What data to record in a trading journal?

Before reading this lesson, you should have previously read through:

The previous lesson introduced you to how important it is to keep a trading journal and what to generally record in it. This lesson will show you precisely what to record and how to turn that data into useful information.

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Collecting and analysing trading data

Before trading a strategy on a live account, experienced traders will use a demo account to test their strategy and a spreadsheet to analyse the data to determine the effectiveness of their strategy.

Before trading a strategy on a live account, experienced traders will thoroughly test a strategy on a demo account and determine whether it is profitable over a sustained period. When they start trading that strategy with real money, they will continue to record their results and constantly monitor them.

This collection of data is a trading journal.

The easiest way to record the data of your trading activity is using a spreadsheet. This allows you to very quickly analysis a lot of data to get useful information.

The image below demonstrates what such a spreadsheet may look like:

Trading-journal-spreadsheet

If you would like the same trading journal as we have displayed, we have created one for you to download and start with:

What trading data should you record?

You are essentially looking to record as much information as possible for every trade that you take. The data you are looking for is everything that will help the performance of the strategy and more importantly, the kind of performance that can be expected in the future.

Time and date of each trade

This is especially helpful information to find entry points when looking back over your charts. You can find the exact market conditions at the time when you entered your trades. There may also be certain times when the strategy either works well or breaks down completely – recording the time and date will highlight these periods.

Record the time and date of each trade taken — this information will help to find entry points when looking back over data. Recording financial instruments being traded will help determine profitability for each instrument over a period of time.

The financial instruments being traded

Keeping track of the financial instruments you choose to trade with will help you determine profitability for each instrument over a sustained period of trading. Not all financial instruments behave in exactly the same way, some assets have different spreads or costs of trading and so not every asset will work under your strategy. It is essential to record what you are trading in order to cut the unprofitable asset classes from your trading strategy.

Entry, stop loss and exit prices

Recording these makes it much easier for you to check and verify each trade when looking back over your trading results and your charts. It will allow you to determine information such as risk to reward ratios and the initial risk that can safely be traded with the strategy, as well as analyse individual entries.

Record your entry, stop loss, exit prices, and results in pips, percentage gained and cash values. All information that you record will give helpful insight into whether a strategy or strategy is worth pursuing.

The results in pips, percentage gained and cash values

Recording your profit and loss will allow you to get a more accurate picture of whether the strategy is worth pursuing. As well as monitoring the profitability of the strategy, you will also be able to assess the strategy’s risk to reward results and whether trading the strategy, in reality, produces the same risk to reward as expected.

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Turning the data into useful information

Trading-journal-spreadsheet-2

Once you have collected this data, the next step is using it to provide meaningful information. The amount of trades taken is a huge factor. For example, results based on 10 trades are nowhere near as valid as results based on 100 trades. The image to the right shows how this may look like in a spreadsheet. The following is the information that you are attempting to attain:

Overall profit or loss

This should be shown as cash value and ideally pip value as well.

Distribution of wins, losses and breakeven trades

Equity-curve-trading-journal

This helps to determine the ratio of winning versus losing trades. It also helps traders decide exactly how much of the account can be risked on each trade and determining the overall risk to reward that can be taken using the strategy.

Average risk and average reward

The average risk to reward is vital so that expectations can be more aligned with the reality of the performance. This can have a positive impact on your psychology when trying to follow the strategy closely.

The image to the right shows how the information attained can be used to produce an equity curve that can visualise the performance of the strategy:

Summary

So far, you have learned that ...

  • ... traders will use a trading journal to test a strategy on a demo account and also continue using it to monitor the performance of a strategy.
  • ... a spreadsheet is mostly used to record the trading data.
  • ... you should record data such as the time and date of each trade, the exit, stop loss and exit price.
  • ... you can use the raw data that you collect on each trade to turn into useful information.
  • ... the information acquired includes the overall profit or loss, distribution of winning and losing trades and the average risk to reward ratio.

What next?

