Top 15 Desktop Automation Tools for Testing

As desktop applications become more and more complicated, the need to test them has risen, and so has the need to automate those tests. Here is a listicle on the fifteen most popular and widely used tools to automated tests for desktop applications.
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In the realm of software development, testing plays a pivotal role in ensuring the quality and reliability of desktop applications. As desktop applications become more sophisticated and complex, manual testing alone is no longer sufficient to meet the demands of efficiency and accuracy. This is where desktop automation tools for testing come into play. Automated testing involves the use of specialized tools and frameworks to execute pre-defined test cases and verify the functionality of desktop applications. By leveraging automation, testing teams can significantly improve the testing process, increase test coverage, and detect defects early on. In this article, we will explore the top 15 desktop automation tools that can help you achieve your testing automation goals and streamline your workflow.

What is a Desktop Application?

A desktop application is a software program that runs locally on a personal computer or a laptop, rather than on the internet or a web browser. You can use these applications to perform specific tasks or functions, and they are typically installed and stored on the hard drive of a user’s computer.Desktop applications offer a range of features and advantages, including:Features:

  • Offline Access: You can use desktop applications without an internet connection, allowing users to work and access their data even when they are not connected to the internet.
  • Performance: They are generally faster and more responsive than web-based applications, as they directly access a computer’s resources, such as its processor and memory.
  • Customization: Desktop applications can be customized to suit the needs of individual users or businesses, with the ability to add or remove features and tailor the user interface to specific requirements.

Some examples of desktop applications include Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Photoshop, and Skype. These applications are designed for specific tasks such as document editing, photo editing, and video conferencing.

Why Automate Tests for a Desktop Application?

Automating tests for a desktop application offers numerous benefits that can significantly improve the software development process. By automating repetitive tasks, ensuring consistent testing, and reducing human error, desktop application testing can become more efficient and reliable.

10 Reasons why you should Automate Desktop Application Tests

Let’s explore the top 10 reasons why automating tests for a desktop application is crucial:

  1. Time and Cost Savings: Automated testing saves time by executing tests faster and reducing manual effort. It reduces the need for extensive manual testing, resulting in cost savings in the long run.
  2. Increased Test Coverage: Automation allows for comprehensive testing of various scenarios, including edge cases and different data sets. It helps identify and address potential issues that might be missed during manual testing.
  3. Improved Accuracy: It consistently executes test cases with precision, minimizing the risk of human error. It ensures that the application behaves as expected in different situations.
  4. Regression Testing: Automating regression tests helps ensure that new changes or updates do not introduce unintended issues or break existing functionality. It provides confidence in maintaining the stability and reliability of the desktop application.
  5. Faster Feedback: They provide quick feedback on the application’s behavior, highlighting any failures or issues. It enables developers to promptly identify and fix bugs, leading to faster iterations and shorter development cycles.
  6. Scalability: Automated tests are easily scalable, allowing for testing across different environments, operating systems, and configurations. It facilitates testing on various platforms and ensures consistent behavior across multiple setups.
  7. Reusability: Test automation enables the reuse of test cases, making it efficient and time-saving for future testing efforts. It eliminates the need to recreate test scenarios, increasing productivity and reducing redundancy.
  8. Increased Productivity: It frees up testers’ time from repetitive manual tasks, allowing them to focus on more complex and exploratory testing. It enhances productivity by automating mundane and repetitive tasks.
  9. Consistency: Automated tests ensure consistent execution of test cases, minimizing the impact of human factors. It eliminates variations in testing approaches and guarantees consistent results.
  10. Integration with Continuous Integration (CI) Pipelines: They seamlessly integrate into CI pipelines, enabling continuous and automated testing. It supports frequent builds, and deployments, and ensures that the application remains stable throughout the development process.

Top 15 Desktop Automation Tools for Testing

There are several types of desktop automation tools for testing available, each designed to automate specific types of tasks or workflows. Some examples of desktop automation tools include:

  • Regression Testing: These types of desktop automation tools ensure that previously validated functionality remains intact after changes or updates.
  • Compatibility Testing: They help verify the compatibility of desktop applications across different platforms, browsers, and configurations.
  • Load and Performance Testing: Tools assist in testing the application’s performance and scalability under varying workload conditions.
  • User Interface Testing: They validate the consistency and usability of the application’s graphical user interface.
  • Security Testing: Tools aid in identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities and ensuring robust security measures.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Tools enable the execution of test cases with different datasets to validate the application’s behavior.
  • Localization Testing: These desktop automation tools assist in verifying the correct functioning of desktop applications across different languages and locales.

