FAQs for manual testing

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Creating manual test plans

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Q: Can I rename my test plan?

A: Yes, open the test plan from the shortcut menu and rename it.

Rename a test plan

Q: Can I permanently delete my test plan?

A: Yes, do this from the shortcut menu for the test plan.

Delete a test plan

See also Delete test artifacts

Q: Can I group and reorder my requirement-based test suites together?

A: Yes, you can create a static test suite that can contain any type of test suites - just like folders. Drag test suites to group them in a static test plan. Drag and drop tests to reorder them.

Use static test suites like folders

Q: What are query-based test suites ?

A: Use a query to group together test cases that have a particular characteristic, for example, all tests that have Priority=1. The suite will automatically include every test case that is returned by the query that you define.

Q: Can I edit other properties of a test plan from the test hub?

A: You can only do this from Microsoft Test Manager (MTM). If you're using Visual Studio 2017, Visual Studio 2015, Visual Studio 2013, or Visual Studio 2012 Update 3, you can open a test plan in MTM directly from the Test hub. (The most recently installed version of MTM is launched.)

Open test plan using Microsoft Test Manager

Q: Can I copy, clone, and move test plans and test suites?

A: Yes, install the Test Case Explorer extension from Marketplace.

Q: Can I export the test plan to share or review offline?

A: Yes, you can export test plans, test suites, and test cases. Select the details that you want in the report. Then email or print this report for review.

Right-click a test suite, and choose Export

Change the test case fields in the report by adding or removing columns from the list view of the test suite.

Q: When I export a test plan, can I just view the data or copy it to a Word document?

A: Yes, choose Print in the Export dialog box, then choose Cancel in the Print dialog box. This displays the data in the report. Select all the text, then copy and paste it into a Word document, if you want. All the formatting in the report is retained.

Q: When I export a test plan, can I customize the report?

A: You can only do this if you are using an on-premises Team Foundation Server. You can edit the XSLT file.

Q: Can I track changes to test plans and test suites that I create with VSTS?

A: Yes, you can track changes to test plans and test suites. Open the work item for the test plan or test suite, then view the work item history.

For test suites, other actions are tracked in the Test Suite Audit field. For example, adding and removing test cases from a test suite are tracked in this field.


Creating manual test cases

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Q: Can I rename or permanently delete test cases?

A: Yes. Open the test case from its shortcut menu.

Open a test case for editing

Then rename it.

Rename a test case

Or permanently delete it.

Delete a test case

See also Delete test artifacts

Q: Can I add an extra line to a test step?

A: Yes, press Shift+Enter in the action or expected results field to add an extra line.

Q: How do I insert a test step into a test case?

A: Select a test step. Press Alt+P to insert a new test step above the selected step.

Q: Is there a way to quickly add multiple test cases at the same time?

A: Yes, use the grid view when you add test cases to the test suite.

Create new test cases using the grid

On the grid shortcut menu, you can add, delete, or clear rows.

Use the grid's shortcut menu to insert, delete, or clear rows

Switch between Grid and List views using the View menu at the right of the window.

Use the View menu to switch between List and Grid views

Note: Do not use the Team plugin for Excel to add or update test case work items. Excel cannot parse the format used to store test steps, and in some cases this may affect the formatting of the test case work items.

Q: Can I bulk edit multiple test cases?

A: Yes, switch the view from List to Grid. The grid shows all the test cases for the current test suite and all the test steps for those cases. This is a helpful view if you want to review your test cases with other team members. When you review, you can update and add new test cases.

To change from list to grid view, choose List

Or, you can filter and sort the test cases in list view. Then select just the ones that you want to bulk edit using the grid.

Select test cases in listview to bulk edit in grid view

To return to the test suite view, switch the view from Grid back to List.

Q: Can I copy, clone, and move test plans and test suites?

A: Yes, install the Test Case Explorer extension from Marketplace.

Q: Can I copy test cases and test steps from an existing Excel worksheet?

A: Yes, copy the columns from Excel that you want to use for the title, action, and expected results fields. No column formatting, other than multiline, is copied from the worksheet. Paste these columns into the grid view, edit if necessary, and save them. (This is supported only with Internet Explorer and Chrome browsers.)

Save copied test cases in grid view

Q: Can I copy test cases from the grid to an Excel worksheet?

A: Yes, copy the data from the grid and paste it into your Excel worksheet. No test step formatting, other than multiline, is copied into the worksheet. (This is supported only with Internet Explorer and Chrome browsers.)

Q: Can I edit other fields in the grid view?

A: Yes, in List view use the column options to select the fields in the test case work item.

Use column options to select fields to edit

You can then view and edit these fields when you switch to the grid view.

Q: Can I reorder test cases in a test suite?

A: Yes, you can reorder manual test cases in static suites, requirement-based suites, and query-based suites. Choose Order tests on the tool bar, then drag and drop one or more tests. Or open the shortcut menu for a test to move it to the top or to another position. After reordering the tests, you can sort them by the Order field and then run them in that order with the web runner.

Order test cases

Q: Can I tag test cases so that I can see only tests with specific tags?

