Posts in Test Data
When I need quick test data of a specific pattern or specific number of characters, I use PerlClip. It can be very useful in generating different kinds of stressful inputs. PerlClip places prepared text into the Windows clipboard so you can paste it wherever you need it.
Got some data you need to graph? You can always use Excel, but you might also try a tool like The site currently offers free tools for data visualization. While I don't know how long they will remain free, they are free now. The tool allows you to import data, display it, and re-chart it.
Using tables and graphs
When using tables and graphs of data test, check the following generic formatting points before you submit your results for review:

  • Is it clear what data the table is showing? Does it have a clear caption?

  • Do all columns contain headers? Is it clear what the data in that column represents?

  • Are you showing enough significant digits in the data?

  • Do the units of measure line up? Are they consistent across columns/tables as appropriate?

  • Would the data be better shown as a graph? If there is a graph, is it clear that the data and graph are related?

  • Do the graphs use the same terminology and units as the data? If not, is that made clear somehow?

  • Does the graph contain too much data? Should it be broken out into multiple graphs to make it simpler to read or follow?

  • How big is the resulting file where you've stored your tables and graphs? Is it too big to share using your standard method of delivery for information of this type?

Using random data generation
Data selection is the first step down the road of data-driven testing. You'll need to select the data that either drives the navigation of your application, represents the data that gets entered into your application, or both. One way to select data for testing is to use randomly generated data.

Many tools include test data generators. Random data generators can be especially helpful in generating large sets of customer data (depending on what you are testing and how much time you want to invest in the generation). For example, if you need to test for rounding errors on financial information, you can:

  1. Randomly generate a large set of data

  2. Run the data through your application

  3. Run it through the Windows calculator (assuming the Windows calculator has no rounding errors) simulating the same calculations

  4. Compare the results to make sure they match

If you need, for example, to generate a set of 500 different customer names and addresses, you can have a generator (Excel,, Google Sets, and so on) create a table of names and addresses.
Test DataMichael Kelly