In this article, we present a study on construction and characterization of a heating stage compatible to commercially available scanning probe microscopes working in contact and tapping modes. Thermal properties of the heating stage have been characterized. With the heating stage, sample surface temperature can reach as high as 215 °C while the scanner temperature is kept below 125 °C. Below 50 °C, the stage temperature is very stable, with fluctuations less than 0.05 °C within half an hour. In both the contact and tapping mode of the force microscope, the image distortions have been calibrated, which occurs due to the decrease of piezoelectric coefficient at high temperature. It has been found that a cork wood spacer is excellent for thermal isolation to prevent the scanner from overheating. Examples of applications of the heating stage will be presented and discussed. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.