A: Yes, you can tag test cases in a suite with any tag that you want. For example, tag all the tests related to login so that you can rerun these tests if a bug is fixed for the login page. Then you can filter on that tag from the Test hub.

You can add and edit tags when you edit a test case, or bulk edit tags in the grid view. You can also create suites based on queries when you use tags.

In Test hub, on the Test Plan tab, choose or add tags from the test case pane

Q: Can I share test steps between test cases?

A: Yes, choose the steps that you want to share. Find out more about sharing test steps.

Create shared test steps

Q: Can I add parameters to a test case so it can run multiple times with different data?

A: Yes, choose a test step, and then add the parameter. Find out more about repeating test steps with different data.

Add parameter to test step

Q: Can I share parameter data between test cases?

A: Yes. That way, test cases with the same parameters can run with same data, so you get consistent results. To share parameter data, convert your existing parameters to shared parameters.

In the Parameters section, choose Convert to shared parameters

After you create a shared parameter set, open another test case, and add the shared parameter set to that test case. Find out more about sharing parameters.

Add, edit, and rename your shared parameter sets on the Parameters tab. In the test cases pane, view the test cases that use those parameters.

On the Parameters tab, turn on the test cases pane to view tests cases with shared parameters

Each shared parameter set is a work item. On the Properties tab, you can view or make changes to this work item. For example, you can assign owners and track changes.

Q: Can I import parameter values from an Excel spreadsheet to my shared parameter sets?

A: Yes, copy the data from your Excel spreadsheet and paste it into your shared parameters grid. You can also copy the data from your grid back into Excel, if necessary.

Q: How can I find out if a test case was added to other test suites?

A: Select a test case, then view the test suites details. The Associated test suites pane shows you any test suite for any test plan that contains this test case. This includes all projects.

Click the associated test suite to view it. To view the project and the test plan for that test suite, move your pointer over the test suite.

On Tests tab, click details pane. Select test suites in the test details pane

Q: What happens when I delete a test case from a requirement-based test suite?

A: The test case still exists in your project, but the test case is removed from the test suite. Also, it's no longer linked to the backlog item for that test suite.

Q: Why do I see the wrong test suite and tests when I click 'View Tests' from the notification email about tests that are assigned to me?

A: This might happen if you were prompted to enter sign-in credentials for VSTS when you clicked this link. Without signing out of VSTS, click 'View Tests' again to see the correct test suite and tests.


Running manual tests

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Q: How do I rerun a test?

A: Just select any test and choose Run.

Q: Can I run all the tests in a test suite together?

A: Yes, select a test suite and choose Run. This runs all the active tests in the test suite. If you haven't run a test yet, its state is active. You can reset the state of a test to active if you want to rerun it.

Select and run all active tests in a test suite

Q: Can I choose a build to run tests against?

A: Yes, Choose Run and then select Run with options.

Starting a test with options

Select the build you want from the drop-down list.

Selecting the build to include a link to in the results

Any bug filed during the run will automatically be associated with the selected build, and the test outcome will be published against that build.

Q: Can I fix my test steps while I'm running a test?

A: Yes, if you have the Test Manager for VSTS. You can insert, move, or delete steps. Or you can edit the text itself. Use the edit icon next to the test step number to do this.

Select the edit icon to edit test steps

The tool to edit the test steps is shown.

Fix test steps when you run a test

Q: Can I add a screenshot to the test results when I am running a test?

A: If you are using Google Chrome, you can use the web runner to take screenshots of the web app while testing.

Capturing a screenshot from the app

For more information, see Collect diagnostic data.

Q: Can I capture my actions on the app as a log?

A: If you are using Google Chrome, you can use the web runner capture your actions on the web app as image logs while testing.

Capturing an image action log from the app

For more information, see Collect diagnostic data.

Q: Can I capture screen recordings of my app?

A: If you are using Google Chrome, you can use the web runner to capture screen recordings of your web and desktop apps while testing.

Capturing a screen recording from the app

For more information, see Collect diagnostic data.

Q: How do I control how long I keep my test data?

A: Learn more here.

Q: Can I run tests offline and then import the results?

A: Yes, see the Offline Test Execution extension.


Tracking test status

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Q: Can I view the recent test results for an individual test case?

A: Yes, select the test case within a test suite and then choose to view the test details pane.

From test suite, select test case. On toolbar, click test details icon to view the test details pane

View the recent test results for this test case.

In test details pane, open the Pane list, choose Test Results

Q: How is data shown in the charts for test cases that are in multiple test suites?

A: For test case charts, if a test case has been added to multiple test suites in a plan then it's only counted once. For test result charts, each instance of a test that is run is counted for each of the test suites separately.

Q: Who can create charts?

A: You need at least a Basic access to create charts.

Q: How can I edit or delete a chart?

A: Select the option you want from the chart's context menu.

Q: How do I control how long I keep my test data?

A: Learn more here.


Repeating a test with different data

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Q: Are parameters the best way to specify that the test should be run on different operating system platforms? And with different browsers, databases, and so on?

