Rapid Reporter, exploratory notetaking

This page presents a note taking application that aids in the reporting process of SBTM – Session Based Test Managements.
SBTM is a method for managing exploratory tests, which relies on notes taken during an uninterrupted testing session and a review of these notes afterwards. The notes being the most important part of the whole method, there are many techniques and suggestions on how to carry them on, and some applications that help you do and review them.

This is one of these tools, and you can learn about SBTM here.

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User Guide
Session Sample
Note: Application requires .NET 3.5


This tool wasn’t born, however, from a study of all the steps in SBTM (although it is based on such).
It was born from careful observation of sessions performed by me and other testers, and observation of session reviews.
During such observations, we noticed a few things on the dynamics of note taking and review.

For example, we noticed between other points that:

  • notes should be easy and quick to take, or there will be fewer/poorer notes
  • dealing with the structure of the session report *during* the tests session deviates attention, slows the cognitive process and makes it boring
  • if the session reports aren’t computerized, doing a final report is a nightmare (we had tried hand-written notes for a while for their simplicity, bad idea)
  • session reports that are grouped by section lose their chronology (The two SBTM tools linked above sort by section)
  • session reports in binary format are harder to work with as you cannot index, grep or manipulate easily…

Observations like these guided the design of Rapid Reporter.



The tool iterated during many versions where it was tweaked to fit my friend’s reporting activities. Any module that wasn’t immediately necessary for reporting a testing step was removed, and the others made more straightforward.

The result has the following benefits:

  • A tool that is standalone (no installation required), can be used across different computers from your USB disk-on-key.
  • It is yellow and always-on-top, so testers don’t need to look for it on their desktop.
  • Notes are taken one by one, in one-liners. Note types (our name for ‘sections’) can be changed while you type by using directional keys.
  • To augment the one-liner notes, the application can take screenshots on-demand, and provides an extended rich text format notes area.
  • All notes are saved in CSV text files, which combine plain text flexibility with spreadsheet manipulation power.



Tool’s known issues:

  • Windows Only (XP/Vista/7, 32/64).
  • Requires .NET 3.5 :(. If it is an impediment for you, please let me know, I am considering a non-.NET migration.
  • Maximize function works poorly or in very weird manners.
  • Other issues that can be seen at the known issues list.

If you are so kind, please report issues to sgershon@gmail.com or at the comments below.

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Direct Download!
User Guide
Session Sample



Q: I need the notes of what I write available as I go, to learn from my path of thought. Can I do that?
A: Sure!
Rapid Reporter offers three ways to do that.
a) Use the extended note area:
The content here is persistent until you delete it. If it was (at least) once saved, it is available even after you delete the content.
Using built in persistent note is the preferred method.
b) Look at previous notes in the history context menu:
This will show you all the previous notes, and you can see from here the cognitive progress you’ve passed through.
c) Open the working folder:
By right clicking the golden area, you can open the current working directory, and there you have full direct raw access to all the notes, attachments and extensions you logged during this (or a previous) session.
Q: Setup“, “Note“, “Test“, “Check“, “Bug“, “Question“, “Next Time” are good types for notes. But at my company we use different terms. Can I change that?
A: Sure!
Start Rapid Reporter from command line, and follow the command with the list of words you’d want to use as note types.
For example, executing:
C:\prompt\> RapidReporter.exe Comment OffCharter Defect Verification TestNumber
Will start Rapid Reporter with “Comment“, “OffCharter“, “Defect“, “Verification“, “TestNumber” as note types.
If you use that line in a batch file (*.bat), it becomes a matter of double-click. Easy and flexible!

New!! This article translated to Serbo-Croatian language by Jovana Milutinovich.

207 thoughts on “Rapid Reporter, exploratory notetaking”

  1. Hi, Trying out this tool for taking notes during testing and for taking notes during R&D

    So far it looks really great :) I can see a lot of potential uses for it.

    Thanks for the great work.

  2. hi Shumel,
    i can not get out the set up step.. looks like it stuck in an infinite loop. I read the manual twice but i can not solve this problem – can u give a hand ?

    1. Hi there, when you start this app you need to write the reporter and charter. Then you are allowed to scrool through the other options (like setup, test, etc.) by pressing arrow keys ;-)

    1. Hi!, I’m not really sure for what it’s actually for. But on my company we use it to define test preconditions. e.g., being present at a certain page, site, being logged as a guest/registered user, that sort of thing.
      Hope it helps!

  3. Hello thanks for this tool it seems promising however, i have installed it and i seem to be able to go through infinite loop on setup section. I dont go beyond this section.. i am doing something wrong.

  4. Hi, I have installed Rapid Reporter but I am not sure of what to enter in the “Setup”. Does it refer to the URL of the application we want to test?

    Please guide me.

    1. Hi!, I’m not really sure for what it’s actually for. But on my company we use it to define test preconditions. e.g., being present at a certain page, site, being logged as a guest/registered user, that sort of thing.
      Hope it helps!

  5. I just can use the “Setup“, but cannot user the “Note“, “Test“, “Check“, “Bug“, “Question“, “Next Time” by default, what’s the problem?

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