Windows Application Automation TestingIn my previous blog, I put forth a strong case for adopting Coded UI Test (CUIT) for automation testing. As a result, I have been receiving a lot of comments asking how to automate ‘Windows Applications’ using Coded UI Test. With this in mind and to also provide readers an insight on Windows Application Automation Testing, I have written this blog. Using Coded UI Test, software testers can perform actions on controls (UI Elements) using UIMAP (an in-built feature of Coded UI Engine) or Code First approach (Hand Coding).

What is Code First Approach?

The Code First approach is a relatively new workflow introduced by Microsoft. It is utilized to generate UI Map elements by using Search (or) Filter properties of a control, instead of using UI Map objects generated by the Coded UI Test Builder.

Windows Application Automation Testing

In order to gain a better understanding of windows application automation testing, let’s first discuss about handling some of the windows applications controls using Coded UI Test.

Generating Controls using Code First Approach

Here are some of the windows controls, where we can perform actions WinButton, WinCalender, WinCell, WinColumnHeader, WinComboBox, WinControl, WinCustom, WinEdit, WinGroup, WinHyperLink, WinList, WinMenuItem, WinListItem, WinMenuBar, WinPane, WinRadioButton, WinScrollBar etc.
I am sure most of the software testers are aware that an object is built depending on its search (or) filter properties.

Handling Controls of Windows Applications

The following namespace has to be added, while handling the controls of Windows applications:
using Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UITesting.WinControls;

How to Launch a Windows Application during Run Time

Below is the syntax that is used to launch a Windows application during run time:
ApplicationUnderTest obj = ApplicationUnderTest.Launch(ExePath, AlternateExePath);
If you observe the above syntax, the ExePath is mandatory, whereas the AlternateExePath is optional. The AlternateExePath is used to launch the .exe (just in case the playback engine fails to identify the given ExePath).

Generating Textbox Control

The following method is used to perform actions on a textbox control using its return value:
public static readonly WinWindow WinWindow = new WinWindow();
public WinText TextboxObject()
var txtBoxProps = new WinText(WinWindow) { TechnologyName = "MSAA" };
txtBoxProps.SearchProperties.Add("Name", "txtBoxNameProperty");
return txtBoxProps;

Generating Checkbox Control

The following method is used to perform actions on a Checkbox control, using its return value:
public static readonly WinWindow WinWindow = new WinWindow();
public WinCheckBox CheckBoxObject()
var chkProps = new WinCheckBox(WinWindow) { TechnologyName = "MSAA" };
chkProps.SearchProperties.Add("Name", "CheckBoxNameProperty","Id","checkBoxIdproperty");
return chkProps;

Generating Radio Button Controls

The following method is used to perform actions on a Radio button control, using its return value:
public static readonly WinWindow WinWindow = new WinWindow();
public WinRadioButton RadioButtonObject()
var radioProps = new WinRadioButton(WinWindow) { TechnologyName = "MSAA" };
radioProps.SearchProperties.Add("Name", "RadioName", "Id", "RadioIdProperty");
return radioProps;

Generating Button Controls

The following method is used to perform actions on a Button control, using its return value:
public static readonly WinWindow WinWindow = new WinWindow();
public WinButton ButtonObject(string btnNameProperty)
var btnProps = new WinButton(WinWindow) { TechnologyName = "MSAA" };
btnProps.SearchProperties.Add("Name", btnNameProperty);
return btnProps;
Now that we have gained a good understanding of creating controls using the Code First approach, let us now consider a use case to gain an overview on windows automation testing, the test object used here is a calculator application, which is a widely used application in the windows environment.

Launching a Calculator Application During Runtime

The below code snippet would help testers to launch the calculator application:
ApplicationUnderTest calcApp = ApplicationUnderTest.Launch("C:\\Windows\\System32\\calc.exe", "%windir%\\System32\\calc.exe");

Available Actions

Following are some of the actions that software testers can perform on the ‘calcApp’ object:
Windows Application Testing - Actions

Addition Operation and Output Verification

Performing addition operation and output verification on the calculator application. The following illustration depicts a calculator’s button object properties:
Windows Application Automation - Calculator Button Properties

Generation of Calculator Objects using Code First Technique

Here’s the code to perform actions on calculator’s button and a textbox: 
public static readonly WinWindow WinWindow = new WinWindow();
///Constructor – Passing Calc Windows Tittles and Calc ControlId
public CalculatorScenarios()
WinWindow.SearchProperties[WinWindow.PropertyNames.ControlId] = "131";
public WinButton ButtonObject(string btnProp)
var txtProps = new WinButton(WinWindow) { TechnologyName = "MSAA" };
txtProps.SearchProperties.Add("Name", btnProp);
return txtProps;
public WinText TextboxObject()
var resultProps = new WinText(WinWindow) { TechnologyName = "MSAA" };
resultProps.SearchProperties.Add("Name", "Result");
return resultProps;

Test Script/Automated Test Scenario

///Performing Addition Operation and Output Verification
///Clicking on Button 1 and 2 and verifying output is 3 or not
public void CalcAdditionAndOutputVerification()
var outVal = TextboxObject().DisplayText;
Console.WriteLine(Equals(outVal, "3") ? "PASS : Output is correct" : "FAIL : Output is not correct");
Below is the output screen that confirms that the test validation is passed. As can be seen, the program was written in Coded UI to add the numbers 1 and 2 and verify, if the output is 3 or not:
Windows Application Automation Testing


On the whole, it has been observed that generation of controls is a lot easier in Coded UI, as compared to other automation testing tools. Furthermore, it is also easy to include Assertions in Coded UI. Hope this post helps readers to gain better insights on windows application automation testing using Coded UI.


