How to Find Derivative of Inverse Function – A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Find Derivative of Inverse Function A Step-by-Step Guide

To find the derivative of an inverse function, I first ensure that the function in question is indeed invertible, meaning it’s both continuous and one-to-one on a given interval.

Understanding the relationship between a function and its inverse is crucial, as it allows me to exploit the known derivatives of standard functions when working with their inverses.

Once confirmed, I use the formula $\frac{d}{dx} [f^{-1}(x)] = \frac{1}{f'(f^{-1}(x))}$, provided the derivative of the original function, (f'(x)), is not zero.

By expressing the derivative of an inverse function through this relationship, it becomes a matter of substitution and algebraic manipulation to find the derivative at a specific point.

This technique is particularly handy when dealing with inverse trigonometric functions or the natural logarithm and exponential functions, which are classic pairs of inverses.

Stay with me as we explore this mathematical journey, and I promise you’ll find it just as rewarding as unraveling a good mystery.

Steps for Finding Derivatives of Their Inverses

When I deal with inverse functions, I always keep in mind that finding their derivatives requires a good grasp of algebra and the chain rule. The process takes into account the domain, range, and codomain of the original function. Here’s a friendly step-by-step guide to navigating through this concept:

  1. Ensure bijectivity: First, I make sure that the function ( f ) whose inverse I am going to differentiate is one-to-one (bijective). This means it has a well-defined inverse on its domain and range.

  2. Apply the Inverse Function Theorem: Understanding that if ( f ) is differentiable and ( f’ ) (its derivative) is non-zero on an interval, its inverse function $f^{-1} $ is differentiable on the respective interval.

  3. Setup the relationship: I note that if $y = f^{-1}(x) ), then ( x = f(y)$. The derivative formula I use based on the chain rule then is $\frac{dy}{dx} = \frac{1}{ \frac{dx}{dy} } $.

  4. Find ( \frac{dx}{dy} ): I take the derivative of the inverse function with respect to ( y ), considering ( x ) as a function of ( y ).

  5. Substitute and simplify: Finally, I calculate ( \frac{dy}{dx} ) by plugging in the value of ( \frac{dx}{dy} ) from the original function into the reciprocal.

Here’s a quick reference table for the process:

Ensure bijectivityCheck if ( f ) is bijective
Apply the Inverse Function TheoremConfirm ( f ) is differentiable with non-zero ( f’ )
Setup the relationshipLink $ y = f^{-1}(x)$ and $ x = f(y)$
Find ( \frac{dx}{dy} )Differentiate ( x = f(y) ) with respect to ( y )
Substitute and simplifyPlug in $\frac{dx}{dy} ) to get ( \frac{dy}{dx} $

By keeping these steps in mind, I can approach the derivatives of inverse functions systematically and accurately.

Special Inverse Functions and Their Derivatives

When I handle inverse trigonometric functions the approach is a bit different from regular functions. The derivatives of standard inverse trigonometric functions follow specific patterns.

Let’s take a closer look at how to find these derivatives using calculus principles.

The inverse sine function, denoted as $\sin^{-1}(x)$ or $\arcsin(x)$, and the inverse cosine function, denoted as $\cos^{-1}(x)$ or $\arccos(x)$, are two fundamental inverse trigonometric functions.

To find their derivatives, I use the formula derived from implicit differentiation and the chain rule.

The formula for the derivative of the inverse sine function is:

$$ \frac{d}{dx} \arcsin(x) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-x^2}} $$

Similarly, the derivative of the inverse cosine is:

$$ \frac{d}{dx} \arccos(x) = \frac{-1}{\sqrt{1-x^2}} $$

One thing to remember is that these formulas assume the principal branch of these functions, where the output is restricted to the primary interval where each function is bijective.

For example, the inverse sine maps an interval of $[-1, 1]$ to $[-\frac{\pi}{2}, \frac{\pi}{2}]$, and the inverse cosine maps $[-1, 1]$ to $[0, \pi]$.

Here is a summary of the derivatives for the primary inverse trigonometric functions:

$\sin^{-1}(x)$ or $\arcsin(x)$$\frac{1}{\sqrt{1-x^2}}$
$\cos^{-1}(x)$ or $\arccos(x)$$\frac{-1}{\sqrt{1-x^2}}$
$\tan^{-1}(x)$ or $\arctan(x)$$\frac{1}{1+x^2}$
$\cot^{-1}(x)$ or $\arccot(x)$$\frac{-1}{1+x^2}$
$\sec^{-1}(x)$ or $\arcsec(x)$$\frac{1}{
$\csc^{-1}(x)$ or $\arccsc(x)$$\frac{-1}{

By understanding these derivatives, I can solve more complex problems that involve inverse trigonometric functions in calculus.

Leveraging Derivatives in Calculations

When I find the derivative of an inverse function, I’m essentially determining the slope of the tangent line at a point on the inverse function’s graph. This process is crucial because the slope at any point gives me the rate of change of the function at that point.

For regular functions, the process may involve power rule, simply stated as $\frac{d}{dx}[x^n] = nx^{n-1}$, product rule, $\frac{d}{dx}[uv] = u’v + uv’ $, and quotient rule, $\frac{d}{dx}\left[\frac{u}{v}\right] = \frac{u’v – uv’}{v^2} $, where ( u ) and ( v ) are functions of ( x ). I also find implicit differentiation handy when dealing with equations not solved for ( y ) explicitly.

Here’s a brief overview of applying these rules to find the derivatives of inverse functions:

  1. I apply the product rule when the function is the product of two or more functions.
  2. For ratios, the quotient rule is my go-to technique.
  3. Implicit differentiation is useful when the function is given in a form where ( y ) cannot be easily isolated.

When dealing with inverse functions, the derivative can sometimes be computed directly if the function is simple enough. However, in many cases, especially with trigonometric functions, I might have to apply the above rules carefully to find the derivative of an inverse.

Lastly, understanding the derivative enables me to solve for the area under the curve as well, which involves integration—essentially the reverse operation of differentiation.

Here’s how differentials of inverse functions relate to the original function:

Original Function (f)Inverse Function (f⁻¹)
f'(x)1 / (f⁻¹)'(y)
$f'(x) = \frac{dy}{dx} $$ (f⁻¹)'(y) = \frac{dx}{dy}$

In practice, once I have ( f'(x) ), I can find ( (f⁻¹)'(y) ) using this relationship, which essentially tells me that the derivative of the inverse function at ( y ) is the reciprocal of the derivative of the original function at ( x ).


In my exploration of derivatives of inverse functions, I’ve discussed the key points that help in understanding and computing these derivatives effectively.

Knowing that if a function ( f(x) ) is invertible and differentiable, it’s likely that its inverse $f^{-1}(x) $ is also differentiable.

To find the derivative of an inverse function, I make use of the simple but powerful formula $\left(f^{-1}\right)'(y) = \frac{1}{f’\left(f^{-1}(y)\right)} $, assuming $ y = f(x)$. This formula becomes a beacon when navigating through the problems involving inverse functions.

It’s also pivotal to remember that the derivative rule plays an integral role when we involve compositions of functions. It’s this rule that interlinks the relationship between a function and its inverse.

Always ensure that the function in question meets the criteria for having an inverse—being continuous and one-to-one on its interval. Emphasizing this condition secures the proper application of the aforementioned methods.

The journey of learning and applying these concepts improves with practice, intuition, and understanding of the underlying principles that govern them.

By steadily applying these techniques, calculating the derivative of an inverse function no longer appears as a formidable challenge but rather a straightforward task.