How to use Inspect.exe and Locator Types with Native Apps

To use Cycle native app steps, it is recommended that Window’s Inspect.exe is used to identify app Object Identifiers. If you have not downloaded and installed Inspect.exe, follow the instructions provided in this page:

How To Configure Your Computer to use Cycle's Native App Steps

When using native app steps there are 4 element locator types that can be used to interact with applications using Cycle.

Locator Types:

  • Name
  • AutomationId
  • xPath
  • controlType

Finding Object Identifiers with Inspect.exe:

1) With your application and Inspect.exe open, the mouse cursor can be moved around the application and Inspect.exe will show UI element information in real time based on what UI element the cursor is hovering over.

In the example below using Windows calculator app, the “1” button is being hovered over, and the Tree view and Data view displays information about the “1” button. The Tree view shows the location of the button within the element hierarchy, and the Data view shows Object Identifiers of the button.

Inspect CalculatorInspect Calculator

2) With your application and Inspect.exe open, the Tree view on the left side can be navigated to any accessible element within the element hierarchy with mouse or keyboard.

Both a Locator Type and an Object Identifier are needed in order to write Cycle steps.

For most use cases the Name or AutomationId object types will be the most reliable and help maintain the readability of features. Using xPath and controlType may take more time to execute and could be less reliable.

Note: If an application is closed and reopened, Inspect.exe may also need to be closed and reopened in order for accurate information to be displayed.

Inspect.exe has a wide range of additional settings and features, the official Microsoft documentation on Inspect.exe can be found here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/desktop/winauto/inspect-objects

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