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Trading Strategy

7 Best Stock Trading Journals for 2024

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Written by Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Fact-checked by Steven Hatzakis
Edited by Carolyn Kimball

March 26, 2024

Trading journals are among the most underutilized tools by beginner stock traders. Journals keep traders honest with themselves about their performance and make it easier to spot strengths and weaknesses. It’ll also make you think more before each trade. I bet almost every trading coach will encourage, if not outright demand, his or her students keep up-to-date detailed journals.

In this guide, I’m going to break down the best trading journal apps available today for analyzing stocks, options, futures, forex, and cryptocurrency trades. I'll also break down what’s most important to note in your journal.

Before I list my top picks, let’s talk about cost. Some of these journals have every bell and whistle their developers could think of, and to my mind that isn’t really necessary. Don’t pay for features you won’t use. If you’re trading casually, I think that most of the benefits from journaling come from entering all your trades, categorizing them by why you placed them, and analyzing your long-term performance.

Prices listed don’t include any promotions and most, if not all, of the paid journals offer some kind of trial or deal, such as discounted rates for an annual subscription.

Best Trading Journals for 2024

  • TradesViz - Best overall
  • Stonk Journal - Best free journal
  • TraderSync
    - Excellent for individual traders
  • Tradervue
    - Automated chart screenshots
  • Trademetria
    - Simple design
  • Chartlog - Easy to use
  • Edgewonk - Unique ‘missed trades’ feature
5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

Best overall

TradesViz is the best value for power users, and even the free tier allows stock-only traders to import up to 3,000 executions a month. The lowest premium tier is only $14.99 a month and supports 10 accounts. There are plenty of performance chart options and the documentation is top-notch.

Stonk Journal
5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

Best free journal

Stonk Journal is free (donations are accepted), attractive, and a great tool for beginning traders. Trade importing isn’t supported, but manually entered trades can include setups, target prices, stop-losses, notes, and confidence levels.

5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

Excellent for individual traders

TraderSync has a crisp design and can import trades from over 240 brokers. It’s an excellent choice for casual traders who use several brokers and trade several instruments. A free account that doesn’t allow importing trades is available by chat request.

Visit Site

Get an extra 15% discount today.

4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Automated chart screenshots

Tradervue isn’t the easiest to use, but it’s got a great feature: It automatically generates charts around entry and exit points, sparing you from having to take screenshots while navigating rapidly moving markets.

Visit Site

The trading journal for professional traders.

4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Simple design

Trademetria’s default view is basic but easily customizable with reports and widgets. The premium pricing is reasonable and allows importing of up to 500 trades a month; beyond that, you’ll need the Pro plan.

Visit Site

Get an extra 10% discount today!

4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Easy to use

While there aren't as many features as on competitor TraderSync, Chartlog’s crisp user interface and ease of use make it a viable option for active traders, provided you only want to import stock, ETFs, and options trades.

4/5 Stars 4.0 Overall

Unique ‘missed trades’ feature

Edgewonk offers rich customization possibilities once you enter detailed notes and tags for each trade and a backtesting tool. But broker import support is light for U.S.-based casual stock traders, focusing more on forex brokers and platforms.

1. TradesViz - Best overall

TradesViz is the best value for power users, and even the free tier allows stock-only traders to import up to 3,000 stock executions a month. I’m a pretty active trader, but if I traded that often, I’d be left a quivering heap of mush on the floor at the end of every trading session. The lowest premium tier is only $14.99 a month and supports 10 accounts trading stock, stock options, futures, options on futures, forex, crypto, and CFDs. There are plenty of performance chart options and if you still aren’t getting quite what you want, the premium tiers include AI queries. The documentation is top-notch.

  • Supports: Stocks, stock options, futures options, index options, forex, futures, crypto, CFDs
  • Pricing: Free tier/$19.99 or $29.99 per month
  • Mobile apps: No
TradesViz - Best Stock Trading Journals.

2. Stonk Journal — Best free journal

Don’t skip this site because of its meme stock name. It’s free (donations are gratefully accepted), attractive, and a great tool for beginning traders. Though trade importing isn’t supported, manually entered trades can include setups, target prices, stop-losses, notes, and confidence levels. Users can also attach screenshots. I was impressed enough to donate $15.

  • Supports: Stonks… err, stocks, options, forex, futures, crypto
  • Pricing: Donation supported
  • Mobile apps: No
Stonk Journal - Best Stock Trading Journals

3. TraderSync – Excellent for individual traders

TraderSync has a crisp design and can import trades from a long list of over 700 brokers. I like the layout of its dashboard. It’s an excellent choice for casual traders who use several brokers and trade several instruments. There is a free account available by chat request that doesn’t allow importing trades.

The premium tiers are expensive when compared to other options, but their Elite plan ($79.95/month) has an excellent paper stock trading simulator that allows you to practice trading against historical market data and assess your trading chops without risking real money. I found order entry a snap and I loved the excellent menu of chart studies.

