Survey Platform - Heat Map | Qualtrics

Heat Map


The Heat Map question type is used to gather feedback on images. The respondent is presented with an image and invited to click anywhere on that image. Unlike the Hot Spot question, respondents are not limited to selecting pre-determined regions of the image. Hidden regions may, however, be added for reporting purposes.

Example: You might ask users to view a page from your website, and tell them to find a certain feature. This question can be combined with a Timing question to measure how long each respondent takes to find the appropriate button.

The respondent in this question has clicked on the “Support” button, as indicated by the crosshairs.

Setting Up a Heat Map Question

  1. Click Choose Graphic and select a graphic you’ve already uploaded to your account (or upload a new one from your computer).image06
  2. Set the number of clicks each respondent may make on the image (“1” is the default). If the respondent clicks more than the allowed number of times, their oldest click will be replaced with the newest one.image05
  3. If desired, click Add Region.image03
    Qtip: Regions are not required for a Heat Map question, but they can make reporting easier. Rather than reporting just the coordinates of each click, Qualtrics can report the number of respondents who click in each defined region.
  4. Click and drag the region to move it, or click and drag the corners to resize it.
  5. Click the text box beneath the region to type a region name (this name will not display to respondents, but will be used in your survey results).image07
  6. Repeat steps 3–5 to add all desired regions.

Custom Region Shapes

By default, all regions are rectangles. In certain scenarios, however, you may need different region shapes. For example, on a map, you may need a freeform region shape to cover a specific city or county.

To customize a region shape

  1. Click anywhere on the region to select it.
  2. Click the blue dropdown arrow next to the region name to open the Region Options.
  3. Choose Edit Shapes.image10
  4. Click on any edge of the existing shape to add a new point to that edge.image04
  5. Move the newly added points to create any shape you need.
Qtip: You can also use the blue shape editing toolbar at the top of the question to Draw New Shape, Add Point, Remove Point, or Remove Shape.image02

Data Analysis

Once your responses have been collected, Qualtrics offers various methods to create reports both in and out of the platform. From the Reports module, you can view aggregate data with pre-made reports as well as create your own. From the Data & Analysis module, you can view and manipulate your survey responses on an individual basis.


There is one visualization type available for Heat Map questions: the Heat Map visualization. For more information on this visualization please visit the linked visualization support page.

If you have added regions to your heat map question, then the number of clicks for each region can be viewed in a Simple Table, Bar Chart, Line Chart, Pie Chart, or Breakdown Bar visualization type.

Downloaded Data Format

In the downloaded data set, two columns will be provided for each click participants were allowed to make on the image. One column will include the x-coordinates of each click (from the top-left of the image), and the other will include the y-coordinates of each click (from the top-left of the image), both measured in pixels.


If regions were added on the Heat Map question, an additional column will be included for each region with a “1” if the participant clicked within that region, and a “0” if they didn’t.