I have recently come across* a nifty little tool called Rapid Reporter, for which I absolutely must give a shout out. Rapid Reporter, created by Shmuel Gershon, is an easy to use interface for taking notes while you test. If you’re not a tester, Rapid Reporter could easily be adapted for taking notes about your work throughout the day. The data is saved to a comma-separated values (CSV) file which, if you open it in Excel, can be easily sorted, filtered, and formatted however you like.
The Rapid Reporter tool itself is basically a little text entry field that floats on top of your desktop. You can go to Gershon’s website to read the full instructions about how it works. There are nine default prompts that indicate the type of note you’re entering: Name, Charter, Setup, Note, Test, Check, Bug, Question, and Next Time. After you enter the first two, you can cycle through the others to select the appropriate prompt as needed. Also, the prompts other than Name and Charter can be easily customized. Just click next to the prompt, type your note and press Enter. The note is saved with a time stamp in the CSV.
Additional handy Rapid Reporter features
Clicking the S button will take a screenshot, while clicking the N button opens a window to add an extended rich text note.
Rapid Reporter is always on top of whatever programs you have open which makes it easy to find. If you’re pressed for screen real estate, the transparency can be adjusted to make it less obtrusive.
Although it doesn’t bother me, Rapid Reporter is built on the .Net 3.5 framework and therefore is incompatible with Mac.
The benefits of Rapid Reporter
I’ve used Rapid Reporter on several test cycles and have been quite pleased with how convenient and easy it makes keeping test notes. I don’t have to hunt around for Rapid Reporter. It’s much easier to record fragile information, like URLs, than on paper. After testing, it’s so simple to review the data to make annotations for defect reports or distill the information to pass on to the project manager.