# Graphs of Logarithmic Functions

Graph

y = log
a
x Note:
log
log
y
a
x
a
y x a x
x y a y
= · =
= · =

Since this is an inverse of an exponential function, the graph is a reflection of the
exponential function y = in the line y = x.

Since

log
a
1= 0, the function passes through the point ____________. (This corresponds to the point
(0, 1) on the exponential function, since

1= a
0
.)

The asymptote to the function

y = log
a
x is _____________________ .

(This corresponds to the asymptote of the exponential function

y = a
x
, which is _______________.)

Since

x = 0 is an asymptote to the function, we cannot find 0 log
a
. (It does not exist.)
Similarly,

log
a
x for

x < 0 does not exist.

Therefore, we have the following restrictions on the function

y = log
a
x.

Summary:
1) Considering the restrictions on the base a for exponential functions, we see that

y = log
a
x is defined only if ________________________.

2) As for the variable,

y = log
a
x is defined only for ________________.

In other words, the number x must be strictly positive. You cannot take the log of a negative number
and end up with a real answer.

Example 1:

Graph

y = logx and

y = log
2
x on the same set of coordinate axes.

What is the likely position of

y = log
5
x ? Sketch

y = log
5
x as well.

Example 2:

Graph

y ÷ 4 =log
2
x +3 ( ) .

The transformations that apply to the quadratic and exponential functions apply in the same manner to
the logarithmic function.

Strategy: Graph

y = log
2
x and shift everything (including the origin):

a) horizontally ________________ b) vertically ___________ ________

The following key features of

y = log
2
x will be translated.

1 (1, 0) shifts to_________ 2 (2, 1) shifts to _________

3 (4, 2) shifts to__________ 4 (8, 3) shifts to _________

5 (16, 4) shifts to ________

6 The asymptote

x = 0 shifts 3 units to the left, and so the asymptote for the function

y ÷ 4 =log
2
x +3 ( ) becomes the line __________

7 If we pretend that a “new origin” exists at (–3, 4), [a horizontal translation of the first origin 3 units
to the left and a vertical translation 4 units up], we can then draw a graph of the function x y
2
log =

Example 3: Draw the function

y =÷log
2
x .

Example 4:

Analyze the graph of

y =log 2x +3 ( ) . Identify the domain, range, asymptotes and intercepts.

Example 8:

Determine the domain of the function

y =log
2x÷3
(x).