Usage tips & tricks
TestRail contains many useful features and tricks for power users. This article explains some of these features to help you get the most out of TestRail’s user interface and functionality. Please refer to the sidebar menu on the right if you are interested in a specific topic.
One page element you can find on most pages in TestRail’s user interface is the toolbar. The toolbar provides useful functionality and options for the current page. For example, importing and exporting test cases is done through the toolbar on a test case page. Other useful things you can do from the toolbar include printing reports or jumping to related pages.
Moving and copying test cases
Moving and copying test cases (or entire sections) is often useful to duplicate or rearrange your test suites and test cases. There are two ways to copy and move test cases within TestRail, described below.
Copy/move from another test suite
If you want to copy or move test cases or entire sections from another test suite, simply open the Copy or Move dialog from the toolbar of a test suite. You can also use this dialog to duplicate entire test suites.
Copy/move within the same test suite
To copy or move test cases and entire sections within a test suite, you can drag & drop cases and sections. To do this, simply drag the little grip icon on the left of the checkboxes. If you want to copy test cases instead of moving them, simply press the Shift key before and during the operation.
Deleting and Restoring Test Cases
Deleting test cases will delete any associated tests from open test runs and plans. Users can delete test cases by marking them as deleted, or permanently and immediately deleting them. Test cases marked as deleted will be hidden from TestRail, but will be restorable for 7, 14, or 30 days. This can be configured by a TestRail administrator inside Administration > Site Settings > User Interface. Test cases permanently deleted will be immediately removed from the TestRail database and cannot be recovered without a full database restore.
Please Note: To avoid losing test data, we recommend closing test runs and plans as outlined here and restricting the permission to permanently delete test cases.
When marking test cases as deleted, the test cases are placed in a deleted state, removing them from test runs and plans, but keeping them in the TestRail database. You can show or hide these deleted test cases in the UI by toggling the button shown here:
From the time test cases are marked as deleted and until the configured retention period passes, Test cases in this deleted state can be restored in a few ways:
- By opening the bulk edit screen for deleted test cases.
- By viewing a deleted test case and clicking on the restore or edit button.
- Using the TestRail API and updating the is_deleted field.
Adding multiple test results
You can easily add test results for multiple tests by using the mass-action buttons on the test run page. Simply select multiple test results and use the Add Test Result button at the bottom of the page:
Using structured test steps
If you prefer a more structured approach to entering test steps, expected results, and actual results, you can use the structured steps control:
You can enable up to 4 fields for separated test steps: Step, Additional Info, Expected Result, and References. If you would like to use separate test steps by default, you can also change the default template under Administration > Customizations.
Note: For more information about using test steps, please see our guide here.
Adding images and screenshots
You can add and embed images in text boxes via the Add Image icon above the text boxes. There are many use cases for this. For example, this is very useful to display additional details as part of a test step or expected result:
Rerunning test runs
There are many use cases why rerunning an existing test run or plan may be useful. TestRail includes a quick link for this in the test run toolbar:
For example, you can use the rerun feature to start a new test run based on the settings of a previous test run, making this feature ideal to retest previously failed tests.
Closing test runs
A useful and often overlooked feature of TestRail is the ability to close test runs. Closing a test run archives it and freezes all associated test case details. When you close a run, TestRail automatically copies all associated test case data to the test run and thus prevents future test case modifications from propagating to closed and archived test runs. This functionality is especially useful if you update test cases for new software versions on a regular basis.
To close a test run, simply click the lock icon in the toolbar of a test run, as shown below. Please note that closing a test run cannot be undone.
You can heavily customize the test case and test tables in TestRail by adding or hiding columns, changing column widths, or changing the grouping/sorting. This is very useful to display important fields directly on the test case/run pages or to change the default section grouping:
Integrating with issue trackers and requirements
You can integrate TestRail with issue and bug trackers as well as requirement management tools. TestRail offers several integration points and can be configured to push and lookup issues directly from TestRail’s user interface and much more.
TestRail comes with built-in support for the most popular tools such as Jira, FogBugz, Bugzilla, and many others. Learn how to configure these in the TestRail Integration Guide.
TestRail also comes with various reports that display the coverage for requirements, found defects over time, and a comparison of test results. TestRail’s reporting features can be found on the Reports tab.
