Looking for a trading journal template to take your trading to the next level? You're in luck! Here, we'll walk through how to use this simple but detailed trading journal template.

Access the trading journal template for free by clicking the link below. You'll be prompted to make a copy of the Google Sheet - this is what you want.

Having trouble? See instructions below!

If you love saving time, you can import, track and analyze trades using one of these top trading journals.

The data analysis in this template mimics what you'll find in Tradervue.  So it won't be tough to transition over if/when you're ready to let their software do all the heavy lifting.

There are two journaling methods I'll review in this post:

Trading Journal Template Excel / Google Sheets

This trading template uses manual trade entry and formulas to track your trades. It then provides basic analysis. For each trade it calculates:

  • Profit or loss
  • R:R
  • Position MFE
  • Position MAE
  • Position Efficiency to MFE
  • Trade duration

On the analysis tab, you can see these calculations for every strategy and every tag:

  • Win rate %
  • Loss rate %
  • Breakeven %
  • Total commission
  • Total profit or loss
  • Total risk
  • R:R
  • Average winning trade
  • Average losing trade
  • Average hold time for winning trades
  • Average hold time for losing trades
  • Efficiency to MFE
  • Average efficiency to MFE
  • Average position MFE
  • Average position MAE

You get to choose your own strategies to track, with whatever labels you want. For tags, you get four columns, each with a set of tags. You can use the pre-filled ones and/or customize your own.

To start, get my trading journal template for Excel or Google Sheets(no email required). 

1) Download the Trading Journal Template

Download the template. Dropbox may prompt you to create an account or sign in, but you can close that, you don't have to sign into anything.

1) Click File, then click Download. The file may start downloading, but more likely than not, you'll get the next screen.

1.2) Then click "Or continue with download only". They really want you to sign up for Dropbox, but just ignore them, at least right now. Keep your eye on the prize - starting your trading journal.

screenshot of Dropbox 3rd download page for trading journal template for excel

If this worked, skip ahead here.

Alternatively, you may encounter a screen like this.

1) In that case you should Decline (or accept, doesn't matter for this) cookies, and click "Skip" on this dialog box.

screenshot of Dropbox download page for trading journal template for excel

1.1) Then click "Download"

screenshot of Dropbox 2nd download page for trading journal template for excel

1.2) Then click "Or continue with download only". They really want you to sign up for Dropbox, but just ignore them, at least right now. Keep your eye on the prize - starting your trading journal.

screenshot of Dropbox 3rd download page for trading journal template for excel

1.3) Then choose the folder you want to save your journal file in, and hit save. 

Now you can go to that folder to find the file and open it!

Important note: Although it's your file, you still need to be careful not to edit parts that shouldn't stay untouched. If you try, you'll get a warning and be asked for a password - just hit cancel. That way you don't accidentally break any of the formulas in the template. Breaking those would have a domino effect and be hard to troubleshoot.

2) Check Out the Analysis Tab

Click the 'Analysis' tab at the bottom. Spend a moment playing with the sample data analysis.

screenshot of excel showing how to find the tables and pie charts for the trading journal template

Take a few minutes to see how the results change when you filter by setup or filter by tag. To do that:

  1. Hover over the "Setup B" cell highlighted in bright green.
  2. Click the downward pointing triangle to see the options.
  3. Choose a different strategy (A or C) and see the data change to match.

You can then try the same with the 'Tags' data box also. Use the cell showing "Final 90 minutes" highlighted bright green.

You can customize those later if you want. For now just try selecting different options to see the results change.

Keep in mind: If you ever see formula errors in this space or other parts of the worksheets, you may have accidentally changed something. 

3) View Sample Trade Data

Now click the 'Trades' tab next to the 'Analysis' tab at the bottom. That will take you to the trade entry sheet

screenshot showing how to view trade data worksheet in the trading journal excel template

Make note of how the trade data looks. Every datapoint to the right of the 'Closed?' column is calculated by formulas. Everything to the left of it is manual trade info. You're about to delete some of it so you can start adding your own.

