How to Write Effective Test Case Names (With Examples)

by René Ceelen, on May 3, 2022


Summary: This article emphasizes the importance of writing clear and concise test case names in software testing to improve test organization, effectiveness, and overall software quality, and it provides best practices for crafting such names.

The testing phase is vital in the software development lifecycle. If you want your team to get the most out of their testing efforts, it can all come down to how well their test cases are written. 

This is because test cases help guide your tester through the sequences of steps to validate the performance of your software application and confirm requirements have been met. They also help your developers and quality assurance professionals ensure proper test coverage across the full range of functionality and design. 

Although there are several components in writing effective test cases, one of the more complex is how your team chooses to craft test case names.

So why is good test case writing important, and what best practices can your team use to write more effective titles?

Why Writing a Good Test Case Is Important

Writing a good test case can take more time, but the long-term payoff of more effective, organized, and comprehensive quality assurance can make for a stronger product. This means using concise, clear language free of jargon and unnecessary technical references, beginning with actions a tester should take and identifying the expected result.

When completed, well-written test cases can make it easier for testers to understand what they need to do and if an outcome is expected, giving your developer team more accurate feedback. Having clear cases can also help prevent confusion that leads to delays and rework.

A structured, consistent approach to test case development can help your quality assurance (QA) professionals stay organized, ensuring that all tests are crafted and executed more efficiently and all necessary product requirements are covered.

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Best Practices for Test Case Names

Although they seem easy and straightforward to write, it is important to remember that a good test case starts with a strong title.

  • Use human-readable titles. Your test cases will be interpreted by human testers, tracked by human QA professionals, and referred by human developers. Avoid the overuse of codes and abbreviated words in case your audience doesn’t recognize them.
OK Better
Auth003 Login using valid credentials
Create contact type #21B Create a new supplier contact
ADD_PRODUCT_USE_FORM_1 Add a new product using the product form

  • Be unique. Your test case will be one among many, so you need it to be distinguishable from the rest. Try to separate similar test cases by including its variant description or intent. Failing to properly identify a case can cause you to report failures that might be less severe or even non-existent.
OK Better
Failed login Login using an invalid password
Generate sales report Generate a sales report using the PDF format
Update a contact Change a contact’s name

  • Be concise. Test case names are usually limited to a specific length, so space is at a premium. Make sure to keep names unique while refraining from adding any details that aren’t required for identification. You can add those details to the case’s instructions or test data, for example. Also, in list form, long names can become overwhelming - it’s easier to single out shorter names.
OK Better
Login to the application using a valid email address and valid password Login using valid credentials

Add contact “John Doe firstname: John lastname: Doe type: vendor code: 1337F”

Add contact John Doe

(add email address, type, and code to test data field)

  • Make test cases reusable. This one is not for everyone, but in some situations applications under test can be run in multiple contexts. A web application can be run in different browsers, for example. Should you take this into account by creating variants for all your test cases? Or rather keep these test cases “browser-independent” and specify it while planning a test run? We often prefer the latter: it keeps the number of test cases down, while the actual test run still contains the relevant information.
OK Better
Login with valid credentials using the Firefox browser Login using valid credentials
(specify Firefox as environment in your test run)
List all orders in the iOS app List all orders
(specify iOS as environment in your test run)
Create contact in demo environment Create contact
(specify Demo as environment in your test run)


Elevate Your Test Case Management

Your team only has so much time to focus on testing, but the impact of powerful, comprehensive testing is hard to deny. Between minimizing the number of bugs that make it through to release and ensuring your customers get the features they want, testing builds trust in your brand.

Taking the time to organize and structure your test case names can impact the readability and execution of your tests, ultimately helping your team produce more secure, stable, and quality software.

Ready to learn even more about how your team can elevate your test case management? Then check out TestMonitor’s comprehensive resource, The Ultimate Guide to Effective Test Management.

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