to the graphologist".

Hodos, Michaels and Maze (1986) introduced a program that is designed for use by the non-graphologist; after asking simple questions a text-report is produced. The computer program includes a large library of interpretative statements to be attached to particular handwriting features if identified in a script. Maze (1990 pg.13) said "each sentence has to be carefully phrased to convey the concept accurately and to avoid implying a meaning which conflicts with another statement". At the present time Sheila Lowe (1997) has a program available which is being marketed aggressively to the general public and to recruitment personnel. This carries over 300 specimens and produces both text and diagrammatic reports. There are other programs available which provide analyses, some listed below. Ignoring the details of efficiency, accuracy or appropriateness it is important to distinguish between software directed to the graphologists and software designed for the non-graphologist.

There is a belief among practitioners that analysis programs should never be made available to non-graphologists. The major criticism is that the user needs to have had full "eye-training", and be able to recognise features that have been given names. Other criticisms centre around the accusation that the computer is a "black box", it does not explain which features relate to which personality traits. In articles software authors have addressed this (Maze 1990, Bolognesi 1994), but it is likely that future software may have "to explain itself" during an analysis. A further criticism from practitioners is the wording of reports produced. Language and advice can, at one extreme, be damning, at the other extreme it can be soft and lacking actionability. Another fear is that unsubstantiated opinions may enter into narratives.

The issue is reminiscent of the introduction of computers to assist in the administration of personality inventories and psycwwwtric testing. The psychological community felt it important to design codes of conduct, and to impose strict licensing on the use of such products. These reactions have been attributed partly to a protection of commercial interest, partly to a genuine concern for data privacy and data misuse. (cf. Anastasi 1988 pp.517-9)

So, to date, analysis software performs one or more of three functions: (1) to hold descriptions of the specimen, (2) to create personality deductions, (3) to create reports. The software listed below is not exhaustive, but gives an indication of how such programs are being marketed. The advantages of computer assisted analysis can be summarised as: no formal tuition necessary, a good checklist of features is provided to prompt the user, the PC stores data for instant recall, the checklist ensures that less frequently-encountered features are not forgotten. The software is flexible in that it can be updated. It can provide automatic reports in a way that time is saved. Finally the process can be repeated easily.

The disadvantages of computer analysis of handwriting are related to the "quality" of the program. The checklist may be too limiting missing obvious features or giving lower priority to dominant features. Effectively it is a "black box", and the piece by piece assembly of the analysis can ignore the overall "guiding image" or gestalt.

In the future the use of computer assisted analysis is likely to increase, and one could suggest that this may even erode the job of the graphologist. Professional bodies have a responsibility to investigate such software and if appropriate to endorse quality. Indeed the implications for privacy and data protection may require the same professional bodies to implement special codes of conduct; clearly data records held on computers and communicated via networks are more prone to misuse than written hard copy. There is no reason why test evaluations should not follow the format used in psychological tests. (See Anastasi 1988 pp.676-7)

Software and data collection tools will undergo development. Scanners are likely to pave the way to automatic description of signs and neural networks are likely to permit programs to evolve on the basis of work carried out. The development of computer assisted analysis can be advanced or slowed by the practitioners themselves.


Software Publisher/Description
Raffaello Bolognesi(1993) Italy Studio Grafologico Astago. Uses Moretti system.
Paolo Cotogno
PC Grafologia
(1995) Italy
Cydon Publishing. Analysis of 122 signs.
Produces text report and up to 18 typologies.
Liberal adaptation of world graphology systems.
Windows style. Price £30 - £300
Rudi Danor
Amnon Danor
Dafna Yalon
The Wittlich
Data Processor
(1992) Israel
Freund Publishing (UK).
Produces a completed worksheet as tables.
"Evaluation left to graphologist".
Disk with book 'Towards Scientific Graphology'.
Price $50.
Terence Dwyer
The Handwriting Analyser
(1986) UK
Astrocalc. With Manual
R. Fusaro
S. Agliazzo
Tu grafologo
(1990) Italy
Ultimobyte Ed. Milan
Dorothy Hodos,
Garth Michaels,
Marilyn Maze.
Handwriting Analyst
(1986, 1995, 2002) USA
Wintergreen Software Inc. / SIASA
Produces text report. Question-Answer format.
71 page handbook to assist use.
DOS based. Price $80 Revised version for Windows

Mark Hopper
(1992) USA
Handwriting Research Corporation. CHAPS means
Computerized Handwriting Analysis Profiling Systems.
Performs measurements and creates reports.
Restricted availability. Contact:
Andrew Hunt
Andrew Hunt's Software
(1996) UK
Unpublished. Trial version on the Internet.
Based on graphonomy.
David Kramer
(pre 1996) USA
Requires substantial measuring.
"Serious Program".
Sheila Lowe
Handwriting Analyzer
(1995, 1997, 2002) USA
R.I. Software Inc. 300 comparison specimens on screen. Reports as text, graphs and pie-charts. Ideal profile of candidate input. Windows based.
Price $425. See
Rightslant Software
(1987, 1995) USA
Steffan & Associates. For Roman's Psychogram.
Score transfers, comparisons, charts, print-outs,
for personnel/vocational self-worth and compatibility.
Price $60
Paula Sassi
Personal Worth
Computer Program
(1986, 1994) USA
Calculates scores for Personal Worth, Personality
Evaluation and Vocational Courses.
Users must have studied Sassi's system.
DOS based. Price $150
Augusto Vels
(1991) Spain
Agrupacion de Grafoanalistas Consultivos de España,
Barcelona. Disk with the book 'Manual de Grafoanálisis
e Método Vels de Grafoanálisis'.
Dee Welch
TIGS Graphological
Software Package (USA)
The Institute of Graphological Science.
Price $98
Unknown (Spain)Spanish-English software for demo:
Cheryl Patrick  (2002) USA Free analysis on line

Computers to Research Graphology

In 1972 Jacqueline Peugeot, the President of the French Society of Graphology said, "At present graphology lacks figures. It is an activity which is carried out at an individual level. It is not impossible to think that this may change with the spreading of personal data processing, which would enable the community of graphologists to collect statistical data and to process information which at present is not within the reach of the individual". (Peugeot et al 1972 pg.433) The computer has valuable applications in the area of data collection, analysis and presentation. It is not the intention to reproduce text- book description of research methodology, nor to provide an exhaustive list of graphological research which has been carried out on computers. However some examples are appropriate.

