Guide to Selenium IDE: Advantages, Components, and Features

Guide to Selenium IDE: Everything you Need to Know in 2023

As more organizations adopt the agile methodology, the demand for automation also increases. As the agile focus on timely faster delivery, manual testing may increase the delivery time. One of the main disadvantages of manual testing is that performing the regression takes more time and involves more resources and costs.

There are many automation tools in the market, such as Playwright, Cypress, Selenium, WebdriverIO, etc. Selenium is the most popular and most used tool in the market. Using these automation tools, one can integrate automation tests into CI/CD pipeline and run the tests without manual interruption. In this post, we’d talk in detail about its most popular component: Selenium IDE.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is Open source test automation tool that provides API/Libraries to automate the tests; in turn, it simulates the actions on the browser. Selenium supports multiple languages such as Java, C#, JavaScript, Python, etc.

Components of Selenium

Selenium is misunderstood by many as WebDriver is the only component. That’s not true. Here are some of the components of Selenium:

What is Selenium WebDriver?

Selenium WebDriver component provides libraries to automate the browser. It accepts the commands, processes, and actions on the browser. The WebDriver is browser specific. For example, to run the automation tests on Chrome, you need ChromeDriver; similarly, the specific driver is available for Firefox, Safari, etc.

What is Selenium Grid?

Selenium Grid helps to run the test on multiple machines. It increases the speed of execution of Selenium tests. If you have a specific requirement to run a test against multiple browsers and operating systems, consider integrating the Selenium Grid.

What is Selenium IDE?

Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is a record and playback tool. It is available as a browser extension or plugin. Selenium IDE helps beginners and manual testers to learn more efficiently. It also helps to speed up the automation of test cases. The Selenium IDE was created long before for Firefox. However, it has gone into a maintenance state over a period of time. The latest Selenium 4 release re-introduced the Selenium IDE with revamped user interface, new design, and more features.

From the previous section, you understood what Selenium IDE is. Let’s explore Selenium IDE in detail. Selenium IDE is available as an extension/addon for Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Features of Selenium IDE

Here are the features of Selenium IDE:

  • Speed Control: Easily regulate the speed at which your test cases run, helping you analyze and debug at your preferred pace.
  • Run All: Execute the entire Test Suite with a single click, saving time and effort during comprehensive testing.
  • Run: Quickly launch the execution of the currently selected test, focusing on specific scenarios without running the entire suite.
  • Pause/Resume: Gain control over your testing process by pausing and resuming individual test cases, allowing for closer inspection and adjustments.
  • Step: Step into each specific command within your test script, facilitating detailed examination and fine-tuning of test steps.
  • Rollup: Group multiple Selenese commands together into a single operation using the Rollup feature, simplifying complex actions and sequences.
  • Dynamic Features: Note that features within Selenium IDE may evolve based on different extension versions, adapting to changing needs and enhancements.
  • Selenium IDE offers a range of functionalities designed to enhance your testing efficiency, adaptability, and control over your test cases.

Benefits of Using Selenium IDE

  • No Coding knowledge required.
  • Easy to install: just install as any other browser extension.
  • Easy to debug: Selenium IDE provides many debugging features.
  • Re-use of the test case is one of the advanced features in Selenium IDE. You can reuse the existing test cases.
  • Add control flow statements such as if, while, times, etc., anywhere you want.
  • Selenium IDE also provides customization. You can extend your IDE by building your commands, integrating third-party services, etc.

 Limitations of Selenium IDE 

Here are the limitations of Selenium IDE:

  • Limited Data Testing: Selenium IDE might not be ideal for testing scenarios involving extensive datasets, making it less suitable for comprehensive data-driven testing.
  • Database Interaction: It lacks the capability to directly interact with databases, making it unable to validate database-related functionalities.
  • Dynamic Web Applications: Selenium IDE struggles with handling dynamic components within web-based applications, potentially leading to inaccuracies in testing results.
  • No Screenshot Capture on Failures: Unlike some other testing tools, Selenium IDE doesn’t offer built-in functionality to automatically capture screenshots when a test case fails, potentially hindering troubleshooting.
  • No Result Report Generation: Selenium IDE lacks the feature to generate comprehensive result reports, making it challenging to review and share detailed testing outcomes.