  • Supports: Stocks, options, futures, forex, cryptocurrency
  • Pricing: Free (unlimited trades, manual entry), Pro ($29.95/mo), Premium ($49.95/mo), Elite ($79.95/mo)
  • Mobile apps: iOS, Android
TraderSync - Best Stock Trading Journals

4. Tradervue – Automated chart screenshots

Tradervue was one of the very first trading journals to come online, back in 2011. It isn’t the easiest to use and importing trades from some popular retail brokers might require creating and uploading CSV files. There’s better support for brokers that are popular with rapid-fire traders.

It does have one feature that really grabbed me: Tradervue automatically generates charts around entry and exit points, which spares users from the need to take screenshots while navigating rapidly moving markets. Did you notch a massive win? You can share that chart on their community page and reel in some serious trader cred. That alone might be worth the price of admission.

  • Supports: Stocks, options, futures, forex
  • Pricing: Free (30 stock trades/month), Silver ($29/mo), Gold ($49/mo)
  • Mobile apps: No
Tradervue - Best Stock Trading Journals

5. Trademetria – Simple design

Trademetria's default view starts off basic, but I found it easy to customize my dashboard with reports and widgets, such as an economic calendar and a scrolling ticker. That’s a bit gimmicky, since if you’re thinking about using a trading journal, you probably are using a broker that has those already.

The premium pricing is reasonable (see below). The free tier allows importing of up to 30 trades a month; the Basic plan goes up to 500.

  • Supports: Stocks, options, forex, futures, cryptocurrency, and CFDs (contracts for difference)
  • Pricing: Free, Basic ($29.95/mo), Pro ($39.95/mo)
  • Mobile apps: No
Trademetria - Best Stock Trading Journals

6. Chartlog – Easy to use

Built for active traders, Chartlog 's starting "Lite" plan ($14.99/month) provides unlimited trade uploads, accounts (30-day history limit), and dynamic charts, while the Pro plan brings in strategy analysis, insights, pre/post-market data, and a few other premium features. Chartlog currently only supports a handful of big-name brokers and trading platforms such as Interactive Brokers, TradeStation, and Webull. Dozens more broker integrations are “coming soon,” something I noted last year. Chartlog can also automatically sync with a couple of brokers, which makes journaling a breeze. While there aren't as many features as on TraderSync, the crisp user interface and ease of use make Chartlog a viable option, provided you only want to import stock, ETFs, and options trades.

  • Supports: Stocks, ETFs, options
  • Pricing: Lite ($14.99/mo), Standard ($29.99/mo), Pro ($39.99/mo)
  • Mobile apps: No
Chartlog - Best Stock Trading Journals

7. Edgewonk – Unique ‘missed trades’ feature

Edgewonk offers a pretty deep analysis of your trades. There are rich customization possibilities once you enter detailed notes and tags for each trade and a backtesting tool. Unfortunately, the broker import support is light for U.S.-based casual stock traders and is instead focused primarily on a handful of popular forex brokers and platforms like MetaTrader4 (MT4). Multicurrency traders will appreciate profits and losses calculated in both the foreign and the home currency.

Edgewonk has two unique features. It has a return forecaster that uses past performance data to project future account performance, and it allows you to note the trades you didn’t make, which will either make you a much better trader or make you develop insomnia. My guess is both.

  • Supports: Stocks, forex, futures, CFDs
  • Pricing: $169/year (14 day trial period)
  • Mobile apps: No
Edgewonk - Best Stock Trading Journals

Bonus pick: Build your own trading journal using Excel

Online trading journals are convenient because they have most of the features traders could ever want. But, if you’re comfortable with Excel, you can easily create a trading journal of your own.

To get you started, here’s a free trading journal excel spreadsheet template to use, which includes all of the basics alongside a handful of advanced data points. If you have a great spreadsheet template that you’d like to share with readers of the site, please email me!

  • Supports: Anything and everything
  • Pricing: Free with Microsoft Excel 🙂

What is a trading journal?

A trading journal is a running log that notes what you traded, when you traded, why you traded, and how much money you made or lost on each trade. Over time, a journal will reveal your trading strengths and weaknesses. Online journal apps aren’t mandatory, but they can automate most of the process and provide unique insights you might not come up with on your own.

Trading journals are for post-trade analysis

Reviewing the film is a critical part of professional sports, and investing is no different. Taking a screenshot of the stock chart after the trade is completed, plotting buy and sell points, writing down your notes recapping the trade, and tweaking trade rules thereafter all fall under the post-trade analysis.

Trading journals provide you with an easy way to figure out what went right and what went wrong, and look back at your trade history. There is simply no better way to improve over time. Technical analysts have been using stock trading journals for decades.

Steps to journaling a trade

If you take the time to conduct post-trade analysis, you can improve your success rate and ultimately make more money from your investing.

