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Selenium SendKeys: A Detailed Usage Guide

April 2, 2024Raunak Jain
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Selenium SendKeys: A Detailed Usage Guide
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Selenium Sendkeys is a method used in Selenium WebDriver to simulate the typing of a keyboard key in a web application. With the help of this method, you can send data as input to a text field, text area, and other form elements. In this way, Selenium Sendkeys helps you automate the process of entering data into a web application, making it easier and faster to perform various testing tasks using Selenium.

The sendkeys method takes in a string as an argument and types it into the selected element, just as a human user would. This makes it an essential tool for automating a wide range of testing scenarios, from simple data entry to more complex forms and interactions. Whether you’re a seasoned tester or just starting out, Selenium Sendkeys is an important tool to have in your arsenal.

In this article, we will delve into the concept of Selenium Sendkeys and understand how it works. We will cover the basics of using this method in Selenium WebDriver, including how to select an element, send data as input, and interact with various form elements.

Additionally, we will explore some of the common uses and benefits of Selenium Sendkeys, as well as some of the potential challenges and limitations to be aware of when working with this tool. By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of how to use Selenium Sendkeys in your automation testing projects.

What is Selenium Sendkeys?

As discussed, Selenium Sendkeys allows you to send data as input to a text field, text area, or other form elements. This makes it an important tool for automating a wide range of testing scenarios, from simple data entry to more complex interactions.

This makes it possible to automate the process of entering data into a web application, reducing the time and effort required for manual testing. In addition, it helps ensure consistent and accurate data input, reducing the risk of human error.

A real-life example of the use of Selenium Sendkeys might be in automating the process of filling out an online form. For example, if you’re testing a website that provides online services, you might want to automate the process of filling out a sign-up form. With Selenium Send keys, you can easily enter data into each field of the form, including the name, email address, and password, just as a human user would.

Another example might be in automating the process of searching for a specific item on an e-commerce website. With Selenium Sendkeys, you can easily send a search query as input to the search field, and retrieve the results without having to manually type in the search term.

How do Selenium Sendkeys work?

We can implement Selenium Sendkeys as a method in the Selenium WebDriver API. The basic idea behind it is to allow the automation of entering data into web applications as if a human user were typing it.

Here’s how it works in more technical terms:

  1. Element Selection: The first step is to select the element where you want to enter data. You can do this using various methods in Selenium WebDriver, such as finding the element by its ID, class name, tag name, or other attributes.

  2. Sendkeys Method: Once you have selected the element, you can use the sendkeys method to send data as input to the element. This method takes in a string argument representing the data you want to enter, and simulates the typing of a keyboard key to enter that data into the selected element.

  3. Keyboard Interaction: When the sendkeys method is called, it triggers a series of events in the web browser, simulating the typing of a keyboard key. This includes generating keyboard events such as keydown, keypress, and keyup, which are then processed by the web browser and translated into the entered data.

  4. Data Input: Finally, the entered data is sent to the web application and processed, just as if a human user had typed it. The data is then displayed in the selected element, and can be used for further processing or testing.

It’s important to note that Selenium Sendkeys can only send data to web applications, and it doesn’t support the simulation of other keyboard interactions such as pressing function keys, control keys, or special characters. Nevertheless, it’s a powerful tool for automating a wide range of data entry and testing scenarios in web applications.

Understanding the Selenium Sendkeys Method and Its Parameters

The basic syntax for the Selenium Send keys method is as follows:

element.sendKeys(keysToSend)

Where element is a reference to the WebElement that you want to send the keys to, and keysToSend is a string that specifies the keys to be sent.

There are several special keys that you can use with the Selenium Sendkeys method to simulate more complex keyboard inputs, such as pressing the “Tab” key, the “Enter” key, or the “Backspace” key. These special keys are represented by constants in the Keys class in the Selenium API, and can be used as follows:

element.sendKeys(Keys.TAB) element.sendKeys(Keys.ENTER) element.sendKeys(Keys.BACK_SPACE)

In addition to sending individual keys, you can also send a combination of keys by concatenating the strings that represent each key:

element.sendKeys(“Hello” + Keys.TAB + “world!” + Keys.ENTER)

This can be useful for simulating more complex keyboard inputs, such as entering a message in a chat application or filling out a form.

