Shredded paper can be sorted and attempts made to reconstruct the original document(s). The pieces are sorted into categories (for example, printed, handwritten, coloured paper etc) and gradually pieced together. Low-tack adhesive sheets are used to hold the pieces together, but they can be easily repositioned or removed. Permanent methods will not be used to fix the pieces without prior discussion.

In the case of cross-cut shredders, it can be extremely difficult to carry out a reconstruction due to the large number of small pieces that may be completely blank. Partial reconstructions may aid in an investigation and provide useful intelligence information. 

These examinations can be very time-consuming and are best conducted as staged examinations. Feedback and images can be provided at the end of each stage. 


The process can be made easier if you know the type of document that may be present (company details, financial documents etc.). An example of the specific type of document is helpful.

Please try not to interfere with the layers of shredding in the shredder bin - if possible submit the entire bin without emptying it out.

It can also be possible to match two torn edges, for example to show that a notebook page came from a particular notebook.

Shredded Paper in Waste Basket.webp


Potential examinations include:


  • page removal by examination of staple holes 

  • page substitution

  • erasures to text

  • additions using different ink


Examinations of ink entries can be carried out using a Projectina Inspec 8s. This machine uses different light sources and filters at particular wavelengths to demonstrate differences in optical properties of inks. 

All examinations are non-destructive and will not harm or alter the document. 

Hover over the image below to see the visualisation of an altered ink entry. 


My office is equipped with a Projectina Inspec8s. This uses specialised light sources and filters to visualise differences between inks and other features of documents.