My Free Trading Journal (Excel Spreadsheet)
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Trading journal spreadsheet download
I've had quite a few requests for a copy of the spreadsheet I use for my trading journal. I've made it available here; please feel free to download a copy if you're interested. It's not the most elegant spreadsheet, perhaps, but it does what I need.
Why are trading journals important?
A trading journal will help you develop a trading style that fits your personality and beliefs about the market. Anyone who has ever kept a personal diary knows the value of being able to reflect on the past and learning from it. A trading journal performs the same function. You’ll start to spot what’s working and, even more importantly, avoid making the same mistake time after time.
Trading journal template tips
I’ve kept this simple. Each trade gets its own row. If you scale into or out of a position, each lot gets its own line. I’ve color-keyed each cell to show what you need to enter and what is calculated for you.
If you’re an Excel wonk, you can go bananas calculating the most obscure ratios and making distant forecasts about how much your portfolio might be worth in ten years. That’s fun, but always remember that the biggest benefits of a journal will be found in three columns: the profit or loss on each trade, why you did it, and what you learned from that trade.
Every trade gets an entry in your journal, and it gets entered as quickly as possible after each trade. It’s best to keep your journal current; otherwise you might build up a backlog of trades and it’ll be a struggle to remember why you entered or exited each one.
Read my guide to the Best Trading Journals for tips on how to successfully maintain your journal.
Here are some details about the column and row headers on the spreadsheet. The orange boxes need your inputs. The gray boxes are calculated for you:
- Trade #: This is simply a counter. Every round trip gets its own line.
- Entry date: The date you opened the position.
- Ticker: This is just a text box. You can use any identifier you want to help you remember what you traded. I use stock tickers.
- Quantity: If you’re buying, use a positive number. If you’re shorting a stock, use a negative.
- Entry $$: Enter in the total cost or total proceeds from the opening position.
- Exit date: Enter in the date you closed the position.
- Exit $$: Enter in the total proceeds or total cost when you exit the position.
- Profit/loss: Profit and loss is calculated for you.
- Days: The number of days in the trade is also calculated for you.
- Protective stop: Enter in any stop you put in to protect your position. If you don’t enter in a stop, enter where you plan to exit if the trade isn’t working.
- Target: Enter in your price target when you opened the position.
- Reward to risk: This is the ratio of how much you expect to make vs. how much you are willing to lose.
- Strategy: Add some text that describes why you entered the trade.
- Conviction: Write how confident you were in the trade when you entered it.
- Comment: This could be anything: current market conditions, what you did right, what you could have done better.
- Win/loss: This is just an indicator whether you made a profit or not.
- Lesson learned: What did this trade teach you?
Note: If you scale in or out, break the trades down into single lines. For example, if you buy one large position but scale out with three sells, break the purchase into three lines with the same date and cost basis.
Trading metrics box
At the top of the spreadsheet you’ll find the trading metrics box. It’s a dashboard for your trading performance and habits. Those numbers won’t even begin to be meaningful until you’ve made a few dozen trades. Many traders have fallen into the trap of thinking themselves smart when they were just lucky and, likewise, sometimes you do everything right but the markets just move against you. The longer your trading history, the better your conclusions will become.
Best trading journals
If you don’t want to use Excel or want more advanced analyses on your trading, top-rated TraderSync is convenient, attractive and insightful. We also tested Tradervue, Trademetria, Chartlog, and Edgewonk. See our full guide to trading journals here.
How is Excel used in trading?
Microsoft Excel is very popular among traders. Excel novices can use it to track their trades in a trading journals, while Excel power users might use it to help evaluate and manage risk, sort through market data for trading ideas, or create their own charts.
What should a trading journal look like?
At an absolute minimum, a trade journal should include these elements:
- The date the trade was initiated.
- What was traded.
- The size of the position.
- When the trade was closed.
- The amount of profit or loss, and
- A reason or comment for each trade.
Have ideas for how I can improve the spreadsheet? Email me!
Explore our other online trading guides:
- 5 Best Online Stockbrokers
- 6 Best Trading Journals and How to Journal Successfully
- 20 Best Stock Trading Books
- 6 Best Free Stock Chart Websites
- 10 Great Ways to Learn Stock Trading
- How to Read Stock Charts
- 7 Best Free Stock Screeners
- Why Day Trading is a Loser's Game
- How to Invest (Beginner's Guide)