4) Erase Sample Trade Data

Now highlight and delete the sample data. Click cell S6, hold the shift key, and click cell B16. Then hit the delete key. 

screenshot showing how to delete the sample data to customize the trading journal template

This will clear out all the data. It will also clear out all the data that is formula-driven. Don't panic! That's supposed to happen. The formulas are still there, they're just written to be blank if they don't have the data.

screenshot showing trading journal excel template after sample data is cleared

5) Customize Trade Setups and Trade Tags

Before you start entering your data, customize your trade setup and tags menus. This is done through the Data Validation tool.

screenshot of how to edit the trade setup options for trading journal template

Data validation tools vary between spreadsheet software, so yours may look different from this (shown in Google Sheets)

For trade setups, go to the data validation menu for cell F6. You can see where I have it set as 'SetupA,Setup B,Setup C'.

You can do more than three if you need, or you can do less than three. You can name them whatever you want. Each setup label needs to be separated by a comma, just as they are now. 

Screenshot of data validation window for setting the trade setup options in trading journal template in google sheets

Save it for the column:

  1. Once you have entered all your setup names separated by commas, hit 'Save'.
  2. Use the cursor to hover over the bottom right corner of cell F6 until the mouse cursor becomes a plus sign.
  3. Click, and drag down the sheet as far as you would like. You can always drag it further down later.

Then, scroll to the right until you get to columns AB through AE, where you see the column headers for tags.

Screenshot of going to data validation for trade tag columns on trading journal template in google sheets

You'll edit these the same way you edited them for the trade setup labels.


Brainstorm the tags you might like to analyze, and group them into sets. Avoid having overlap between sets. That way, only one tag from each set will apply to each trade, as much as possible.

There's more information about tags and why they're helpful further down this page. If you're new to that concept, I recommend reading all of that before choosing your tags.

You can have as many tags in each set as you want, but keep it as simple as you can.

When you're done with each, don't forget to drag them down as you did the others. Alternatively, you can set data validation for the whole column. To do that, right-click on the column label ('AI', for example) and go to data validation there. But you'll have to go back and 'remove validation' for cells AI1-AI5, and so on, if you do it that way.

6) Enter Your Trade Data

Start entering your own trade data in columns B through W.

Screenshot of entering trade data into trading journal template in excel

Now that your setup labels and tags are customized, it's time to put in your trades.

Fill each cell. Use the format specified in the column header for dates and times. You'll see the other fields show calculated data once you have trades fully entered.

A note on "imports": I don't recommend editing this spreadsheet, but if you're good with excel you might be able to copy-paste some of this trade data. Make sure after you export from your broker, you get the columns and date/time formats correct.

7) Daily Trading Journal Template Use

Enter all your trades every day. Enter them after each trade, if time allows.

screenshot of trading journal template full of trades


Analysis without paralysis.

screenshot of excel showing how to find the tables and pie charts for the trading journal template

Once you have a solid set of data, make a regular habit of spending some time on the 'Analysis' tab of the journal. See if there are any patterns that show up. 

You're looking for clues to things that could improve your trading if you made changes. Finding a clue doesn't mean you need to change something, but it's a reason to investigate. 

In sections below, this article talks more about the reasons and what you might look for.

How much is enough data? The more data you build up, the more accurate your analysis will be. You need at least a 30-trade sample for statistical significance. In other words, you shouldn't draw conclusions from less than that.

Likewise, you want to have 30 trades per setup, or per tag, before you start drawing conclusions for those. Although, drastic patterns seen early on may hold true through time.

Be objective, don't jump to conclusions and change your strategies on a whim. Treat observations like clues in the scientific process.

  1. Observe
  2. Question
  3. Make a hypothesis or theory
  4. Research and experiment (back-test and forward test) to prove or disprove your theory.

Benefits of Using This Template

  • The heavy work of creating a trading journal template is done for you. The complex formulas do the work to make your trade data useful, all you need is to plug in your trades.
  • Trade analysis is as automated and user-friendly as it can get with Excel or Google sheets
  • More powerful analysis than other available spreadsheets. Built by a professional trader for traders who want to make a living at it.
  • It's free and saves you the headache of making your own. The formulas can take a lot of time, and that's already done.