While Selenium IDE offers a user-friendly and easy-to-use interface for quick test script creation, these limitations highlight situations where more robust testing tools might be necessary to address complex testing scenarios and generate detailed reports.

How to Install Selenium IDE?

Selenium IDE is available for both Chrome and Firefox as a browser extension.

Installing Selenium IDE in Firefox

Installing Selenium IDE in Chrome

Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE Features in Detail

  • Tests: New tests can be added using the + symbol available in the top right corner of the IDE window.
  • Suites: Selenium tests can be grouped which is called Selenium Test Suite.
  • Test Execution Menu: The Test execution menu provides options to Run Single Tests, Multiple Tests, Control the Execution Speed, Step over to the current command, etc.
  • Project Options menu: The Project options menu provides Create new Test, Open existing Project, and Save the current project options.
  • Base URL bar: This option is available below the Test Execution menu, which shows the recorded test case base URL.
  • Recording /Debugging options provide disable breakpoints, pause the execution on exceptions, and Record new Test options.
  • Command and Command Details: Once you record the test case, the commands table displays along with the target and value. The command details window helps you to modify any custom values.
  • The Logs option provides run time execution logs, which help to analyze and understand why tests are failing or what is causing the issue.

Adding a new test using the Selenium IDE

When you launch the Selenium IDE, you get the below options.

  1. Record a new test in a new project
  2. Open an existing project
  3. Create a new project
  4. Close Selenium IDE
  • Choose the 1st option, “Record a new test in a new project”
  • Enter the Project Name (Example: Demo Project)
  • Enter the Base URL (Example:
  • Click on Start Recording

Let’s record the following scenario

  • Open the Base URL
  • Type the “TestSigma” as the search keyword
  • Click on Search to View the Result
  • Once Recording is complete, Switch back to Selenium IDE
  • Click on the Stop Recording Icon
  • The Selenium IDE prompts you to Enter the Test Name (Ex:DemoTest)

At this point, you can see the recorded tests in Selenium IDE.

Save Selenium IDE Tests

Selenium doesn’t save any recorded tests. Unsaved Tests are marked with *(star) next to the Project menu. To save the recorded project, click on the Save option available on the Top Right of Selenium IDE.

  • Click on the Save option
  • Choose the directory/folder location
  • Click on Save

Did you know?

  • Selenium Projects are always saved with .side extension.
  • Once you save the project, you can always open it next time. Furthermore, the project is not browser dependent which means you can save the Selenium IDE project(side) using the Chrome browser and open it on the Firefox browser.

Selenium IDE Test Execution

Selenium IDE provides the option to execute the test through the IDE window. The Execution window provides following options:

Execute Test

This option will be helpful if you want to execute a single test in your project.

Execute Multiple Test

If your project contains multiple tests, you can execute them all at once, using the Execute all Test option.

Control Execution Speed

Using Selenium IDE, you can even control the execution Speed. Clicking on the Timer icon in the execution menu opens up the slider, and you can move from slow to fast and adjust the test execution accordingly.

Selenium IDE Debugging Options

Selenium IDE provides an easy way to debug the tests:

Execution Logs

The logs section provides the execution logs that help to know which Selenium command is failing.

Adding Breakpoints

Once you know the command which is failing, you can add the breakpoint by navigating to the commands sections. Click on the number column to put the breakpoints; the execution stops at this point and helps to debug the tests.

Step over

Step over the current command helps to execute the commands one by one.

Pause on exception

On the right side, you can see the pause option. Instead of failing the test, this option pauses the tests if there is an exception, which helps to debug further from here.

Enable/Disable breakpoint

Finally, Selenium IDE provides the disable breakpoint option. Even though you have set some breakpoints earlier, this will ignore the breakpoints and continue execution in an uninterrupted way.

