Most successful trading businesses maintain a trading journal. They use it to maximize their trading system. A stock trading journal template is a tool that enhances trading performance and allows you to gain more confidence when making executions. But your success in trading requires a high level of practice and planning. As a trader, you need to undergo an extensive learning process. The best tool that will guide you through this is the trading journal.

Trading Journal Templates

How do you write a trading journal?

Unfortunately, a trading journal or stock spreadsheet template is an underrated tool in the trading world. Many consider the task of maintaining a journal too tedious, especially at the beginning.

Also, many traders don’t have the time, discipline, and patience to update their journals frequently. But if you have made it a habit to keep a journal, you will discover that in the long run, the process is quite easy. You’ll also find it beneficial because this tool is very helpful if you want to become a successful trader.

Having a trading journal enables you to keep track of your performance as a trader by documenting all of your trades. You can review your journal later to make improvements on your trading activities as you learn from your unsuccessful and successful trades. Making records of your trading transaction progress allows you to review your errors when closing and opening a position.

It also helps to adhere to a trading plan to improve your ability to make better executions in the future. A trading journal isn’t just a list of all your trade transactions. You can also use it to write down your emotions, observations, and thoughts. Remember the importance of taking notes on your observations right away so you don’t forget anything.

Trading Journal Spreadsheets

What should I journal as a trader?

If you consider yourself a serious trader, you need a tool to evaluate yourself objectively – the day trading excel spreadsheet is the perfect tool. Trading journals should contain the following elements to make them effective:

  • A well-written and executable trading plan.
  • An efficient trading system.
  • Regular reviews and improvements of your trading plans and performance.

It’s important to keep a journal that focuses on all these elements. Since it’s an objective document, you use the journal to keep track of your trading system’s performance and your ability to execute your trades consistently. Poor trading systems cause poor performance. It’s not just about your ability as a trader to correctly follow the trading system rules. The journal you keep would only be as good as what you write in it.

For example, if you don’t track your trades accurately, it becomes very difficult to evaluate your performance. Keeping your journal should be a continuing effort too. Here are some suggestions for keeping an effective trading journal:

  • You should always start writing in your journal before the trade and end after it.
  • Take note of everything and be as honest as possible. If you decide to play online games while in a trade and you forgot to exit, jot that down, and provide the real reason.
  • Pay close attention to your emotions while trading and write them down.
  • Include observations about your trading skills and the market. Trading journals are usually geared toward market observations and self-analysis.
  • Take a photo or screenshot of intraday charts with your comments written on them. Also, take note of any patterns you might notice while trading.
  • You might find something useful even in the simplest notes. For example, write down whether you missed a trade since you were busily doing something else. Write this down too.

What to include in a trading journal template?

A well-organized trading journal should include all of the necessary elements that describe the trade. Aside from the main elements, the journal should also include other relevant information. Your journal entries can help you keep track of trading improvements, which makes it easier for you to analyze performance. Here are the main elements to include in your journal:

  • Dates and times. Each entry in the journal must include the date and time when you took the trade. If you’re using an Excel spreadsheet, use the date and time columns to arrange or filter your entries to make it easier to find what you need. You can download these trading journal template spreadsheets online.
  • The financial instrument you traded. This element refers to a description of the financial instrument you have traded. Some templates automatically add this field after you have uploaded your entries and exit prices.
  • Entry prices and exit prices. These are important fields that include entry price, take-profit level, and stop-loss level.
  • Position price. If you want to determine whether your position prices are in compliance with your risk management rules and requirements, you need to input the position size for all of the trades you take. Later on, you can use this field during your journal retrospectives to analyze whether you took too many risks, which caused you to lose trades.
  • Result of your trades. This is the last field of your trade journal but it’s very important. Here, you will add your profits and losses in currency you’re using on your account. Besides these main elements, a well-designed trading journal template should also include other significant elements. Here are some suggestions for additional elements and fields that could make your journal more effective:
  • Market commentaries. You can create a column for your market commentaries that you use to provide a fundamental background of the instrument you have traded. For example, do you expect the market to raise its prices at the next meeting, or were there no changes in the inflation rates or economic growth?
  • Your reasons for taking trades. You can state in this section your reasons for taking a specific trade, including the technical and fundamental reasons. For instance, you took a trade because it has already reached diverging support of a trendline or channel and the patterns show the stability of the technical levels. You can write these reasons down in bullet-point form or as a narrative.
  • Charts. Including pictures like price charts in your trading journal for each of your trades could make a huge difference in your journal’s effectiveness. This will make your life easier when you start analyzing your journal entries for the purpose of revising or improving your trading plans and strategies.