Learn how to test your strategy using your trading journal:

Lesson
Learn how to test a strategy with the your trading journal results.
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  • Hello,

    I downloaded the spreadsheet ! Nice job !
    But i was thinking that exporting the MT4 blotter, I would be able to import or copy/paste into the tradimo excel easily. But unfortunately it is not the case.

    Should we enter the trades manually ? Did I miss the way to export from MT4 to the spreadsheet ?

    Thanks !
  • Hello, I have any problem in the tradimo tradin journal in excel. I achieve image for show this.

    [img]http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/1192/sinttulocxs.png[/img]


    [img]http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/3897/sinttulopexq.png[/img]v

    [img]http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/3897/sinttulopexq.png[/img]




    can anybody help me?
  • the spreadsheet is excellent. thanks a lot
  • hi, smile thanks for your kind words. We are really happy to see that you appreciate how helpful our site is.
  • I am very grateful to page through a lot, but in this case, I think the trading journal is not complete. Only the first lines are properly implemented and operations functions, then no.

    Grateful also to answer to the problems what are posted, and not just people saying how nice it is. Many days ago I posted a problem and have not been answered.

    I hope you read this message as constructive.

    Thanks, greetings
  • Hello gatifun,

    For the implementation of operations after the first line, you can select the first line cells, place your cursor at the bottom right corner of the selection and drag it in order to paste the functions beyond the first line.

    Concerning the "#NOMBRE" error, it might be a problem with your decimal separator. I'm not really sure and your screenshots are a little foggy. A "," instead of "." (and vice-versa) could make Excel interpreting your number as a text for example. And some cells execute operations with numbers. It might be an explanation.

    I downloaded it this weekend in order to have a good example on which I could create mine. I tested it a little, and didn't see anything like this. Maybe you could download it again and re-test it....My two cents.

    By hoping that will help you.

    Sebastien.
  • Thanks Sebastien, I will try this, regards
  • Hi gatifun,

    Thank you for your constructive feedback. I am terribly sorry I did not notice your previous post. We will take a look into this, fix the problem and upload fixed version of tradimo trading journal.

    Thank you for your feedback we really do appreciate it, especially when it helps us improve our services and content.

    renorx: Thank you very much for being so helpful. We really appreciate your attitude towards this community, thank you mate! smile
  • gatifun:
    Hello, I have any problem in the tradimo tradin journal in excel. I achieve image for show this.

    can anybody help me?

    hey gatifun,

    I can't really tell why your spreadsheet isn't working by this screenshot sorry.
    But indeed it could be that you just need to swap the "." for a","if that doesn't work please make another reply here and we will try to figure it out.
  • Hey guys, I will try it and tell you. Thanks very much
  • Hi!

    I tried to download the trading journal but seems it doesn't work wink

    Marc.
  • Decemark:
    Hi!

    I tried to download the trading journal but seems it doesn't work wink

    Marc.

    Hey marc,

    Could you be a bit more specific? what in the trading journal is not working?
    For example can you open the sheet or are the calculations not working?
  • Hello timothy27,

    What I meant is that I can't download it, seems that link is broken. Can you download it?
  • Decemark:
    Hello timothy27,

    What I meant is that I can't download it, seems that link is broken. Can you download it?

    hey yea the button seems to be broken i have contacted It about the issue.
    In the main while you can find the download link here
  • Thank you very much Timothy smile!
  • Hi,
    The topic here implies use of single strategy and its analysis but the market everyday isn't same, meaning sometimes its trending and sometimes ranging, also I sometimes use the BS, so take all this into account for the analysis?? Or do we have to make separate journals for all these?
  • Hi,
    The topic here implies use of single strategy and its analysis but the market everyday isn't same, meaning sometimes its trending and sometimes ranging, also I sometimes use the BS, so how to take all this into account for the analysis?? Or do we have to make separate journals for all these?
  • spreadsheet is excellent
  • Spreadsheet is very useful. Thanks a lot!
  • Entry, stop loss and exit prices this is very important

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