This paper proposes an analytical approach to detect depth-of-cut variations based on the cutting-force shape characteristics in end milling. Cutting forces of a single-flute end mill are analyzed and classified into three types according to their shape characteristics. Cutting forces of a multiple-flute end mill are then classified by considering both the cutting types of the corresponding single-flute end mill and the degree of overlap of successive flutes in the cut. Force indices are extracted from the cutting forces and depth-of-cut variations are detected based on the changes of the force shape characteristics via the force indices in an end-milling process. The detection methodology is validated through cutting experiments.