Advanced search options
When you enter a search term into TestRail’s search box (in the upper-right corner of the user interface), TestRail will automatically search through all project entities, including test cases, runs, and suites. TestRail will also search through any custom field that you’ve added to test case and test results.
But you can also just enter the ID of any entity to directly jump to it. For example, if a colleague is asking you to take a look at test case #15, you can directly jump to it by entering C15 into the search box. Likewise, to jump to the test suite #7, simply enter S7.
Each entity uses a different symbol in front of the ID. There is a complete list of all supported entities in the graphic above. You can find the ID of an entity next to its title on most pages.
Jumping to the next test
If you want to verify multiple tests, one after the other, you often need to jump to the next test after you verified and completed a test. To do this, TestRail has useful links to the next and previous tests in the toolbar.
Depending on how you work with your tests, the Next and Previous links can have different meanings. If you clicked on a test from your Todo page, clicking Next will bring you to the next test on your list. Likewise, if you came from a test run page, clicking Next will bring you to the next test in the run.
TestRail generally tries to figure out the mode automatically, but you can also select it by clicking the icon between the arrows.
Scheduling and forecasting
TestRail allows you to enter time estimates for cases and actual test times when you enter test results. You can enter times using various formats, such as HH:MM (hours and minutes) or in a more natural notation, such as 1 hour and 40m. There’s also a handy test timer on the sidebar of test pages that allow you to track your testing times automatically.
Based on the entered estimates, actual test times, and other usage data, TestRail generates estimates and forecasts for test runs, plans, and milestones that help you track and schedule your software tests. TestRail’s sophisticated forecasting algorithm works even if you don’t enter estimates for each and every case. Additionally, the forecasts get more and more accurate as you enter more test times and estimates, as TestRail uses your historical data to improve the estimates.
TestRail differentiates between three levels of forecast accuracies:
- Forecast not possible: This indicates that TestRail needs more data to generate a forecast. The easiest way to fix this is to enter more test case estimates. There’s also a minimum number of test cases a run must include to generate meaningful estimates. Please note that TestRail’s background task must be installed to generate forecasts.
- Low accuracy: TestRail found data to generate forecasts for the current run or milestone, but more data would be needed to generate more accurate estimates. You can improve the forecast by adding additional estimates to your cases.
- High accuracy: TestRail has enough data to generate a forecast with high accuracy. As all forecasts are based on past effort and completed tests, the forecasts are only accurate if you continue working on a test run or milestone with the same number of testers and resources.
You can view estimates and forecasts on the sidebar of the test suite pages (via the case count link). Additionally, detailed progress reports for test runs, plans, and milestones can be viewed by switching to the Progress pages.
A burndown chart visualizes the test progress and highlights the computed forecast date for your tests:
To improve the accuracy of TestRail’s forecasts, simply add more estimates to cases and regularly enter actual test times for your results. To find test cases without estimates in a suite, you can simply display the Estimate column in the test case tables.
Some pages in TestRail show the sections and groups of the current suite or test run in the sidebar. This is especially useful for long pages as it allows you to directly jump to a section. But when you scroll down the page, the sidebar is out of reach.
That’s what the sticky option is for. If you enable it by clicking the little icon on the right side of the sidebar title (shown in the image above), the section and group list is visible even when you scroll down the page.
Did you know that you can use rich-text formatting in most text boxes in TestRail? TestRail uses a rich-text formatting system called Markdown. Markdown uses human-readable markup to format text.
For example, to make words italic simply surround them with *asterisks*. To make words bold, use two **asterisks**. There are many different formatting options that TestRail understands. For more information, see the TestRail editor formatting reference.
You can also add links to test cases and other entities to most text fields in TestRail. To include a link to an entity, simply put the entity symbol and ID in [brackets]. All entity symbols are supported; for a complete list of symbols, please see the search topic above.
- [C15] → results in a link to test case 15
- [S3] → results in a link to test suite 3
- [T122] → results in a link to test 122
TestRail allows you to print reports for test runs, suites and other entities by clicking the Print icon in the toolbar. To also save those reports as PDF files, you can use a PDF print driver. Some operating systems have a PDF print driver already built-in. For others, such as Windows, you can download such print drivers for free.
To optimize the way reports are printed, you might need to adjust the print options of your web browser. For example, Internet Explorer and Firefox disable background colors by default to save printing costs. But TestRail’s print reports are already optimized for this, so you can safely enable background colors. To do this, select Page Setup or a similar entry in your web browser’s menu.