How To: Invert a surface with ArcGIS Spatial Analyst


Instructions provided describe how to invert a surface with ArcGIS Spatial Analyst. Inverting a surface will make the lowest cell the highest and vice versa.

This article pertains to ArcGIS versions 8.x and 9.x  Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.


  1. Start ArcMap and add surface layer.
  2. Right-click on the surface layer and select Properties.
  3. Find the minimum and maximum value.
These values will be needed for Step 4.
  1. Set the Extent and Cell Size to the surface layer in Spatial Analyst > Options.
  2. In the Raster Calculator type the following expression, substituting <maximum> and <minimum> with values from Step 2.
invert = (([elevgrd] - <maximum>) * -1) + <minimum>