Drawbacks of This Trading Journal Template

  • Manual trade entry takes more time than export/import. You have to type in your trade info after every trade, or every day. You also have to be careful not to make typos and errors. All Excel templates have the same limitation, but programs like Tradervue save you time and frustration here.
  • Spreasheets lack some of the analytical benefits of a robust online trading journal platform
    • Analyzing trades that meet a combination of criteria as one set of trades. i.e: Analyze all trades that meet these criteria:  Account 1, setup B, Tags A, D, F
    • Automatic charting of trades using market data
    • More extensive sets of graphs and charts for each variable

Trade Journaling Using Tradervue Web App

Note: I now recommend using Tradersync or one of these other top online trading journals.

Online trading journals like Tradervue are more popular because they're convenient and powerful. While a spreadsheet is an effective journaling tool, Tradervue can give you more powerful reporting in less time.

That includes some multi-variable reporting tools that can help you find ways to trade more profitably, in a way a spreadsheet can't.

1) Trading Journal Plan Selection

Sign up for a Tradervue account on tradervue.com. You can choose the Basic plan (no credit card required) or a 7-Day Free Trial on the Silver or Gold plan.

Screenshot of tradervue trading journal subscription choices

It's been years since I signed up, and they've updated everything recently. So, I'm creating a demo account on the Gold plan, to show you the onboarding flow.

If you want to try the Silver or Gold, you can downgrade before your trial is up without losing your data.

screenshot of trading journal plan comparison, detailed

2) Onboarding

Answer some basic questions for onboarding. 

screenshot of trading journal onboarding

They'll reach out to you later to try and help you get the most out of it based on where you're at:

screenshot of trading journal onboarding survey

3) Import Trades

Import your trades. It's quick and relatively easy, with clear instructions.

screenshot of tradervue welcome page

There is an explainer video if you want to watch that, or you can click the "Import Trades" button which is at the top of every page. That button takes you to the import page:

screenshot of trading journal trade import screen

Trade Import Instructions:

  1. Select your broker (almost all are available). If your broker isn't on the list, select generic import.
  2. Tradervue will show you instructions specific to that broker for export/import. Follow those instructions.
  3. If you want to import trades from several accounts and filter reports by account:
    1. Click "Use an account tag for this import".
    2. Type in an account tag.
    3. Check the box for "Require account tag for every import".
    4. Click "Add".
  4. Choose file to upload (CSV file), OR copy-paste trades into the field below that. Hit 'Upload'.

Wait for your import to finish. It normally doesn't take more than 1-2 seconds for 500 trade executions.

screenshot of successful trading journal import on tradervue

At the top, you'll see the option to 'refresh'. Hit that after a couple seconds. You won't break anything if it's not done, it will just show you how many executions have been imported. When it's done it will say something like "500 out of 500 executions imported."

In this case, it imported two days of scalps from several accounts, all in under a second.

4) Trading Reports

Check out the reports section. I'll show a handful of the reports here, but you can nerd out on these for as long as you want (especially on the Silver or Gold plan)

The reports default screen shows this overview (there's more if you scroll down. You also see tabs for 'Detailed', 'Win vs Loss Days', 'Drawdown', 'Compare', 'Tag Breakdown', and Advanced.

screenshot of trading journal overview report in tradervue

Click through the reports and check out all the variables by which you can filter. Unfortunately, this level of custom reporting would be next to impossible in a spreadsheet.

Detailed reports tab: This includes all the stats tracked in the spreadsheet template, and more.

screenshot of detailed trading journal analysis report in tradervue

Under the 'detailed' reports tab, you can filter trades by several variables. There is more on each of these, too much for a screenshot.