Let’s have a look at the top 15 Desktop Automation Tools for testing in the market.

Testsigma

Testsigma is a test automation tool that comes in two versions: a cloud-based premium version and an open-source version. You can create and run automated tests for desktop applications without the need for programming skills. It uses a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows users to create test cases quickly and easily. It also supports keyword-driven testing, which allows users to create tests using natural language keywords instead of complex code. Testsigma is equipped with numerous features that make test automation easy and efficient.

testsigma desktop automation tool

Key features of Testsigma:

  • Easy Test Automation: Testsigma provides an intuitive way to automate tests in simple English, making it accessible to non-technical team members. Users can start test automation in just minutes.
  • Multi-Platform Support: It allows users to automate their tests for web, mobile, API, and desktop applications from the same platform, eliminating the need for multiple tools.
  • AI-Supported Features: Testsigma includes built-in features that use AI to help users save time on test maintenance, such as automatic script maintenance, bug reporting, and test optimization.
  • Cloud Execution: It offers easy and efficient test execution on the cloud, allowing users to run their tests from anywhere at any time. The platform also offers scalability.
  • Debugging Made Easy: Testsigma provides several debugging features, including the ability to capture screenshots, videos, and logs during test runs. It also includes a built-in debugger that allows users to step through their test scripts to identify and resolve issues.
  • Customizable Reports: It provides customizable reports that you can tailor to specific needs. Users can choose which metrics to report on and how to format the reports. The platform also offers real-time reporting.
  • Collaborative Setup: It makes it easy for teams to collaborate on test automation efforts. Users can set up review and collaboration processes on the cloud, and the platform integrates with popular CI/CD tools.
  • Parallel Testing: Testsigma supports parallel testing, allowing users to run multiple tests simultaneously.
  • Testing on Local Devices: It allows users to test their apps on local devices, enabling more accurate testing and ensuring that the app performs as expected in real-world scenarios.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Testsigma supports data-driven testing, allowing users to test their apps with various data inputs.
  • Image Recognition: It includes image recognition capabilities, which can help identify visual changes to an app.
  • 24/7 Support: Testsigma offers round-the-clock support to users.

Pricing model

  • It is available as both an open-source and a premium version on the cloud.

Testsigma’s natural language approach makes it easy for anyone to create automated test cases without needing to write any code. The platform’s AI-powered engine takes care of the technical details. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use and powerful desktop automation tool for testing, Testsigma is the solution for you. Start automating your desktop applications, in minutes, with Testsigma.

WinAppDriver

WinAppDriver, developed by Microsoft, is an open-source test automation tool tailored for Windows desktop applications. Testers and developers use WinAppDriver to automate applications on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and later. It supports both Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and classic Windows (Win32) applications, offering a wide array of programming language bindings, including Java, Python, Ruby, and JavaScript.

Key Features

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: WinAppDriver supports automation across various Windows platforms, ensuring seamless testing experiences for diverse applications.
  • Integration with Appium: Its robust integration with the Appium automation framework allows effortless collaboration with existing Appium tests, streamlining testing efforts.
  • Comprehensive User Interaction: WinAppDriver facilitates automation of intricate user interactions, including mouse clicks, keyboard inputs, and touch gestures, ensuring thorough application testing.
  • Enhanced UI Element Inspection: Testers can inspect Windows application UI elements effectively using the Appium desktop inspector, enabling precise and efficient testing.

WinAppDriver has limited support for advanced automation scenarios, such as complex workflows and conditional logic. By contrast, Testsigma’s intuitive test development feature enables teams to incorporate multi-device user journeys and functional and UI tests into tests.

Winium

Winium Desktop Automation Tools
Streamline your desktop testing process – Winium

Winium is a versatile open-source automation framework tailored for Windows desktop applications, empowering testers to automate applications developed using WinForms, WPF, and UWP technologies. Its user-friendly interface allows effortless interaction with UI elements, offering a seamless testing experience.

Key Features

  • Technology Agnostic Automation: Winium supports automation of desktop applications built using diverse technologies, enhancing flexibility and adaptability in the testing process.
  • Integration with Testing Frameworks: Testers can seamlessly integrate Winium with popular testing frameworks like Selenium and Appium, enabling efficient cross-platform testing and leveraging existing expertise.
  • Multi-Language Support: Winium’s support for multiple programming languages, including Java, Python, and C#, ensures ease of adoption and collaboration among diverse teams.
  • User-Friendly Scripting: Its simple scripting language enables non-technical users to automate tests without extensive coding knowledge, promoting collaboration between technical and non-technical team members.