Command Details Section

The command details section allows you to enable/disable selected commands

If your command opens up a new window, you can do the new window configuration option available in the command details section.

Target Section has two options.

  1. Select the target on the page: The target is your selector, while recording if you have chosen the locator wrongly, you can correct it using the Select the target in page option. You can simply click on the arrow and choose the locator on a webpage.
  2. Find the Target in page option helps to find the web element of the current command. Clicking on the Search icon in the target option highlights the web element in the browser.

The command details window also provides the option to modify the command value. For example, if you are typing the search keyword Testsigma and you need to modify the value to Selenium, you can do so by using the value option

In the end, it provides the description option, more like writing the comment on the programming, that helps increase the readability of your tests.

Additional options available in Selenium IDE

  • You can clear the logs using the Clear Logs option available in the bottom right, which will clear all the logs from the previous execution.
  • The Reference section provides a short description of the command that is used. For example, if you are using the click command, clicking on reference provides the purpose of the click command and its syntax with argument details.
  • The top left drop-down provides an option to choose between tests, test suites, and executing tests, which will filter out tests accordingly. In addition, clicking on plus (+) symbol creates new Tests or Test suites based on what you have selected from the dropdown.

Adding Assertions using Selenium IDE

Interestingly, the Selenium IDE also provides options to assert. Assertion is very important in marking the test as pass or fail.

While recording the test, you can simply right-click on the browser. In the end, you can see the Selenium IDE menu.

Select the Selenium IDE menu > Click on Assert > Choose from various available assertions.

Once you select the assertion from the UI, the assert will be added as a command in your Selenium IDE.

Adding Assertions using Selenium IDE

Similar way, you can use other options like Mouse over, Verify, WaitFor and Store.

  • Mouse over: If your test case needs to mouse over a specific element, use this option.
  • Verify: Verify helps to make the soft assert, where your test will verify the element. Even if verification fails, test continues to execute and fails the test after completion. Whereas the assertion terminates the test execution.
  • WaitFor: The waitFor waits for Element visibility, presence or editable, etc, before performing the next actions.
  • Store: The store option helps store the text, value, or title in a variable and use it in subsequent steps.

Convert Selenium IDE command to Any Programming Language Automation Test

One of the advanced features of Selenium IDE is that you can convert the Recorded test into C#, Java, JavaScript, Python or Ruby test cases, just by clicking the export option.

  1. Click 3 vertical dots, next to the test name
  2. Click on Export
  3. Choose the Programming languages you wish
  4. Click on Export and save it in the specific directory
 Convert Selenium IDE command

Your recorded test case is available in your favorite programming language/framework.

Wrapping Up

The Selenium IDE is user-friendly and most useful for beginners and manual testers. It provides a lot of options and everything can be done with minimal understanding of programming languages. Adding assertions, exporting UI test cases into specific programming languages, and debugging features are remarkable.

However, there are many limitations of Selenium IDE. The stakeholders are most interested in automation reports. However, Selenium IDE doesn’t provide any report that you can share with stakeholders. The recorded tests are flaky, especially when the website uses the dynamic rendering the test case fails. Besides, Data-driven testing is complicated using the Selenium IDE. The Selenium IDE is a favorite tool for beginners and manual testers but it lacks consistent results.

Testsigma is an alternative to Selenium IDE with more consistent results and rich features. Testsigma is available as a SAAS product, and you do not need to bother about the installation and setting up of complex libraries. As it is a codeless automation tool, you don’t need any coding knowledge. Anyone who knows the product and has the mindset to test the product can start easily.

Unlike Selenium, Testsigma focuses on what matters most; for testers and the team, it is reporting. After execution, the detailed test reports are ready for sharing. Besides, the platform has a lot of features such as Integration with CI/CD, Test reports, modifying/customizing recorded tests, etc., and interestingly everything is available with zero configuration, without coding knowledge. Finally, you never get stuck in the middle of the test since Testsigma has detailed documentation and dedicated support to answer every query and solve any problem.

Happy Exploring!

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