Archimedes declared: “If I have a lever and a place to stand, I can move the earth”– This is the strength of tools. When the proper device falls into place, no globe is too enormous that it can’t be maneuvered as easily as a cotton ball.
Undoubtedly, we are well-versed with tools. STH has thoroughly studied and prepared a comprehensive list of Bug Tracking, Test Management, Pen Testing, and other specialized Automation tools. We acknowledge and comprehend their significance. Nevertheless, this article is not geared towards that.
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What You’ll Learn:
List of Non-Testing Tools for Testers
Below, we’re going to discuss five useful tools that are a must in a software tester’s toolkit for easier life:
- Microsoft Excel
- Software for screen capture and annotation
- Software for compression and decompression
- Sticky note software
- Pen/pencil and paper
#1) Microsoft Excel
This is a boon for our testers. See the following case of Microsoft Excel being employed for writing test cases:
- The row-column format of an Excel spreadsheet is ideally suited to our needs. It excels at managing requirements lists, detailed test cases or bug reports.
- It has strong math capabilities which makes it easy to collect metrics, perform calculations, and present data graphically.
- Multiple sheets can be created in an Excel workbook, ensuring we have everything we need in one place and neatly organised into different pages.
- Expansion and collapsing is simple.
- Many tools can import data from Excel, making the transition to Test/Bug management tools seamless.
I could elaborate further, but you get the gist.
Note: You may even use a free version of Microsoft Excel online.
#2) Screen Capture and Annotation Software
No method is more effective to solve a crime than apprehending the criminals in the act, right? Testers need evidence to raise a defect. Also, the more information we offer to prove our point, the better. And a screenshot is the best proof!
A tool that allows us to capture the screen in high resolution, yet memory-efficient image, is a significant advantage. If this tool also has the capability to mark and highlight the defect, it is even better.
Below is an example of a screen capture using a free tool:
Below are some of the tools you might explore:
- Paint.net (Which I personally use and highly recommend)
- qSnap: Read our article here. Also take a look at the latest qTest eXplorer.
In the absence of such tools, Microsoft Paint or Microsoft Word can be used as alternatives. They require a little bit more effort, but they fulfil their purpose.
In certain cases, we may need to go beyond pictures and include a video clip demonstrating the exact sequence of steps executed and the results obtained on the AUT. A tool like CamStudio – a screen recording software, may be useful.
#3) Compression and Decompression Software
As testers, we also engage in a lot of document sharing on a regular basis. A particular software is used to send multiple files as a single (compressed) file or to compress a memory-heavy file or to open a compressed file that is sent to us.
Here is a list of a few tools that can be useful in this regard:
Some of these tools are even open-source, so give them a test run and keep one at hand – you are likely to need them sooner rather than later.
#4) Sticky Notes Software
If you ask me, sticky notes are one of mankind’s greatest inventions. They are convenient, efficient, colorful, and versatile. What’s more, there’s software that allows us to keep sticky notes on our desktops. Amazing, isn’t it?
These can serve as informal reminders, checklists, to-do lists, etc. Take a look at the options below:
Most of these tools are free. Choose what resonates with you and start using it immediately.
#5) Paper and Writing Utensils
While it may make me sound traditional, I still believe in the potency of the written word (with ‘written’ taken quite literally).
Whether I’m scribbling down a problem’s outline, sketching a system’s architecture, performing calculations, making a list, or simply doodling during a meeting, I always reach for paper and pen first.
This hands-down is the most fundamental tool. It aligns directly with our nature and individuality.
Even when asked a question in an interview, my first instinct is to reach out for a paper and pen. It’s much easier to explain while drawing/writing than it is to visualize it through words alone.
It also offers a delightful respite from countless hours spent staring at bright computer screens. 🙂
However, if you prefer a digital document and not bother with physical items, Notepad might become your best ally. Explore the latest in the world of notepad on this page.
TextPad offers similar benefits to Notepad, but with additional text editing capabilities- so it’s worth considering as well.
While these tools may not greatly affect our resumes or radically alter our career paths as hardcore QAs, wouldn’t you agree that our daily tasks would be much more challenging without them?
Over to you:
Which non-QA tools do you find indispensable in your day-to-day duties? What are your top tools of choice in the categories we discussed over the course of this article?
We welcome your comments and questions below.
About the Author: This article was penned by STH team member and our manual testing guide Swati S.