How to include interactive hotspots in your web site
Learn how to use image maps in Dreamweaver to create interactive hotspots for your web site.

An image map is an image that has been divided into regions called hotspots; when a user clicks a hotspot, an action occurs (for example, a new file opens).

Client-side image maps store the hypertext link information in the HTML document—not in a separate map file as server-side image maps do. When a site visitor clicks a hotspot in the image, the associated URL is sent directly to the server. This makes client-side image maps faster than server-side image maps, because the server does not need to interpret where the visitor clicked. 

Dreamweaver does not alter references to server-side image maps in existing documents; you can use both client-side image maps and server-side image maps in the same document. However, browsers that support both types of image maps give priority to client-side image maps. To include a server-side image map in a document, you must write the appropriate HTML code.

Insert client-side image maps

When you insert a client-side image map, you create a hotspot area and then define a link that opens when a user clicks the hotspot area.


You can create multiple hotspot areas, but they are part of the same image map.

  1. In the Document window, select the image.
  2. In the Property inspector, click the expander arrow in the lower-right corner to see all properties.
  3. In the Map field, enter a unique name for the image map. If you are using multiple image maps in the same document, make sure each map has a unique name.

  4. To define the image map areas, do one of the following:
    • Select the circle tool  and drag the pointer over the image to create a circular hotspot.

    • Select the rectangle tool  and drag the pointer over the image to create a rectangular hotspot.

    • Select the polygon tool  and define an irregularly shaped hotspot by clicking once for each corner point. Click the arrow tool to close the shape.

      After you create the hotspot, the hotspot Property inspector appears.

  5. In the Link field, click the folder icon to browse to and select the file you want to open when the user clicks the hotspot, or type the path.

  6. In the Target drop-down list, select the window in which the file should open or type its name.

    The names of all the frames you’ve named in the current document appear in the pop‑up list. If you specify a frame that doesn’t exist, the linked page loads into a new window that has the name you specified. You can also select from the following reserved target names:

    • _blank loads the linked file into a new, unnamed browser window.
    • _parent loads the linked file into the parent frameset or window of the frame that contains the link. If the frame containing the link is not nested, the linked file loads into the full browser window.
    • _self loads the linked file into the same frame or window as the link. This target is the default, so you usually don’t need to specify it.
    • _top loads the linked file into the full browser window, thereby removing all frames.
    • _new loads the linked file in a new browser window.


    The target option isn’t available until the selected hotspot contains a link.  

  7. In the Alt box, type alternative text for display in text‑only browsers or browsers that download images manually. Some browsers display this text as a tooltip when the user moves the pointer over the hotspot.
  8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 to define additional hotspots in the image map.
  9. When you finish mapping the image, click a blank area in the document to change the Property inspector.

Modify image map hotspots

You can easily edit the hotspots you create in an image map. You can move a hotspot area, resize hotspots, or move a hotspot forward or back in an absolutely-positioned element (AP element).

You can also copy an image with hotspots from one document to another, or copy one or more hotspots from an image and paste them on another image; hotspots associated with the image are also copied to the new document.

Select multiple hotspots in an image map

  1. Use the pointer hotspot tool to select a hotspot.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Shift-click the other hotspots you want to select.

    • Press Control+A (Windows) or Command+A (Macintosh) to select all of the hotspots.

Move a hotspot

  1. Use the pointer hotspot tool to select the hotspot.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Drag the hotspot to a new area.

    • Use the Control + arrow keys to move a hotspot by 10 pixels in the selected direction.

    • Use the arrow keys to move a hotspot by 1 pixel in the selected direction.

Resize a hotspot

  1. Use the pointer hotspot tool  to select the hotspot.
  2. Drag a hotspot selector handle to change the size or shape of the hotspot.