It is important to understand that the Selenium Sendkeys method operates on a low-level, character-by-character basis. This means that the method will send each key one at a time, just as if a user were typing on the keyboard. This can sometimes result in unexpected behavior, such as waiting for an application to load or respond before sending the next key.

Using Selenium sendKeys To Erase Text

To erase text in a web application using Selenium Sendkeys, you can send a combination of keyboard keys that simulate the action of pressing the backspace key to delete the existing text. Here’s how you can do this in code:

  • Select the Element: First, select the element where you want to erase the text. This can be done using various methods in Selenium WebDriver, such as finding the element by its ID, class name, tag name, or other attributes. For example, to select an element with an ID of “username”, you can use the following code:

WebElement username = driver.findElement(By.id(“username”));
  • Clear the Text: Next, you can clear the existing text in the element using the clear() method, like this:

username.clear();
  • Send Keyboard Keys: Finally, you can send a combination of keyboard keys that simulate the action of pressing the backspace key to delete the existing text. To do this, you can use the sendKeys() method along with the special key code for the backspace key. Here’s an example:

username.sendKeys(Keys.BACK_SPACE);

Note that the above code will delete only one character at a time. To delete multiple characters, you can send multiple backspace keys in a loop. For example, to delete 10 characters:

for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) { username.sendKeys(Keys.BACK_SPACE); }

And that’s it! With these simple steps, you can use Selenium Sendkeys to erase text in a web application.

Complete Code

Here’s a complete example of using Selenium Sendkeys to erase text in a web application:

import org.openqa.selenium.*; // You can also import these libraries individually – Keys, WebDriver, WebElement, ChromeDriver public class EraseText { public static void main(String[] args) { // Set the path to the chromedriver executable System.setProperty(“webdriver.chrome.driver”, “/path/to/chromedriver”); // Create a new instance of the ChromeDriver WebDriver driver = new ChromeDriver(); // Navigate to a web page driver.get(“https://www.example.com”); // Find the element to erase text from WebElement username = driver.findElement(By.id(“username”)); // Clear the existing text username.clear(); // Erase text using backspace keys for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) { username.sendKeys(Keys.BACK_SPACE); } // Close the browser driver.quit(); } }

In this example, the ChromeDriver is used to automate the Google Chrome browser, but you can use any other supported web driver for other browsers, such as FirefoxDriver for Firefox, or EdgeDriver for Microsoft Edge.

It’s also important to replace “/path/to/chromedriver” with the actual path to the chromedriver executable on your system.

How Can We Type In Selenium Without Using sendKeys?

There are a few alternative ways to type or input text in Selenium without using the sendKeys() method:

  • JavaScript Executor: You can use JavaScriptExecutor to execute JavaScript code that sets the value of an element directly. For example:

WebElement element = driver.findElement(By.id(“elementId”)); ((JavascriptExecutor)driver).executeScript(“arguments[0].value=’text’;”, element);
  • Action Chains: You can use the Action class in Selenium to perform a series of low-level interactions, such as typing. For example:

WebElement element = driver.findElement(By.id(“elementId”)); Actions actions = new Actions(driver); actions.moveToElement(element).click().sendKeys(“text”).build().perform();
  • Robot Class: You can use the Robot class in Java to simulate keyboard events, such as typing. For example:

Robot robot = new Robot(); robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_T); robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_E); robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_X); robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_T);

These are just a few examples of how you can type or input text in Selenium without using the sendKeys() method. The appropriate solution will depend on the specific requirements and constraints of your automation task.

Where Is Selenium SendKeys Used?

Selenium Sendkeys is a widely used method in automated testing for simulating keyboard input and entering text into form elements in web applications. Here are a few examples of where we can use it.

Input Validation

One of the primary uses of Selenium Sendkeys is to validate user input in web applications. Automated tests can use the sendKeys() method to input various data into a form and verify that the application behaves as expected. For example, a test might enter a long string of characters into a text field to check that the application correctly handles input that exceeds its maximum length. Here’s a code example:

WebElement nameField = driver.findElement(By.id(“name”)); nameField.sendKeys(“John Doe”); WebElement ageField = driver.findElement(By.id(“age”)); nameField.sendKeys(“30”); WebElement submitButton = driver.findElement(By.id(“submit”)); submitButton.click();

In this example, sendKeys() is used to input text into two form fields, the name field, and the age field. The form is then submitted for processing.

