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Trace Viewer

Playwright Trace Viewer is a GUI tool that lets you explore recorded Playwright traces of your tests meaning you can go back and forward through each action of your test and visually see what was happening during each action.

You will learn

Recording a Trace

By default the playwright.config file will contain the configuration needed to create a file for each test. Traces are setup to run on-first-retry meaning they will be run on the first retry of a failed test. Also retries are set to 2 when running on CI and 0 locally. This means the traces will be recorded on the first retry of a failed test but not on the first run and not on the second retry.

import type { PlaywrightTestConfig } from '@playwright/test';
const config: PlaywrightTestConfig = {
retries: process.env.CI ? 2 : 0, // set to 2 when running on CI
use: {
trace: 'on-first-retry', // record traces on first retry of each test
export default config;

To learn more about available options to record a trace check out our detailed guide on Trace Viewer.

Traces are normally run in a Continuous Integration(CI) environment as locally you can use debugging methods to debug tests. However should you want to run traces locally you can force tracing to be on with --trace on.

npx playwright test --trace on

The trace-on flag was introduced in Playwright v1.25. Check your package.json to make sure you have at least this version of Playwright installed.

Opening the HTML Report

If you have a failed test then tests will run a total of 3 times. On the first retry the trace will be recorded. After the second retry the tests will stop running and a HTML report is available to view.

npx playwright show-report

In the HTML report click on the trace icon to directly open the trace file.

Playwright HTML Report

You can also click on the test file and scroll down to the 'Traces' tab and open the trace by clicking on the trace screenshot.

Playwright HTML Report

To learn more about reporters check out our detailed guide on reporters including the HTML Reporter.

Viewing the Trace

View traces of your test by clicking through each action or hovering using the timeline and see the state of the page before and after the action. Inspect the log, source and network during each step of the test. The trace viewer creates a DOM snapshot so you can fully interact with it, open devtools etc.

Playwright Trace Viewer

To learn more about traces check out our detailed guide on Trace Viewer.