How to Write a Manual Step-by-Step Software Test Case

by Contributor

A software test case is a set of steps and expected results used to test an application. It is created from the software requirements. Well-written test cases can make the testing cycle smooth and efficient. It is imperative to write clear, understandable test cases that can be run against new functionality and regression testing, as well. A good test case is easy to run, consistent in the time it takes to run, and it is easy to maintain.


Identify the requirement to test and enter this requirement name and/or number in the test case. A business analyst typically creates a design document that includes the requirements.


Create a name and/or test number for the test case. It is helpful to create a separate traceability matrix document to link the requirements and test cases together. Identifying the requirement name and number along with the test-case name and number allows for traceability between the requirement and test case.


Write a short description of the test case. The test case description gives a high-level overview of what the test case does. It should allow someone with no prior knowledge of the test case to get a clear understanding of what is being covered without going through all of the test steps.


Identify all setup information needed for running the test. Setup information includes testing prerequisite items such as data, hardware, software and browsers.


Write the steps and results. For each step, write the step number. It is best to keep the number of steps to around 10, with a maximum of 15. Keeping tests short allows easier maintenance, easier results tracking, and reduced testing time. Write the step description. This can include one clear input or a set of inputs, if they are all related. Other elements to include for each step are the expected, a pass/fail indication, the actual result, any notes and any attachments.


  • check The software application under test is constantly changing. The software test cases for the application must also change. In order to be reusable, test cases should be maintained after each test cycle. Without maintenance, it will be a challenge to determine whether any resulting errors are due to the test case or an actual defect.
  • check Review test cases with fellow associates, including the business analysts who wrote the requirements, the developers who write the code for the requirements and quality-assurance staff.
  • check Make test cases self-cleaning. The testing environment should be brought back to the state it was in prior to running the test case.

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