Evaluating Search Results

Another common use of Selenium Sendkeys is to evaluate search results in web applications. Automated tests can use the sendKeys() method to enter a search query into a search field and verify that the correct results are displayed. For example:

WebElement searchField = driver.findElement(By.id(“search”)); searchField.sendKeys(“Selenium Sendkeys”); searchField.submit(); List searchResults = driver.findElements(By.cssSelector(“.search-result”)); for (WebElement result : searchResults) { System.out.println(result.getText()); }

In this example, sendKeys() is used to input a search query into a search field, and the form is then submitted for processing. The search results are then retrieved and displayed for inspection.

Special Functions

Selenium Sendkeys can also be used to perform special functions, such as simulating keyboard shortcuts, by using special keys like Keys.TAB, Keys.ENTER, and Keys.ESCAPE. For example:

WebElement nameField = driver.findElement(By.id(“name”)); nameField.sendKeys(“John Doe”); WebElement ageField = driver.findElement(By.id(“age”)); nameField.sendKeys(Keys.TAB); nameField.sendKeys(“30”); WebElement submitButton = driver.findElement(By.id(“submit”)); submitButton.sendKeys(Keys.ENTER);

In this example, the Keys.TAB key is used to move between form fields and the Keys.ENTER key is used to submit the form. These special keys can be used to simulate a variety of keyboard interactions in your automated tests.

What are the potential challenges and limitations of Selenium Sendkeys?

There are several potential challenges and limitations of using Selenium Sendkeys in automated testing:

  1. Timing Issues: Automated tests using Selenium Sendkeys can be sensitive to timing issues, as the tests rely on the application’s behavior being consistent and predictable. If an application takes too long to load or respond, the tests may fail, even if the application is functioning correctly.

  2. Keyboard Input Differences: Different keyboard layouts and input methods can affect the behavior of Selenium Sendkeys. Automated tests may behave differently on different platforms, depending on the keyboard layout and input method in use.

  3. Input Validation: Input validation can be difficult to automate using Selenium Sendkeys, as it requires carefully crafting test data that meets the application’s requirements. Input validation failures can cause tests to fail, even if the application is otherwise functioning correctly.

  4. Interfering with Other Applications: Automated tests using Selenium Sendkeys can interfere with other applications that are running on the same system. For example, tests that simulate keyboard input can trigger unexpected behavior in other applications that are listening for keyboard events.

  5. Limited Input Types: Selenium Sendkeys are limited to simulating keyboard input and entering text into form elements. It does not provide a way to interact with other types of form elements, such as dropdown menus, checkboxes, or radio buttons.

Despite these challenges and limitations, Selenium Sendkeys remains a popular and powerful tool for automating user interactions in web applications. To minimize the risk of issues, it is important to carefully design and implement your automated tests and to thoroughly test your application before deploying it to production.

Tips for Debugging and Troubleshooting Selenium Sendkeys Tests

Debugging and troubleshooting Selenium Sendkeys tests can be a challenging task, especially when dealing with complex web applications that involve a lot of user input. Here are some tips to help you debug and troubleshoot your Selenium Sendkeys tests:

  1. Verify the WebElement Reference: Before sending any keys, make sure that you have a reference to the correct WebElement. You can use the WebDriver.findElement method to find the element, and then verify that it is the correct element by checking its properties, such as its id, class, and name attributes.

  2. Use Logs and Breakpoints: When debugging Selenium Sendkeys tests, it can be helpful to add logs to your code that print out the values of relevant variables. You can also use breakpoints to pause the execution of your tests and inspect the state of your application at a particular point in time.

  3. Use Explicit Waits: In some cases, it may be necessary to wait for an application to load or respond before sending the next set of keys. This can be done using the WebDriverWait class in the Selenium API, which provides a convenient way to wait for specific conditions to be met.

  4. Test in Different Browsers: When troubleshooting Selenium Sendkeys tests, it can be helpful to test your application in different browsers to see if the issue is browser-specific. This can be done by changing the browser used by the Selenium WebDriver, or by testing in multiple browsers at once using a tool such as Selenium Grid.

By following these tips, you can improve the reliability and robustness of your Selenium Sendkeys tests, and minimize the risk of encountering issues when automating user input in your web applications.

An Improvised Approach to Test Automation: How to use Testsigma for Sending Keys?

