PROPERTIES OF LOGARITHMS
SOLVING LOGARITHMIC EQUATIONS
1. To solve a logarithmic equation, rewrite the equation in exponential form and solve for the variable.
Example 5: Consider the function
Find the inverse .
Solution:

 Step 1: From the graph, we determine that the function f(x) is onetoone and therefore has a unique inverse. How can you tell from the graph that a function is onetoone? Use the horizontal line test. Mentally run a horizontal line over the graph. If at any time, the line touches the graph in more than one place, it is not a onetoone function.

 Step 2: Since f(x) is a onetoone function, we know that the inverse exists. The inverse of a logarithmic function is an exponential function.

 Step 3: We know that the domain and range of f(x) are equal to the range and domain of . From the graph of f(x), the domain is the set of all real numbers, and the range is the set of all positive real numbers.

 Step 4: We know that the composition of a function with its inverse will yield x or

 Step 5: Find f(inverse):

 Step 6: Convert the equation to an exponential equation:

 Step 7: Isolate the term using steps 8 through 13.

 Step 8: Subtract from both sides of the above equation:

 Step 9: Square both sides of the above equation:

 Step 10: Expand the left side of the above equation:

 Step 11: Subtract from both sides of the above equation:

 Step 12: Subtract from both sides of the above equation:

 Step 13: Divide both sides of the above equation by
to get
Check: You can check the problem by graphing the function f(x), graphing its inverse, and graphing the line y = x. If the graphs of the function and its inverse are symmetric to the line y = x, you have correctly found the inverse.
You can also check your answer by finding a point on the original graph, say (a, b), and determine whether the point (b,a) is on the graph of the inverse. This is not a perfect check, but it will alert you of a wrong
answer.
For example,
indicates that the point is a point on the graph of f(x).
indicates that the point is located on the graph of .
If you would like to review another example, click on Example.
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