Testlink: Using custom fields and keywords for effective testing

Some of you may already be aware that 'Testlink' is open source test case management tool. If not, see my earlier post about Testlink here.

There are two great features provided with Testlink.

  1. Custom field definition
  2. Keywords creation and assignment

I will only touch upon some basic details on why it is useful and how I have used it with my Testlink implementation. For more information, please refer to the documentation available at the Testlink website.

Custom fields

We are using the latest stable version of Testlink 1.7.4. When you create a test case, by default the fields provided are:

  • Test case name
  • Test case summary
  • Test steps
  • Expected results

which is quite sufficient to start with your testing. But, apart from managing the test cases, providing good test metrics is equally important. For example, if you are able to record how much time it took for you to run 200 test cases for a particular test project, it is a useful benchmark for planning your regression cycle for the next release or to estimate the time for a similar project which is about to start.

For this reason, I introduced 2 custom fields:

  1. Estimated time to run
  2. Actual time to run

The field "Estimated time to run" can be configured to be displayed during the test case creation stage, so that the creator enters a value that he feels is required to run the test. The real time, however, may be shorter or slightly higher than the estimate. This can be captured during the test execution phase. The 2nd field "Actual time to run" can be configured to accept values only during execution phase. That's pretty useful.


Testlink keywords also play a very important role in planning your test execution and gathering test metrics.

For example, I added keywords "high priority test", "medium priority test", "low priority test", "automated". (PS: we can add more keywords like sanity, regression, etc)

These keywords can be assigned to test cases appropriately. This helps to filter test cases on a specific keyword during execution. i.e, When adding tests to a plan, we can search based on keywords and run tests which are only relevant to that cycle.

Example: To run a quick regression test, we can assign tests marked as "high priority" to ensure basic features are working fine.

Similarly, if you are focussed on test automation, you can assign keyword "manual" to your tests, so that you can leave the tests which are taken care of by the automation tool and execute tests only for the manual tests.

Hope you found this useful. Feel free to leave your comments.

How and where should we can

How and where should we can include our own Custom fields in TestLink other than default fields like Test Case Title, Summary, Steps etc?

Good article

it is useful for me. thanks

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