This one shows trades analyzed by days and times:

screenshot of trading journal analysis by time in tradervue

This report analyzes trades in context of the market behavior and allows you to choose a comparison instrument. You can see I chose QQQ (Nasdaq ETF) since these are NQ trades.

screenshot of trading journal analysis by market behavior in tradervue

Win/loss and expectation graphs

screenshot of trading journal trade expectation report in tradervue

There are more reports to go through than I can post here, so spend some time playing with them and see what you think. It's been pretty helpful for me to see these reports, I think you'll agree.

Before you get too far along, you might want to start tagging trades. At the very least, start with tagging your trades with their setups so you have better data to work with.

5) Trading Tags & Notes

Tag your trades and add notes. The more concise information you include, the better.

From the left menu, go to the 'Trades' screen. Find a trade to tag and click 'details' on the far right. That will take you to the individual trade, where you can add tags and add notes. They also offer a template for your notes here.

Screenshot of individual trade page in tradervue trading journal

If you want to tag trades in bulk, you can go back to the trades page and do that there:

screenshot of bulk tagging trades in Tradervue trading journal

With all this, you are well on your way to some powerful trade tracking.

You can also adjust things like time zone, commission rates, default initial risk, and other preferences. To do that, click the settings wheel at the top right.

Benefits of Using Tradervue Trading Journal

  • Trade importing by file upload or copy-paste is a lifesaver. It saves you a ton of time, and you avoid errors like typos that can mess up the results in your journal and reports.
  • Powerful and extensive reporting options give you a view of your trading that isn't possible with spreadsheets. Analyze by multiple variables at the same time and see dozens of reports for each. This gives you more opportunities to spot patterns that can lead to improvement.
  • Quickly and easily filter, search, and sort everything from trades to journal notes.
  • No need to worry about messing up a formula or making some other error that will break your journal reporting.
  • If you have a question, support by chat and email can help, compared to a spreadsheet, where if it gets messed up you're on your own.

Drawbacks of Using Tradervue

  • Like all cloud-based software, it isn't available offline, which usually isn't an issue. You're never trading without an internet connection. Most people don't do research or reporting without internet either..
  • The free Basic plan limits you to 30 trades per month and basic reporting. So most traders will want to sign up for a Silver or Gold plan to have unlimited imports and advanced reporting.

The powerful reports and customization in Tradervue help you work to improve your trading each day. Get started with Tradervue for free today.

Why Use a Trading Journal Template?

Why Should I Spend Time on a Trading Journal?

Even if you remember every trade in vivid detail, you still need to journal your trades. The time you spend on it has a high Return on Investment.

Trading Journals Can Help You Maximize Potential Profits

I joined my first prop firm in 2007. The 2008-09 financial crisis and market crash came soon after.

I had never seen anything like it. Suddenly I realized I hadn't even known what a selloff 

I made money, I lost money, made more. I took notes on all of it. 

In 2019, after the longest bull run in decades, valuations were high. The market was stretched.

Mid-2019 I started reviewing my notes from 2007. I noticed things that were similar, some that weren't. I started looking for certain patterns to arise.

I got ready for the possibility of a volatile market and the rare violent selloff that could come if some catalyst came along.

I didn't predict a pandemic, obviously. But I was thinking ahead, because I'd seen this before and had the notes to help me.

In 2020, I started to see more familiar signs, as COVID-19 in China started getting more coverage worldwide.

As you recall, governments then began taking action that would change the economic picture, and markets reacted.

I was surrounded by two types of traders:

  1. Those like me who had traded 2008-10 and had notes
  2. Those who had traded it but didn't have notes
  3. Those who hadn't traded it.

The traders in the first group knew what to do and adapted to the situation. They made great money. It still took some adjustment, but they had their own past insights to guide their trading.

The second two types of traders didn't do very well. Some of them didn't even trade much, it was too scary for them. They weren't prepared to look for different setups.

I did, it was all in my notes. Why is that so powerful?

In 2008-09, I had made money, but not a ton. It was tough. I didn't catch much profit short on the way down. But I learned and took notes.

In 2020, that enabled me to take advantage of the situation with confidence - and more size.