Winium demands a deep understanding of Windows desktop application development to be used effectively, potentially posing challenges for users without prior development experience. Testsigma addresses this limitation by offering a user-friendly interface and low-code automation, democratizing test automation for various skill levels.

TestArchitect

TestArchitect Desktop Automation Tool
Automate your desktop testing process with TestArchitect

TestArchitect is great for automating applications across Windows, Java, .NET, and WPF platforms. Its intuitive interface empowers users to create, maintain, and execute automated test cases efficiently.

Key Features

  • Multi-Platform Support: TestArchitect facilitates automation of desktop applications on diverse platforms, ensuring consistent testing experiences across various technologies.
  • Codeless Automation: Users can automate tests without coding, enhancing collaboration and enabling non-technical team members to actively participate in the testing process.
  • AI-Assisted Testing: Featuring AI-powered capabilities such as self-healing tests and dynamic object recognition, TestArchitect streamlines test maintenance and enhances testing efficiency.
  • Cross-Browser Testing: TestArchitect supports cross-browser testing, allowing users to validate applications on popular web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

However, TestArchitect has limited scripting capability compared to other automation tools, which may limit its flexibility for some users. Testsigma overcomes this limitation by providing intuitive, NLP based test development for desktop application testing.

Ranorex

Ranorex
Power up your desktop automation game with Ranorex

Ranorex is a well known desktop automation tool that simplifies testing for desktop, web, and mobile applications. With its advanced features, Ranorex offers a robust solution for software testing and quality assurance.

Key Features

  • Multi-Platform: Ranorex supports testing on Windows, macOS, and mobile devices, ensuring comprehensive cross-platform testing and facilitating seamless application deployment.
  • Effortless Test Creation: Its visual test automation editor enables users to create and edit test cases intuitively, eliminating the need for complex coding and expediting test case development.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Ranorex supports data-driven testing, allowing users to execute the same test case with multiple data sets, enhancing test coverage and identifying potential issues.
  • Integration with CI/CD Tools: The seamless integration with popular CI/CD tools streamlines the automation workflow, enabling efficient testing within continuous integration pipelines.

However, Ranorex can be challenging to learn for beginners, and it may take some time to become proficient in using the tool. Testsigma’s unified low code platform has a lower learning curve and a shorter time-to-value.

SikuliX

Sikulix
Automate your desktop apps with visual search – SikuliX

SikuliX, an open-source desktop automation tool, uses image recognition to automate GUI interactions. It simplifies tasks like form filling, button clicks, and menu navigation, making it a popular choice for software testing, QA, and RPA.

Key Features

  • Image Recognition: SikuliX excels in identifying and interacting with GUI elements using image recognition, enabling precise and accurate automation without intricate coding.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, SikuliX ensures versatile desktop automation testing across diverse operating systems.
  • User-Friendly Scripting: Its straightforward scripting language enables users to write automation scripts in plain English, catering to non-technical users and promoting collaboration among team members.
  • Open-Source Advantage: Being free and open-source, SikuliX is a cost-effective automation solution, making it a preferred choice for organizations with heavy budget constraints.

But because SikuliX relies on image recognition, any changes to the UI elements being targeted can break the automation script. This can make maintaining and updating tests more difficult. By contrast, testers can develop self-healing automation scripts with Testsigma, making maintenance obsolete unless the test logic itself is being updated.

askUI

Desktop Automation Tools
Revolutionize your UI testing with askUI – an intuitive and versatile automation tool.

askUI offers versatile automation capabilities for web, desktop, and mobile apps.

Key Features

  • Multi-Language Support: Supports multiple programming languages, including Java, C#, and Python, ensuring flexibility in test automation and catering to diverse user preferences.
  • Efficient Object Identification: Provides object identification through XPath, CSS selectors, and ID, enhancing test scripting and ensuring accurate test execution.
  • Seamless Integration: Integrates with popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins and Bamboo, streamlining the testing process and providing actionable insights for continuous improvement.

However, askUI lacks support for advanced features like image recognition and OCR. There is also no support for parallel testing, which limits scalability. As an alternative, Testsigma advanced automation techniques, including image recognition and OCR based text extraction, along with built-in Test Lab to scale testing for growing organizations.