Naveen Varadaraju is Sr. Software Test Engineer at Evoke Technologies. His area of expertise is automation testing, he is highly proficient in using various testing tools, including Coded UI and Unified Functional Testing (UFT). Naveen closely follows emerging trends in the software testing domain.
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  1. Hi Naveen
    Would you have a sample codedUI solution/project you can share that automated a Windows App that is a WPF application?. It doesn’t need to work just so I can see you launching the application and just clicking a button

  2. Samy Dert

    September 6, 2015

    Is there a way to use coded ui with visual studio community as autoit alternative?

    • Yes we can integrate Autoit with Visual Studio to automate Windows Applications using Autoit Dll.
      Download the Dll from Autoit website and from the Visual Studio solution, go to Reference -> Add Reference -> Browse your AutoIt dll and include it to your project/solution.

      • Samy Dert

        September 30, 2015

        The autoitx.dll doesn’t have all the autoit’s features.
        Furthermore autoit itself is pretty limited with new windows applications.
        Asked if we can use codedui library with vs-community the same way I used autoit.
        So automating gui applications and building simple programs without licence issues.
        So do you advice me to stay with uiacomwrapper or to use codedui?

      • Praveen Kumar Reddy.G

        October 6, 2015

        Good Stuff .. Recently I started working in CodedUi (vsts 2015) ..

  3. Xavier

    October 2, 2015

    Thanks for the post, so helpful.
    What is the editor you have screenshots of in the post?

    • Glad that you liked the post. It is Visual Studio Ultimate 2012 update 4. Hope this helps.

  4. sharad

    December 5, 2015

    can i create a object of application window at a global level(one time creation) and call that in all other test classes, instead of creating that object again for all the test classes.

  5. Adarsh Reddy

    April 20, 2016

    Thanks a lot for the post.
    As I’m a beginner in automaton testing could you please provide some more examples
    It will be of great help.

  6. RUdra

    April 26, 2016

    Can you please let me know code to click on Admin tool bar or any other Tool bar

    • lingareddy

      April 27, 2016

      Hi Naveen,
      i need some help for playback wait timeout.
      earlier i used below playback script then that time its working fine
      Playback.PlaybackSettings.WaitForReadyLevel = WaitForReadyLevel.AllThreads;
      Playback.PlaybackSettings.WaitForReadyLevel = WaitForReadyLevel.UIThreadOnly;
      as of now its not supporting its directly giving the error .can any one please help me
      example scenario:
      i have a search screen when i hit on go button data is getting displaying 50 seconds or below 50 seconds is loaded with in 10 seconds i need to reduce the remaining 40 seconds.
      please help me its urgent.

  7. RUdra

    April 26, 2016

    can you also provide Training on Coded UI ?

  8. Rajeshkumar

    July 14, 2016

    Hi Naveen,
    As i am a beginner in Coded UI Automation Testing. I have done coded UI using Data driven method (Excel).can i deploy coded ui test as an application and how to run a test method using Html button.

  9. Pavithran

    July 14, 2016

    Hi Naveen,
    how to deploy the coded ui project as an application and i already created a ui page for my coded ui project, now i want to run the test method using button on the ui page which i have created.

  10. Henry

    September 22, 2016

    Hi Naveen
    Thanks for your topic. It is really helpful but I have some questions at:
    public CalculatorScenarios()
    WinWindow.SearchProperties[WinWindow.PropertyNames.ControlId] = “131”;
    is this the main window of Calculator? If it is Calculator window, which tool do you find ControlId = 131? Is “131” main window of Calculator?

  11. Juan

    March 11, 2017

    Es muy complicado el mantenimiento de Coded UI hay otro forma de automatización para aplicaciones windows en visual studio. (Translated into English: It is very complicated to maintain Coded UI, Is there another form of automation for windows applications in visual studio?)

  12. Ashish

    March 28, 2017

    Hi Naveen,
    I am completely new to CODED UI automation.
    I have a question and that is regarding the CODED UI automation. I am doing a automation for a Swing application. It is built on Java platform and I am trying to automate it with CODED UI. I have tried the code with the following:
    UITestControl toolWindow = Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UITesting.ApplicationUnderTest.Launch(“C:\\Program Files\\.exe”);
    It is not able to launch the application and is showing the error: Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UITest.Extension.FailedToLaunchApplicationException: The requested operation requires elevation –> System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The requested operation requires elevation
    I am not able to figure it out what is the error behind it.

  13. Muralee

    April 12, 2017

    Hi All,
    Can anyone please tell me how to launch .HTA file by CodedUI?

  14. Naoufel

    April 24, 2017

    Hi Naveen,
    I’m developing a desktop application WPF and i’m looking for a test tool, my problem is that i’m using Visual Studio Professional Edition and Coded UI is supported only by Enterprise Edition.
    Have you a solution or other suggestion for this Problem?

  15. Satheesh

    July 17, 2017

    Hi Naven,
    Can I have a sample code for windows phone application’s login page script (CodedUI)

  16. Satheesh

    August 17, 2017

    Hi ,
    Please help me out from this…..Actually I have windows Phone 10 app and windows 8.1 machine …Can we proceed my automation at coded UI?

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