The first time you trade through a certain "type of market" you might have the same difficulty. When you see it a second time, it's like seeing an old friend:

  • You can trade it with confidence based in experience
  • You can trade your normal size because of confidence in the familiar setups.
  • If you've grown in that time, your size should be bigger than it was the first time.
    • This is how journaling your trades when your size is small can make you tens of thousands, or even millions, later. 

Maybe you don't want to trade for 12 years - but if you're serious, why wouldn't you? Maybe it's hard to even think about that much time, but your future self will thank you.

This can play out in less extreme ways over shorter timeframes, too. A great example has been notes taken on FOMC or CPI release days in 2022:

  • There are common patterns that repeat themselves. i.e., the bi-directional stop-run right when the FOMC rate decision is announced
  • These are outlier days, ranges are bigger and it's easier to make/lose more quickly.
  • If you're not learning from each of these outlier catalyst days and making notes of it, you're robbing your future self of profits.

Trade Journaling Works Like Compound Interest

  • You add gradually and consistently
  • You see small gains along the way
  • Years down the road the gains can start to go parabolic because you're trading more size with much more skill.

We've all seen compound interest charts. Here's one drawn by a one-eyed alien.

Why do you trade? Is your goal to have a quick spurt of profitability and then bust? Is your goal to trade for a few months and then never again?

I didn't think so.

You want to be profitable long-term. You may want to trade for a living.

Keeping a trading journal helps you do that. And the story shows, it can have a massive impact on your career.

A Trading Journal Template Helps Save You Profits

Ever heard "A penny saved is a penny earned"? 

The same is true for trading. 

  • A point saved is a point earned. 
  • Plugging a leak that regularly costs you a point here and there, adds up to many points saved over time.
    • How will you identify leaks if you're not making notes?
  • Conserving profits when conditions don't fit your style is just like making profits. Journaling helps you identify those days sooner.

This trading journal template is here to help save/earn you money.

Journaling Your Trades Helps You Grow

Successful traders learn constantly.

They constantly seek better understanding of:

  • the markets
  • themselves
  • their own trading habits.

Reviewing your trading journals helps you cement the lessons learned during the trading day. It also serves as your own personal library of trading, to come back to when you need insight.

It helps you identify strengths, weaknesses, and room for improvement. It helps you catch bad habits quickly and eliminate them.

What Should A Trading Journal Consist Of?

Your trade journal should include:

  • Qualitative info: observations about the market and your trading.
  • Quantitative info: trade data, market data.

First we'll look at the qualitative piece. What should go there?

You should note the following for each trade, as well as for each trading day.

Journal All Trading Decisions - Good and Bad

Every day, we make dozens of decisions. When we make good decisions, we need to reinforce those decisions even if the trade didn't work.

We do that in our journal, noting why it was a good decision, whether the trade worked or not.

We make bad decisions, too. We have to catch these and analyze them that same day. We have to make a plan to prevent it from happening again. 

For example, if I took an impulse trade when price hadn't reached my planned entry yet, I have to ask myself:

  • Why did you decide that?
  • What was your thought process before and during the trade?
  • What emotions did you feel leading up to it, and afterwards?
  • What triggered those thoughts and emotions? i.e. was it FOMO (fear of missing out)? Was it a revenge trade?
  • When did you know you'd made a bad decision? i.e. right away, or only when it didn't work out well?
  • How did this trade affect trades that came after it? How did it affect your day overall?
  • If you lost money, how much?
  • If you made money, slap yourself anyway.

I'm joking, don't hit yourself.

But I know that if I made money in a bad trade, I reinforced a bad decision. I was rewarded for a behavior that will lose me money long term. I'm now more likely (subconsciously) to make this bad decision again and need to be very alert to the triggers, thoughts, and emotions that lead to it. 

Make a note of those when they come up again and take a positive action, like walking away for 10 minutes, etc.

Journal Your Trading Mistakes

I journal my trading mistakes separately from bad decisions. It's an important distinction for me. For example:

Let's say I mis-click and get long at market price, when I was trying to place a bid lower. I didn't intend to get in here, I didn't decide to get in here, so this is a simple mistake.