A: It's better to use test configurations for that. With test case parameters, you run the different parameter values one after another, which makes it difficult to switch from one platform to another.

Q: Can I use parameters in shared steps?

A: Yes. You set the parameter values in the test cases where you use the shared steps.

Q: Can I import parameter values from an Excel spreadsheet to my shared parameter sets?

A: Yes. Copy the data from your Excel spreadsheet and paste it into your shared parameters grid. You can also copy the data from your grid back into Excel if you need to.


Managing test results

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Q: What are the default retention limits?

A: For projects created before October 2015, VSTS doesn't delete results from automated tests and manual tests unless you change the retention limit.

For new projects created after October 2015, VSTS deletes all test results after one year (365 days), unless you chose to indefinitely retain a build associated with those results.

Q: What is the default test retention policy for XAML builds?

A: By default, a XAML build definition is set up to delete builds older than the 10 most recent builds. But related test results aren't automatically deleted when those builds are deleted. Learn more.

Q: Why isn't test data deleted for XAML builds by default?

A: By default, this is turned off because 10 builds can happen very quickly, especially with continuous integration builds. Test results are often deleted before you can analyze them.

Q: How do I keep a build indefinitely?

A: Like this:

Keep a build indefinitely


Sharing steps between test cases

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Q: How do I use shared steps in Microsoft Test Manager?**

A: It's almost exactly the same in Microsoft Test Manager as in the web portal. The buttons look slightly different.

Q: Can I find all my shared steps, and all the test cases where they are used?**

A: Yes. Open Microsoft Test Manager and look under Organize, Shared Steps Manager.
Shared steps and test cases are stored as work items in Team Foundation Server.

Q: Can I share steps between test plans and projects?**

A: Yes. But don't forget that if you edit shared steps, the changes appear in every place you use them.

Q: Can I use parameters in shared steps?**

A: Yes. You provide values for the parameters in the test cases where the shared steps are used.
You don't have to provide values in the shared steps definition. However, you can provide one default row of values, which is used when you create an action recording of a standalone shared step.


Test & Feedback extension

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Q: Which web browsers does the extension support?

A: The Test & Feedback extension is currently available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox version 50.0 and higher. Edge support is planned.

Some browser versions do not currently support all the features of the Test & Feedback extension.

Feature Chrome Firefox
Capture screenshots with inline annotations   Yes   Yes
Capture notes   Yes   Yes
Capture screen recordings   Yes   No
Capture page load data   Yes   No
Capture user actions log   Yes   No
Capture system information   Yes   No
Create bugs   Yes   Yes
Create tasks and test cases   Yes   Yes
Create feedback requests   Yes   Yes
Export session report for sharing   Yes   Yes
End-to-end tracability for workitems   Yes   Yes
Simplified bug and task tracking and triaging   Yes   Yes
View and get insights from sessions   Yes   Yes
View similar existing bugs   Yes   Yes
Test app on devices using cloud providers such as Perfecto   Yes   No
Manage feedback requests   Yes   Yes

For more details, see Visual Studio Marketplace.

Q: How do I play the video recordings I created with the extension?

A: The video recordings created by the Test & Feedback extension can be viewed in Google Chrome browser and in the VLC Video Player.

Q: Does the extension support Team Foundation Server?

A: The Test & Feedback extension supports Team Foundation Server 2015 and later. All users, including stakeholders, can use the extension in Connected mode with all the functionality except session insights and the request and provide feedback flow, which are supported only for TFS 2017.

Q: Can I edit an existing bug instead of creating a new bug when using the Test & Feedback extension?

A: Yes, the extension automatically shows bugs that may be related to the one you are creating and allows you to add your screenshots, notes, and videos to this existing bug. For more details, see Add findings to existing bugs with exploratory testing.

Q: On Google Chrome, the mouse offset towards the left makes it difficult to use. Do you have a workaround?

A: The workaround is:

  1. Navigate to chrome://flags/#enable-use-zoom-for-dsf
  2. Search for 'Use Blink's zoom for device scale factor'
  3. Change it to Disabled

Microsoft Test Manager

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Q: Can I record a test in one test plan and play it back in another?

A: Yes, this is a great way to do regression tests quickly and accurately. If you want to repeat some tests you did in a previous sprint, just add those test cases to the test plan for the current sprint. The recording is linked to the test case, not to its appearance in any particular test plan or suite.

Q: Can I record a test in one test configuration and play it back in a different configuration? The tests for different configurations show up as separate tests in the Run page.

A: Yes, the recording is linked to the test case, so you can play it back from any instance of that test case, even in different test configurations, test suites, or test plans.

Q: Some or all of my actions aren't recorded, or the playback doesn't work properly. Why?

A: Action recording works best for apps in which each user interface field has a unique ID, and for basic actions such as keystrokes, clicks, and menu selections. It doesn't work for some apps and web browsers. See Supported configurations and platforms for coded UI tests and action recordings. To learn how to develop your app so that it's easier to record tests, see Enable coded UI testing of your controls.

Q: Record and playback is great. But can I completely automate a test, including verifying the results?

A: Yes, see Automate system tests.


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