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Selection Methods for Web Tests in Katalon Studio

This article guides you through choosing different strategies to locate WebUI objects in Katalon Studio.

Set the default selection method

To set the default selection method used in the Spy/Recorder of a project, do as follows:
  1. Open Katalon Studio, then go to Project > Settings > Test Design > Web UI.
    For Katalon Studio version 7.6.0 backward, go to Project > Settings > Test Design > Web Locators.
  2. Under the line Default element locator value of test objects generated by Recorder or Spy, select one of these provided options:
    • XPath: Once a test object is captured using Spy/Recorder, a set of XPath locators is generated. The first value is the object's default XPath locator.
    • Attributes
    • CSS
    • Image
  3. If you choose XPath or Attributes, you need to configure additional settings. To learn more, see below:
  4. When you are done, click Apply and Close.

Configure XPath

You can prioritize XPath locators by dragging and dropping the XPath locators list. To locate the elements, Katalon Studio uses the first XPath as default. If the default XPath fails, the remaining XPaths of the list are leveraged to locate the element.

To return to the default order, click Reset Default.

Below is a list of XPath capture strategies:

XPath capture strategyDescription
xpath:linkBuild XPath locators for the link element.

For example: //a[contains(text(),'Go to Homepage')]

xpath:imgBuild XPath locators for the image element.

For example: //img[@alt='Katalon']


Build XPath locators based on the tag name and attributes of the selected element.

There are 5 preferred attributes to build element locators: ['id', 'name', 'value', 'type', 'action', 'onclick'].

If the element has more than one of those attributes, the locator combines the attributes with an operator.

For example: //button[@id='btn-login']

xpath:customAttributesBuild XPath locators based on the tag name and attributes of the selected element. The XPath value combines one or more attributes of all default and customized attributes. (Available from version 8.2.5)

For example: //button[@id = 'btn-login' and @type = 'submit' and (text() = 'Login' or . = 'Login')]

xpath:idRelativeBuild relative XPath locators from the nearest parent that has id attributes.

For example: //section[@id='login']/div/div/div[2]/form/div[4]/div/button

xpath:hrefBuild XPath locators of an element that has href attributes and matches or contains a given value.

For example: //a[contains(@href, '')]

xpath:positionBuild absolute XPath locators of a selected element.

For example: //div[3]/div/input

xpath:neighborBuild XPath locator based on the more robust neighbors of the selected element.

For example: (.//*[normalize-space(text()) and normalize-space(.)='CURA Healthcare Service'])[3]/preceding::button[1]

dom:nameBuild XPath locator based on DOM (Document Object Model). This applies only to elements within a named form.

For example: "document.forms["home"].elements["userName"]"

Configure Attributes

You can decide which attributes to be used for detecting an object by selecting options in the Detect object by? column.

  • To return to the default setting, click Reset Default.
  • To add new attributes, click Add.
  • To delete an attributes, select the attributes and click Delete.
  • To delete all attributes, click Clear.

configure attribute

Switch Selection Method in an object view

In an object view, you can switch from one selection method to another. The detailed content of each selection method is saved automatically.


  • Selection Method: Choose an object locating strategy among XPath, Attributes, CSS, or Image.
  • Selected Locator: Input the desired XPath or CSS locator manually.
  • Object's Properties: Check only the preferred properties of an object.


For better object recognition, Katalon Studio supports Smart XPath (a.k.a Relative XPath). If an element cannot be consistently located using its direct attributes, Katalon Studio identifies the element by using its more robust neighbors. This method is visually intuitive as it reflects the way users often identify a visible element on the user interface.

Working with XPath, you can:

  • Set the priority of XPath locators.
  • Decide which object properties are used to recognize objects.
  • Override the global settings in a specific object. To do so, open an object view and configure a selection method used for this object in particular.

If XPath is set as the default selection method when spying and recording, Katalon Studio generates a list of Smart XPaths automatically.

object spy



A test object is typically built up by several properties. During test execution, Katalon Studio uses them to detect an object.

If Attributes is set as the default selection method during spying and recording, Katalon Studio automatically generates XPath locators that combine all the selected object properties to locate that object. In the Detect object by? column of the Object's Properties table, you can check/uncheck preferred properties.



To manually input your CSS locator of a test object, open an object view and select the CSS option. In the Selected Locator, enter a CSS locator value.


Change the CSS selector of an object at runtime

To change the CSS value of a test object at runtime, use the following code snippet:

import com.kms.katalon.core.testobject.SelectorMethod

TestObject to = findTestObject('your_test_object_id')

//Change value of CSS selector
to.setSelectorValue(SelectorMethod.CSS, 'your_desired_value')

//Change selection method from another selector to CSS selector

See also:


From version 7.2.2 onwards, Katalon supports visual object recognition. You can learn more about how to create image property for an object at Web Image-based Testing.

See also