How to convert a percent grade to slope in degrees

Written by petra wakefield
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How to convert a percent grade to slope in degrees
You can record a hill's slope in degrees or per cent. (Hill image by Andrew Korobejnik from

Per cent grade and slope in degrees both indicate the amount that elevation changes over a certain distance, which determines how steep a hill or slope is. Per cent grade denotes the percentage of change in the elevation--for example, if a hill rises 20 feet over a 100-foot distance, it has a 20 per cent slope. The slope in degrees indicates the angle between the surface of a hill and level ground.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scientific calculator

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  1. 1

    Divide the per cent grade by 100.

  2. 2

    Take the arctangent of this number using a scientific calculator. Your calculator may have an "atan" button, or you may need to press the "2nd" or "inv" button, then the "tan" button.

  3. 3

    Write "°" after the result to indicate degrees.

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