Abstract A correct description of relationship between mechanical behaviour and substructure of metallic materials at large strains is possible by comprehensive analysis of substructure characteristics in crystals. For this purposes the deformation-induced substructures of crystals are studied locally by means of electron backscatter diffraction and transmission electron microscopy, and integrally by evaluation of X-ray diffraction peaks. The different resolutions of the applied techniques enable the substructure characteristics such as the mean total dislocation density, the density of excess dislocations of one sign, mean lattice disorientations, cell block size, etc. to be obtained on different length and volume scales. The present paper demonstrates correct analysis of deformation-induced substructure using the combination of these techniques by investigations of substructure evolution in Al crystals during uniaxial compression up to strains ɛ ≈ 2.