Now, this mistake leads to a decision, though. The right decision is to follow my rule:

"When you make a mistake, correct it immediately, without hesitation or thought."

To prevent a mistake from becoming a bad decision, I exit the trade immediately and reset the order where I meant to put it.

When I journal this 'trade' I note what happened and how I might improve. It might look something like this:

  • I mis-clicked and entered a trade where I didn't mean to.
    • Frustrating. I need to be more careful. Can I change my layout to prevent this? Make those changes no later than tonight.
    • I got out immediately, followed my rule. Lost $200 but more importantly I kept my discipline - reward myself this afternoon.

  • If I had turned that mistake into a bad decision, staying in the trade against my rule, that second bullet might look like this instead:

    • I broke my rule by staying in the trade. My rule is to correct mistakes immediately.
      • Broke a rule = have to stop trading for the day.
      • I lost $800 on the trade by the time I got out, totally avoidable. 
      • rationalized staying in the trade, thinking "well, I did want to trade in this direction, I'll see how it plays out."
      • feared taking the small $200 loss I had instantly after making the mistake, and I listened to that fear instead of my discipline. Why?
        • I had missed my entry on another trade earlier and was feeling frustrated from that.

    This is all hypothetical, of course. But I've made mistakes like that, and I've made decisions like that. And I've analyzed it just like that, and that's what's important.

    To grow, you have to analyze your trading actions, thoughts, and emotions objectively. You have to plan how to correct it as quickly as possible.

    A trading journal is the perfect place to do that.

    These aren't the only types of notes you should record, they're just common examples based on common weaknesses. Other observations you can include:

    • How did you sleep the night before? Rate 1-10. Consider sizing down if below 8, not trading at all if below 6. Make note of this to see if you have a pattern you can improve.
    • How were you feeling before the session? Before/during the trade? Physically and emotionally. It's not woo woo, it matters. Trading sick or angry is a big leak for many traders and can even lead to blowups.
    • Rate your level of focus throughout the day and trading session.

    Quantitative: Track Trade Data In Your Trading Journal

    Just like the qualitative, you should track concrete data for each trade you make.

    Track Individual Trade Info

    For each trade, you should record each factor that could help you analyze the trade and/or large sets of trades. Common info to track includes:

    • Instrument
    • Entry time(s)
    • Entry price(s)
    • Entry shares
    • Long/Short
    • Entry order type (hung limit order, market order, etc.)
    • Exit time(s)
    • Exit price(s)
    • Exit shares
    • Strategy name / trade type
    • Initial risk: Dollar amount based on initial stop loss
    • Initial target: Dollar amount based on initial take-profit price.
    • Commissions in & out
    • Profit or Loss: Actual P&L amount after trade exit and commissions
    • % of Target profit / initial risk. 1-100%: If you exited without reaching your target or stop for whatever reason. 
    • Reason for early exit
    • R multiple: Profit or loss divided by initial risk amount
    • Capital: How much money or buying power was put to work in the trade
    • % P&L
    • % Change in correlated asset(s) or indices during the trade
    • MFE (Maximum Favorable Excursion): How far the trade went in your favor, at the furthest point during the whole trade
    • MAE (Maximum Adverse Excursion): How far the trade went against you, at the furthest point during the whole trade
    • Chart image (screenshot showing trade if possible)
    • Tags: Keyword(s) you can use to sort and filter trades later, other than strategy name. i.e., morning, afternoon, scalp, swing, breakeven, etc.
    • Session totals and averages of each stat
    • Time window totals and averages for each stat, if you like to track morning separately from afternoon.

    Of course, if there are other trade results or variables you like to quantify and track, you can include those as well.

    Track Long Term Trading Performance For Certain Variables

    Today's entry in your trading journal can help you tomorrow, and next week, or even years down the road. But journaling is much more powerful than that. 

    Looking only at individual days, or only at P&L, is like owning a Porsche GT and never going above 35mph. You're only getting a fraction of the value. 

    Looking for patterns in disorganized data is equally worthless. That's why I suggested you include strategy name and tags with each trade.