Rostand et al (1997 pg.30), in collaboration with graphologists throughout France, collected 2000 specimens from 16-21 year olds. A worksheet was designed to record writing features. Software was written to analyse the frequency of each feature, and cross-analyses made.

Gilbert & Chardon (1985) used the computer to investigate the writings of 155 engineers and executives. These subjects, as part of an employment application, completed the Guildford-Zimmerman Temperament Inventory. A worksheet was designed to record writing features on their job application letter, software was used to produce evidence of a connection between the two tests and factor analysis was used to establish what common factors were present. These two authors have continued to use factor analysis in graphological research, with interesting results.

Computers are able to assist the researcher with bi-variate and multivariate analyses. They offer the possibility of automated measurement, the use of scanners, magnification, photography, holograms. They allow large sample sizes to be handled with ease and the possibility to build a large collection of normative data.

Secondary research is enhanced by computer-power. Take simple bibliographic recall; Pat Moody, since the early 70s has created what must be the largest database of graphological references. Over 20 thousand items are included. This is entirely computerised and such a database is an effective first stop for the researcher. To prepare this article she provided me with 300 references relating computing to graphology. Pat Moody (1997) writes, "originally I noted everything down on little index cards. Then came the personal computer and I progressed from the first Sinclair ZX80, through the Amstrad PCW, to the Pentium PC. By remaining loyal to one particular database program, I was able to transfer my work from computer to computer".

Tom Davis of the University of Birmingham has an internet site which includes an extensive bibliography of forensic handwriting analysis, fully keyworded for searching. (See note 2). The American Society of Professional Graphologists www page on the Internet (see note 3) lists the titles of articles published in the society journal, and abstracts can be viewed.

Validation and reliability studies ask the key questions: "are we measuring what we think we're measuring and if we did it again would we get the same results?" The computer has a valuable role in this type of research. Indeed the computer assisted analysis programs are ready-to-use research vehicles. The PC Grafologia Software handbook states explicitly that reliability can be tested simply by repeating analyses. Andrew Hunt's software, which is openly available on the internet has been assessed by over 100 people, who have reported their judgement of its accuracy. The Hodos, Michaels, Maze software has been tested by Bushnell (1996), a psychologist at the University of Glasgow. (See note 4)

In the 1980s a new technique of data analysis was developed, known as "data fusion"; this matches two independent samples, at an individual level. With data fusion different studies can be merged to create new knowledge without actually posing questions or taking writing specimens. Computers are the only instruments whereby fusion can take place. It is clear that computers have a valuable role to play in tuition, analysis and research and their use should be understood and welcomed by practitioners. However, developments should be monitored closely if disagreeable consequences are to be avoided.


ANASTASI A.(1998)  Psychological Testing. - (Macmillan 1988 6th edition)

BOLOGNESI R (1994) Informazione sui programmi di grafoanalisi computerizzata - (in CRISTOFANELLI P & LENA S. Orientamenti della grafologia contemporanea. (AGI, Ancona 1994 pp.201-208)

BOLOGNESI R (2002).GRAF-2000: software to assist graphologists

BUSHNELL IWR. A Comparison of the Validity of Handwriting Analysis with that of the Cattell 16PF. - (International Journal of Selection & Assessment Vol.4 No.1 Jan 1996 pp.12- 17)

DANOR R, YALON D. L'Ordinateur Auxiliaire du Graphologue? - (La Graphologie No.184 Oct 1986 pp.35-41)

GILBERT P & CHARDON C. Ecriture et Personalité des Cadres. - (La Graphologie Jan 1985 No.177 pp.37-60)

MAZE M. Computer Graphology. - (Write Extension 1990 (Mar) 3 (3) pp.12-13, 21)

MOODY P. A Bibliography of Handwriting. (An Unpublished Computer database, Margate 1997)

MOODY P. The Literature of Handwriting Analysis - from an Academic Librarian's Viewpoint. - (1997 Article submitted for publication 3pp)

PAOLUCCI E. Il calcolatore al Servizio della grafologia. - (Scrittura 1991 (Apr-June) No.78 pp.121-125)

ROSTAND et al. Recherche sur l'Ecriture d'adolescents de classe terminale (France). - (La Graphologie No.228 Oct 1997 pp.30-79)

TORBIDONI L, ZANIN L (trans. LAVOIE R, GILLE-MAISANI J.-C) Graphologie. Manuel Théorique et Pratique. - (Editions Frison-Roche, Paris 1993)

WILLETS K. Graphology: The Impact of Computers. - (The Graphologist, Summer 1991 No.31 pp.24-28)


  1. Practitioners interested in adapting correspondence courses for Computer Assisted Instruction are advised to inspect these internet sites which describe such software:
  1. For the Tom Davis site at University of Birmingham see
  2. For the American Society of Professional Graphologists article abstracts see
  3. Prepared November 1997.

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