Robot Framework

Dekstop Automation Tool
Modular and Extensible Automation Framework – Robot Framework

Robot Framework stands as a popular open-source test automation tool known for its modularity and extensibility. Originally developed at Nokia Networks and now maintained by the Robot Framework Foundation, it offers a flexible platform for various testing tasks.

Key Features

  • Human-Readable Syntax: Robot Framework has an easy-to-understand syntax that is both human-readable and machine-executable, promoting efficient test case development and collaboration.
  • Wide Range of Libraries: It supports a diverse array of test automation libraries and tools, including Selenium, Appium, and JMeter, enhancing its versatility for different testing scenarios.
  • Supports Multiple Testing Approaches: Robot Framework enables keyword-driven testing, behavior-driven development (BDD), and data-driven testing, providing adaptability for different testing methodologies.
  • Cross-Platform Testing: The framework offers built-in support for testing web, mobile, and desktop applications on various platforms, ensuring comprehensive testing coverage.

Robot Framework’s desktop application testing capabilities, along with support for image-based testing, is limited. Testsigma offers comprehensive support for desktop application testing, ensuring thorough test coverage across various platforms and applications. Testsigma has powerful image recognition and OCR based text extraction capabilities, along with support for desktop application testing.

ZAPTEST

Desktop Automation Tools
Accelerate your test cycles with ZAPTEST

ZAPTEST is an enterprise-level automated testing tool for automating functional and performance testing for desktop, web, and mobile applications. Its powerful features and intuitive interface make it a valuable asset for software testing and quality assurance.

Key Features

  • Cross-Platform Testing: ZAPTEST facilitates testing for desktop, web, and mobile applications across diverse platforms, ensuring seamless cross-platform compatibility.
  • Visual Testing: With advanced image and text recognition capabilities, ZAPTEST allows for visual testing, enhancing accuracy and precision in test automation.
  • Integration with CI/CD Tools: It seamlessly integrates with popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Git, and JIRA, streamlining the automation workflow and ensuring efficient continuous integration and delivery.
  • Comprehensive Reporting: ZAPTEST provides detailed reports and analysis of test results, empowering users to identify issues quickly and make data-driven decisions.

ZAPTEST also has a steep learning curve, particularly for beginners, due to its advanced functionalities. Additionally, its limited community support may pose challenges when seeking assistance for complex testing scenarios. Testsigma addresses these limitations by offering a user-friendly interface and simple English based test automation.

AutoIt

AutoIt Desktop Automation Tool
Powerful automation for Windows GUI testing – AutoIt

AutoIt is a flexible desktop automation tool, specifically for Windows GUI testing and automation. Its intuitive scripting language and extensive capabilities make it a popular choice among testers and developers.

Key Features

  • User-Friendly Scripting: AutoIt has an easy-to-learn scripting language, enabling users to create automation scripts without extensive programming knowledge, promoting efficient test case development.
  • Wide Range of Application Support: It supports a variety of desktop applications, making it versatile for testing different software products and ensuring compatibility across various applications.
  • Image and Pixel-Based Automation: AutoIt allows automation based on images and pixels, providing flexibility in identifying and interacting with UI elements, enhancing accuracy in test automation.
  • Integration with Test Frameworks: It integrates seamlessly with popular test frameworks and tools, enhancing its usability and compatibility within existing testing ecosystems.

While AutoIt excels in Windows GUI testing, it has limited support for web applications. Testsigma addresses this limitation by offering comprehensive support for both web and desktop application testing, ensuring seamless test coverage.

FlaUI

FlaUI is an open-source UI automation framework for desktop applications. Built on top of UI Automation libraries included with Windows, it provides an object-oriented API for automating Windows applications.

Key Features

  • Object-Oriented API: FlaUI offers an object-oriented API for UI automation, enabling precise and efficient interaction with Windows Forms, WPF, and Win32 applications.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: It can be used with any programming language that supports .NET, ensuring adaptability across different development environments and languages.
  • Parallel Testing: FlaUI supports automation of multiple applications running in parallel, enhancing testing efficiency by enabling simultaneous execution of test cases.
  • Verification and Assertion Methods: The framework provides a robust set of verification and assertion methods for UI testing, ensuring accuracy and reliability in test automation.

FlaUI’s limited support for non-standard UI components and the steep learning curve associated with its object-oriented API may pose challenges, particularly for beginners. Additionally, its documentation and community support may not be as extensive as some other automation tools. Testsigma offers a simple and intuitive test development approach that’s easy to adopt, alongwith comprehensive documentation and support.

