# Identity function

In mathematics, an **identity function**, also called an **identity relation**, **identity map** or **identity transformation**, is a function that always returns the value that was used as its argument, unchanged. That is, when f is the identity function, the equality *f*(*X*) = *X* is true for all values of X to which f can be applied.

Formally, if *M* is a set, the identity function *f* on *M* is defined to be a function with *M* as its domain and codomain, satisfying

In other words, the function value *f*(*X*) in the codomain *M* is always the same as the input element *X* in the domain *M*. The identity function on M is clearly an injective function as well as a surjective function, so it is bijective.^{[2]}

In set theory, where a function is defined as a particular kind of binary relation, the identity function is given by the identity relation, or *diagonal* of *M*.^{[3]}

If *f* : *M* → *N* is any function, then we have *f* ∘ id_{M} = *f* = id_{N} ∘ *f* (where "∘" denotes function composition). In particular, id_{M} is the identity element of the monoid of all functions from *M* to *M* (under function composition).

Since the identity element of a monoid is unique,^{[4]} one can alternately define the identity function on *M* to be this identity element. Such a definition generalizes to the concept of an identity morphism in category theory, where the endomorphisms of *M* need not be functions.