How to record fingerprints?


The  impressions of the papillary ridges on the top phallange of a finger by any means, are called taking or recording of fingerprints. The impressions made are reverse or the mirror image of the actual skin surface pattern.

For recording of fingerprints, the following equipments are required:-

1. Printer’s black ink.

2. An inking plate or slab of glass or of metal for spreading ink.

3. A rubber roller for spreading/distributing ink evenly into a very thin film over the slab/plate.

4. Solvent for cleaning slab and roller after use.

5. Soap/ liquid soap for cleaning of hands of any dust particles.

6. Towel to dry hands after wash.

7. Finger print forms/cards.

8. Fingerprint recording table.

Place a small daub of ink on the slab. Roll the ink back and forth with the help of the roller until the entire surface of the slab is covered with a fine thin and evenly distributed  film.

The fingers of the subject should be clean and dry. Have the subject stand in front of and at a distance of forearm from the inked slab. The table or its counter  should be of such height that the average adult’s forearm is in a horizontal position while his fingerprints are being taken. The operator should stand at the left and front of the subject. Operator to grasp the right hand of the subject with his right hand over the back of subject’s hand. Fold subject’s hand and keep his thumb open and straight.

Place the subject’s thumb on the inked slab so that the right edge of his thumbnail is at right angle to the slab. Use your tight hand to roll subject’s thumb gently to the left until the left side of his nail is at right angles to the slab. With your (operator) thumb, index and middle finger of the left hand, guide and control the amount of pressure on the subject’s thumb while it is being rolled. Having inked the thumb, roll it on Finger Print record form from right to left in the same way as it was done alone. Repeat the other fingers in their order and record the impressions of all the ten fingers.

Having recorded the rolled impressions proceed to record the Plain impressions. Have the subject extend his right arm and fingers stretched out and thumb held under the fingers. Hold the subject’s  right wrist with your right hand. With the fingers of your hand, press gently on his fingers so that they lightly touch the inked slab, ink all four fingers at a time. Press these inked fingers on the finger print form at the proper place. Similarly record the Plain impressions of left hand.


1. The roller and inking slab should be free from dust.

2. The subject’s hand should be washed and fingers should be dry.

3. Printers black ink should be used.

4. Avoid too much ink.

5. The ink should be spread event on the slab.

6. The fingers should not be rolled over the same part of the inking plate until it is re-rolled with ink.

7. Too much pressure on the fingers while inking or recording should be avoided.

8. Finger printing of persons having skin disease should be avoided.

9. Missing or deformed fingers should be properly documented  in  their respective  space on finger print form

10. Deformities,  scars  cuts, etc should be fully described and it should be noted whether these are  temporary or permanent.


1. To find out whether a person is having previous criminal record.

2. To compare with questioned print(s)on the documents

3. To identity SCENE OF CRIME prints with the fingerprints of the suspect.

4. For using as signature by illiterate people.

5. The fingerprint slip of unidentified dead body is prePared with a view to identify the deceased at a later stage.

6. For filling in criminal record of convicted persons in the bureau.

7. The fingerprints of inmates are required for elimination purpose before the chance prints are searched in whole fingerprints record of bureau.


1.  The ink has not been spread evenly on the slab. If not evenly spread the impression may be faint or over-inked.

2. The fingers of the subject were not properly cleaned & dry/ inked.

3. The fingers of the subject were not rolled properly.

4. The full phallange of the finger were not fingerprinted.

5. Pressure on the fingers/hand of the subject while recording of fingerprints were not proper. Some place more pressure applied and very dark or painted prints obtained while where pressure applied was very less, faint prints were obtained.

190 thoughts on “How to record fingerprints?

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