Automatic fingerprint identification is widely considered as the most reliable biometric person identification technique. The fingerprint recognition performance depends on the quality of fingerprint images. In this paper, we propose a method which applies a 1-D Gabor filter for ridge orientation estimation and image enhancement as well. The proposed method produces higher efficiency and better ridge smoothness than the conventional 2-D Gabor filtering. This approach contributes to the improvement of the accuracy of fingerprint minutiae extraction and the performance of minutiae matching.