Stock Trading Journal Templates

Why do you need this journal?

Traders who maintain trade journals know that the simple task of updating their journals consistently provides them with significant results they can use in their trade. Whether you use a pen and paper or a digital Excel document to keep track of your data, having a trading journal helps you develop a successful strategy so you can avoid making the same mistakes when trading. Here are some important benefits of using this journal:

  • To find the best trading style

Some day traders often show clear signs of feeling stressed. When this happens, they find it hard to manage risks well. Therefore, it’s better to become a swing trader. Although trading in the long-term isn’t any easier compared to short-term trading, many traders feel more comfortable with it because they have more time to analyze data and they don’t have to make quick decisions. Also, using a journal while trying out different strategies in trading can help you find the best trading style to use.

  • To help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. If you consistently update your trading journal, you will find certain patterns emerging over time. From there, you can identify your weaknesses and strengths, which will help you find the best strategies and style to use for trading.
  • To use as a guide or reference. Most traders admit that they don’t know everything about the trading market and industry. They need to keep learning more about it. Since the market is continuously evolving, some strategies might stop working. Therefore, it becomes crucial to educate yourself continuously too. One of the most effective ways to do this is by making observations about the market in your journal. You can use your notes and observations as your guide when making improvements.
  • To improve your self-discipline. If you have maintained a trading journal for some time now, you will agree that updating the journal isn’t as tedious as you first thought. You might even consider the task as a part of your daily routine. It also helps you become more disciplined and consistent.
  • To ensure accuracy. Keeping all of your trading statistics in the journal is very helpful. Including statistics along with your observations provides you with significant insights. You can easily start a trading journal and make sure that you update it consistently. Also, this is a very personal tool, which means that there is no ‘correct’ way of writing in it because every trader should know themselves the best, especially in terms of how they want to structure and execute the journal.

Day Trading Excel Spreadsheets

How do you set up a trading spreadsheet?

The most popular tool traders use to create a trading journal spreadsheet is Excel because of its adaptability. An easy way to create your template is to combine a spreadsheet that contains all the details of a trade along with annotated screenshots of charts. When you separate the different topics, you can easily and quickly discern anything that might influence the results and trades of each day. With a template, it becomes easier to keep a detailed trading journal while working with your trades.

Trading is a fast-paced environment, which means that you can easily lose focus. This could spell the difference between making a trade at the right time or missing a golden opportunity. One way to keep track of relevant information while trading is by taking screenshots of charts while trading and writing notes on your screenshots.

Having annotated charts helps you write significant information in your journal spreadsheet. Another good idea is to store the charts in a folder on your computer. You can then open them when you need them for your evaluation process. When creating your spreadsheet template, include the following items:

  • Date when the trade opened.
  • Date when the trade closed.
  • Stock, futures, or currency pair contract.
  • Direction of the trading bet.
  • Position size.
  • Entry price.
  • Profit target.
  • Stop loss.
  • Exit price.
  • Risk and reward ratio.
  • Win or loss.
  • Profit percentage and size.
  • Loss percentage and size.
  • Signal
  • Comments on errors and emotions.

Load your spreadsheet before you begin trading to help provide background information and context for the trade. Mark with a text note or a line through the chart, when you start and end your trade. Write down any notes of changes in the market conditions or mistakes that you make while trading.

Make it a habit of jotting down all the details of your trades on your template right after the trade, while you still remember everything. This way, you won’t have to remember your reasons for taking the trade later on. Also, make sure to focus on your journal after placing your take-profit and stop-loss.

It’s also important to summarize the trade using your own words. Do this either on an image of a chart or in one of the sections of your trading journal that’s dedicated to jotting down significant information. Another important thing to remember is whether the trade went well or not, and why. After finishing the trade, write down all relevant details like how many trades you’ve made, whether you’ve made any losses or profits, and anything you should do differently in the future.

Finally, you have to compile all of your trades and analyze them. After a specific amount of time has passed – like a couple of months – you will have sufficient data to compile and analyze. Always remember that a trade journal doesn’t have to be too complex. You should tailor it to your specific goals and trading styles. You can get a good head-start in creating your journal template by using a spreadsheet. You can use a template and build on it to keep track of your trading performance.