    This takes your shapeless blob of trade data and makes it sharp as a scalpel.

    Using an excel trading journal or a good trading journal software, you can quickly filter and analyze your trades. Look for leaks, weaknesses, strengths, adjustments to try, ideas to back-test, and more. 

    For example, most amateur traders ignore time of day, which can be a costly mistake. If they analyzed their data, they may realize that they're losing half their profits between 12pm ET and 2:30pm ET. 

    Instead, these traders push buttons all day long, and may take years to figure it out, if ever.

    Without a journal, it's easy for them to remember days of making money during that time and forget the more common days where they lost during that time.

    Other factors to track...Not an exhaustive list, just some examples among many possibilities:

    • Different strategies work better (have higher expectancy) at different times of day
    • Days with big/small ranges might be great for your strategy, or they might be a big leak
    • OPEX, big data release days, earnings periods might affect your strategies in ways you cant see until you analyze a big enough set.
    • Being sick, tired, hungry, mad at your spouse, etc. might be causing a leak
    • You might be giving back more following big winning streaks
    • Are you giving back a lot in your breakeven trades? Maybe your targets are too ambitious. Maybe your entries need work. You might be able to adjust and improve your win rate.
    • Are you taking a lot of pain on winning or breakeven trades? Maybe your entry prices could be better. Does the data support adjusting entry prices for a better win rate with less drawdown?
    • Are you getting stopped out often early in the morning? You might need to loosen stops/adjust entries in the first 30 minutes. You might also need to size down to make that work within your desired R/R (especially until you figure out the adjustments)

    Like I said, these are just examples. There are many more variables you can tag and track to find specific areas for improvement.

    If even one of those helps you improve your trading, it can be worth thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars or more over a trading career. Wouldn't you say that's worth it?

    How Do I Create A Trading Journal Template?

    1. Decide where you want to keep the journal. A PDF template? A word document? A spreadsheet? To make a useful trading journal template, the spreadsheet is the way to go. That's what makes it possible to track all the data we just discussed.
      1. Google Sheets is nice and free, or you can use Excel if you have it. WPS Office has a free desktop version as well. 
      2. You can also complement that with a notebook to jot down quick thoughts as you're trading and add them to your spreadsheet later.
    2. Decide what you want to track for each trade. For starters, you can use the trade variables mentioned above.
    3. Add formulas to track all the R values, percentages, averages, totals, etc. you want to track for each trade.
    4. Include space for written comments on each trade.
    5. Include space for pasting trading chart images in the spreadsheet if desired.
    6. Add an analysis sheet with formulas to help you organize and study your data over time.

    How Do You Write A Trading Journal?

    Regardless of what trading journal template you use, the journal is only as good as the information you put in it.

    Some traders find it best to write notes on a pad while trading and then add them to their journal template or software later.

    • Use your trading journal during the trading session, not just after the market closes. The trade will be fresh in your mind and you'll save yourself time later. 
    • Make notes on each trade before moving on to the next trade. This will also help keep you from overtrading. If your trades are frequent small scalps, do the best you can without missing setups.
    • Be straight with your journal, don't lie to yourself.
    • After the session, review each trade and fill in any missing information.
    • Plan action steps to correct whatever needs to be corrected.
    • Reward yourself for a disciplined day.
    • After you journal, do whatever prep you need to do for the next day. Then let yourself unwind and forget about the market until the next day.

    How Do You Maintain A Trading Journal In Excel?

    Using the trading journal template here, you can maintain your journal in Excel, Google Sheets, WPS Spreadsheet, or other spreadsheet software.

    Spreadsheets allows you to track endless data, but keep in mind that after tens of thousands of trades, the document may require a lot of computer resources and might slow down.

    Google sheets will save your work automatically, which is nice. If using Excel or another program, remember to save your work frequently!

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    Daniel Larsen

    Daniel created epicctrader.com to help new and experienced traders level up. He began trading in 2002, and has spent over a decade trading professionally, for prop firms and clients. When he's not at a computer, you can find him on the ocean, in a canyon, or in the mountains.