I analyze my trading in four main ways:
- Screenshots and Video of trades when I enter & exit – I use SnagIt, Jing, & Camtasia for this. I often post these to the blog and Twitter.
- A journal – This is a simple word document where I just write freely on what I’m thinking while trading. If I make it too structured it only slows me down. Please see this post for some real journal entries.
- A “trading well” trade log. In this spreadsheet I keep track of whether I traded my plan, I keep track of mistakes & missed trades. This is entered manually. I think this is the most important part of my analysis.
- A metric trade log. This is where I track my performance and set my performance goals. This is entered automatically (copy/paste from broker or trading app). This has become less important for me as I now just focus on trading my plan.
The trading well trade log has 3 worksheets. The first is a summary of my results for the week:
The second is where I list all my trades and for each one:
- which setup it was from my plan (or if it was not a valid setup)
- if I traded it well
- how many points I would have gotten trading my plan
- how many points I actually got
- notes on the trade
The third sheet is a list of lessons that I’m learning, mistakes that I’ve made. I keep track of when I make them so that I can focus on avoiding these mistakes. For example moving my stops to give it a little more room was a common “sin” of mine. I’m proud to say that last week I didn’t move my stops at all. But when one sin is conquered, others appear. We can never be perfect but we can work on continuous improvement.
The trading well trade log is described in this video, which compares my performance with the previous week:
You may download a copy of the spreadsheet here: Trading Well Trade Log
The metrics trade log allows me to export trades from multiple brokers & trading applications (such as X_Trader, Ninjatrader, & IB’s TWS) and paste them into my excel. The way it works is I export my trades from each platform to CSV or clipboard and then paste them into a conversion worksheet in my tradelog where they are converted into a “standard” format. I then take the trades in standard format and paste them into the trade list. After that there is a worksheet to provide the metrics I track.
Here is an example of what the summary page looks like:
The supported platforms are Velocity, Ninjatrader, & Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation. X_Trader is supported but has a few issues to work out as I don’t really use it and haven’t had time to fix it. Any other platform can easily be supported by creating a conversion worksheet using one of the existing platform worksheets as an example.
I have prepared a video explaining how the spreadsheet works:
The last tab of the worksheet has a TODO list. This spreadsheet is not “finished” and it’s not a product. It may contain bugs or errors in the formulas. I use it daily so there is nothing major but I do discover little issues while using it. I’m providing it here as an example for you to use to make your own trade log.
While I may release future versions, I don’t intend to keep releases up to date with every little change I make. I hope you can understand why, I simply don’t have the time to treat this as a real product. If you want to buy a “finished product” tradelog, there are several for sale on the internet. If you want to make your own then I hope you’ll find mine useful.
My Excel knowledge is limited to what I use for my tradelogs & statistics. If you have any comments or suggestions on how to improve the tradelog I would greatly appreciate it.
You may download the template here. I’ve left a few trades in there so you can see how it works. I’ve included a version for Excel 2010 & 97:
I’ve always tracked my trading but in the past I’ve just focused on tracking the performance. Since I started investing time to analyze all of my trades and compare them with my trading plan, my trading has improved considerably. I think journaling and analyzing your trades is crucial to improving. It takes time & effort and many people do not do this. I feel if one is not trading their plan they are gambling. I know because I was gambling for several years. One can be a profitable gambler. But a profitable trader can do even better.
I hope you find these excel spreadsheets useful. If you have any comments or suggestions on how I can improve them, or if you’re tracking your trading differently, please let me know. I welcome all feedback.