Automated testing is a crucial component of modern software development. It helps to identify bugs and other issues early in the development process and ensures that software is of high quality and meets user expectations. However, traditional test automation frameworks, such as Selenium, can be complex to set up and maintain.

An improvised approach to test automation is to use a cloud-based, codeless testing platform like Testsigma. Testsigma provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to automate tests without having to write any code. This makes it an ideal solution for teams with limited technical resources or those who want to minimize the time and effort required to automate tests.

One of the key features of Testsigma is its ability to send keys to web elements. This can be done using the “Send Key” action, which can be selected from the action library in Testsigma. Simply select the element that you want to send keys to, and specify the keys that you want to send. Testsigma supports all the standard keyboard keys, as well as special keys such as “Tab”, “Enter”, “Delete”, and “Backspace”.

Another advantage of using Testsigma for sending keys is its ability to automatically handle element locators and wait for elements to become available. This means that tests are less prone to failure due to race conditions, and are more reliable and robust.

Steps to Create a Test Case in Testsigma to Send Keys

Here are the steps:

  1. Log in to Testsigma: Start by accessing the Testsigma platform using your login credentials.

  2. Create a new project: Create a new project for your test case. This can be done by clicking on the “Projects” tab and then selecting the “Create Project” option.

  3. Select the application to test: Choose the one you want to test from the list of available applications while creating a new project.

  4. Create a new test case: Navigate to the “Test Cases” section of your project and click on the “Create Test Case” button. The test case is automatically saved.

  5. Locate the element: Use the Testsigma recorder to locate the web element that you want to send keys to.

  6. Choose the “Send Key” action: From the action library, select the “Send Key” action.

  7. Configure the action: Configure the “Send Key” action by specifying the keys that you want to send to the element. Testsigma supports all standard keyboard keys, as well as special keys such as “Tab”, “Enter”, “Clear”, and “Backspace.”

  8. Execute the test case: Finally, run the test case by clicking on the “Run” button. Testsigma will automatically send the keys to the web element and verify the expected behavior.

These are the steps to create a test case in Testsigma to send keys. With Testsigma, automating tests and sending keys to web elements is quick, simple, and hassle-free, even for those without technical expertise.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, Selenium Sendkeys is a powerful method for automating web applications. In this article, we have covered the basics of Selenium Sendkeys, including how it works, its parameters, and tips for debugging and troubleshooting tests.

However, there are some challenges and limitations associated with Sendkeys, such as issues with handling dynamic elements, compatibility with different browsers, and difficulties in debugging and troubleshooting tests.

To overcome these challenges, an improvised approach for test automation is to use cloud-based testing platforms like Testsigma. Testsigma provides a visual, codeless interface for automating tests and sending keys to web elements. With Testsigma, you can automate your tests with ease and confidence, without having to write any code.

If you are looking for a hassle-free and efficient way to automate your tests, we recommend giving Testsigma a try. With its user-friendly interface and powerful testing capabilities, Testsigma makes it easy to automate your tests and send keys to web elements.

So why wait? Start automating your tests with Testsigma today with a free SignUp!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to enter text using sendKeys() in Selenium?

To enter text using sendKeys() in Selenium, you first need to identify the web element you want to interact with, such as a text box or an input field. You can use the WebDriver’s findElement() method to locate the element, and then call the sendKeys() method on that element, passing in the text you want to enter. For example:

WebElement textBox = driver.findElement(By.id(“text-box”)); textBox.sendKeys(“Hello, Selenium!”);

Can we use sendKeys for dropdown?

Yes, you can use sendKeys() to select an option from a dropdown. To do this, you would first locate the dropdown element, and then send the value of the option you want to select. For example:

WebElement dropdown = driver.findElement(By.id(“dropdown”)); dropdown.click(); dropdown.sendKeys(“Option 2”);

What can I use instead of sendKeys?

If you need to simulate keyboard input but don’t want to use sendKeys(), you can consider using other methods, such as the WebDriver Actions API. The Actions API provides a way to perform complex user interactions, including keyboard input. For example:

Actions actions = new Actions(driver); actions.sendKeys(“Hello, Selenium!”).perform();

You can also consider using JavaScript to interact with web elements and simulate keyboard input. For example:

JavascriptExecutor js = (JavascriptExecutor) driver; js.executeScript(“document.getElementById(‘text-box’).value=’Hello, Selenium!'”);
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