Jubula

Jubula
Efficient desktop automation testing with Jubula

Jubula is an open-source desktop automation tool used for automating functional tests for graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and other systems. Developed by the Eclipse Foundation, it offers a modular architecture and user-friendly interface, simplifying test automation for testers and developers.

Key Features

  • Modular Architecture: Jubula features a modular architecture, allowing easy customization and extension of test automation capabilities, catering to diverse testing needs.
  • Test Case Management: It provides robust support for test case management and version control, enabling organized and efficient test case development and execution.
  • Automated Testing of Complex UIs: Jubula supports automated testing of complex user interfaces, ensuring accurate and reliable test automation for intricate applications.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Its intuitive interface simplifies the process of creating and running automated tests, enhancing user productivity and efficiency.

Jubula has limited support for non-Java applications and mobile applications. Testsigma test development is in plain English, and only requires Java when custom NLP needs to be incorporated.

Pywinauto

Pywinauto
Automate your desktop apps effortlessly with Pywinauto

Pywinauto, a free and open-source automation library, specializes in Windows GUI applications. Its simple and accessible scripting capabilities make it a popular choice for testers and developers looking for efficient desktop automation solutions.

Key Features

  • Cross-Platform Support: Pywinauto is compatible with multiple programming languages, including Python, IronPython, and Jython, ensuring flexibility and adaptability across different development environments.
  • Standard and Custom Controls: It supports both standard and custom controls, catering to diverse application scenarios and ensuring compatibility with various UI elements.
  • Easy-to-Use API: Pywinauto provides an easy-to-use API, enabling users to interact with GUI elements effortlessly and create automation scripts efficiently.
  • Rich Set of Functions: The library offers a rich set of built-in functions and libraries, empowering testers and developers with comprehensive tools for desktop application automation.

Pywinauto’s limited support for non-standard UI elements and web applications may pose challenges in environments where complex applications require testing. Testsigma offers comprehensive support for both web and desktop applications, ensuring seamless test coverage across various technologies and platforms.

Airtest

Airtest
Streamline Your App Testing with Airtest

Airtest, an open-source cross-platform UI automation testing framework, has a unique approach to desktop app testing. It allows users to create tests without the need for source code, simplifying the testing process.

Key Features

  • Cross-Platform Testing: Airtest supports multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, and web applications, ensuring comprehensive cross-platform testing for diverse applications.
  • Python Scripting: Users can write tests in Python, harnessing the power and simplicity of Python scripting for efficient test case development and execution.
  • Image Recognition Tools: It offers a wide range of image recognition tools, facilitating easy and efficient test creation without intricate coding requirements.
  • Integration with Testing Frameworks: Airtest integrates seamlessly with popular testing frameworks such as pytest and unittest, enabling users to leverage their preferred testing tools for enhanced test automation.

Airtest focuses on UI testing and may not provide robust support for API testing, limiting its applicability in scenarios where both UI and API testing are essential. Additionally, its documentation and community support may not be as comprehensive as other testing frameworks. Testsigma is a unified platform that supports both UI and API testing, ensuring comprehensive test coverage for various testing needs.

Appium

Desktop Automation Tool
Desktop App testing made easy with Appium

Appium is an open-source test automation framework designed for mobile applications. Built on the WebDriver protocol, it supports testing of native, hybrid, and mobile web applications on iOS and Android platforms.

Key Features

  • Cross-Platform Testing: Appium allows testing on both iOS and Android platforms, ensuring comprehensive cross-platform compatibility for mobile applications.
  • Multiple Programming Language Support: Users can write tests in various programming languages such as Java, Ruby, Python, and JavaScript, enhancing flexibility and enabling seamless integration with diverse development environments.
  • Support for Various Testing Frameworks: It supports popular testing frameworks like TestNG, JUnit, and Mocha, allowing users to leverage their preferred testing tools for enhanced test automation.
  • Real Devices and Emulators/Simulators: Appium supports testing on real devices as well as emulators/simulators, accommodating various testing scenarios and ensuring comprehensive test coverage.

Appium has limited support for some native mobile features such as GPS, camera, and battery status. Additionally, its setup and configuration can be complex, especially for beginners, posing challenges for users new to the framework. Testsigma for mobile testing offers a unified, low-code, feature-rich platform that works out of the box and has built-in support for testing with these mobile features for simulation of the real world environment.