How can I make my X or Y axis a logarithmic scale in Surfer?

Logarithmically distributed data does not display clearly on linear axes.  While there is not a direct way to apply logarithmic scaling to axes in Surfer, the same appearance can still be achieved. To have the X or Y axis in logarithmic scale, take the log of the original data in the Surfer worksheet and regrid the data. 

To calculate the log of the data in Surfer's worksheet:

  1. Click File | Open and open the data file in the Surfer worksheet.
  2. Click Data | Data | Transform.
  3. If the data you want to be log is in column A, and column D is the empty column where you want to store the log values, enter the Transform equationD = log10(A). This will calculate the log base 10 of the values in column A and enter them into column D.
  4. Click File | Save and File | Close to save and close the data file.
  5. Click Grids | New Grid | Grid Data, select the data file and click Open.
  6. Choose your gridding parameters, selecting column D as the X or Y data column instead of column A.
  7. Click OK and the new grid is created. Create a map of this data. The axes will still be linearly scaled, but the values will be the log values.

To illustrate that the data is logarithmic, a prefix of "10^" can be added to each label by completing the steps below.

  1. In the Contents window, click the Bottom Axis (X) or Left Axis (Y) to select it.
  2. Click the Labels tab in the Properties window.
  3. Expand the Label Format section.
  4. Enter 10^ in the Prefix field.

 Surfer contour map with log values on the X axis

If you would like to see true logarithmic axes as a feature in Surfer, please let us know by emailing


Updated October 23, 2018

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