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.
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.