Abstract Due to the heterogeneity of metal distribution, it is challenging to identify the speciation, source and fate of metals in solid samples at micro scales. To overcome these challenges single particles of air pollution control residues were detected in situ by synchrotron microprobe after each step of chemical extraction and analyzed by multivariate statistical analysis. Results showed that Pb, Cu and Zn co-existed as acid soluble fractions during chemical extraction, regardless of their individual distribution as chlorides or oxides in the raw particles. Besides the forms of Fe2O3, MnO2 and FeCr2O4, Fe, Mn, Cr and Ni were closely associated with each other, mainly as reducible fractions. In addition, the two groups of metals had interrelations with the Si-containing insoluble matrix. The binding could not be directly detected by micro-X-ray diffraction (μ-XRD) and XRD, suggesting their partial existence as amorphous forms or in the solid solution. The combined method on single particles can effectively determine metallic multi-associations and various extraction behaviors that could not be identified by XRD, μ-XRD or X-ray absorption spectroscopy. The results are useful for further source identification and migration tracing of heavy metals.