For many semiconductor and photovoltaic applications the quality of substrate surfaces is an important requirement for the development of new devices. Therefore, methods are needed to analyse the surface structure in detail. In the following a new method is described that allows a fast analysis of as-cut or artificially modified and textured surfaces. It uses laser confocal microscopy images. Therefrom the orientation of small surface elements are detected and depicted in an orientation distribution function of surface normals. The method is applied to as-sawn mc-silicon surfaces. It will be shown that it is also possible to determine the grain orientation for grains near 〈111〉 crystal direction by this method. The combination of electron backscatter diffraction and orientation distribution function analysis enables the detailed investigation of surface elements of an anisotropic etched silicon wafer. Inhomogeneity of surface textures can easily and rapidly be visualised by this method. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.