  1. Log the trade details - This includes the ticker symbol, trade date, buy price $, total shares, sell price $, return $, return % (at a minimum). Other great data points to track include stop price, risk, and commission spend, if you’re paying commissions.
  2. Download a stock chart and mark it up - Mark it up with your buy and sell points alongside any trendlines, support, resistance, etc. Then, mark this chart with the trade info and archive it. Some trading journals allow you to save screenshots with your trade. That’s great if you take the time to do it.
  3. Write your trade notes - Either on the chart itself, in your Excel journal, or on paper, write down what you did right and wrong and recap the reasoning behind the trade.
  4. Reflect back on trade data, chart, notes - This is the true "reviewing the film" exercise; identify potential bad habits, make rule tweaks, identify areas for improvement, and overall set the focus for the next trade.
  5. Archive for later use - Once you have reviewed the trade from start to finish and gone through the motions of a proper recap, save your trading journal entry.

Why you should tag all of your trades

Tagging your trades means marking the strategy you used to make the trade. By tagging each trade, you can assess performance over time and identify whether or not the strategy you are using is successful.

Any good trading journal will allow you to filter performance by tag to view your biggest winners and losers. By looking back every so often, you can identify areas of improvement and tweak your trade rules for that strategy.

How to use your trading journal to build strategies

Here are a few tips for success that I’ve learned over the years:

  • Have clear rules for each strategy - Consider having preset profit targets, objectives and position management rules, and make sure to tag each trade!
  • Use numerical identifiers - Start your seed strategy with "1.0" and refresh the tags each time you adjust your rules so you can accurately track performance. You can progress to "1.1" or "2.0", etc. You'll be amazed when you compare the trades and performance of each iteration.
  • Challenge yourself to improve across the board - Don't just analyze the net return of each strategy iteration. Look also at mistake %, time committed overall, trade frequency, and your overall emotions to assess true success. For example, day trading requires far more trades, time, and stress than buying and holding long.

In his book Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom, Van Tharp advocates finding the right strategy for you. The more you test different strategies and learn about yourself, the more successful you will be over time. For me, day trading just isn't the right fit.

Are trading journals free?

Some apps offer free versions with restricted feature sets. If you are just getting started trading and you don’t need to bulk upload a long account history, consider trying the free version. Most beginning traders will be content with the relatively inexpensive “light” versions and, as said before, you can always create your own, too.

Are trade journals effective?

Yes, trading journals can be very effective. They force me to think through why I am entering and exiting positions and they eliminate excuses. The challenge, however, is keeping them up to date. It’s sort of like dieting and keeping a calorie count. When I’m making money, keeping a journal is a pleasure. When I’m losing on what seems like every trade, my journal will let me know loud and clear.

Maintaining a successful trading journal

What variables do successful traders use when logging trades in their trading journal? Here are 11 to always include:

  1. Stop Price $ - The Stop Loss price ($) which can be a physical stop loss order or a mental stop. Cutting your losses short is one of many crucial keys to successful investing.
  2. Strategy - Always tag each trade with the strategy used.
  3. Risk $ - This is the amount of capital being risked on the trade. So, if you buy 100 shares at $100, and your Stop is at $99, then you are effectively risking $100 on the trade. Risk can also be expressed as an "R" multiple (Van Tharp principle), and is a concept that has truly changed the way I approach trading.
  4. Risk % - The percent of capital risked on the trade. Referencing the previous example, the total risk would be 1% ($10,000 invested / $100 being risked).
  5. Target Price $ - Back to our example of buying long at $100, if we set our target price at $110, that means our goal is to hold the stock until it reaches at least $110. Once we reach our initial target price, we can check back in and consider trimming our position to take some profits, sell the entire position, or hold the position and set a new, higher price target.
  6. Return $ - The number everyone loves to see, which hopefully is a profit and not a loss. If our 100 shares of stock we bought at $100 reaches our $110 target price and we sell our full position to lock in profits, then we would realize a return of +$1,000 ($10 per share x 100 shares).
  7. Return % - The dollar return converted into a percentage. Sticking with our example, selling at $110 would yield a +10% return ($1,000 / $10,000).
  8. Return "R" - Applying R multiples, we convert the Return $ into "R". Using this same example, if we had risked $100 (1R), and made $1,000, then our return would be +10R.
  9. Mistake? - Did you make a mistake or break a rule with this trade? If yes, then you mark the trade as a mistake. Mistake tracking is one of the more underused, yet very powerful variables. By logging mistakes, you force yourself to replay the trade in your mind and reflect back on what went right and/or wrong.
  10. Notes - Not necessarily a variable, but writing notes when reflecting on the trade is important to help you learn from each trade. What went right, what didn't, what you were thinking when buying, selling, and so on are all examples of what can be journaled.
  11. Risk/Reward Ratio - The risk-reward ratio measures how much your potential reward is for each dollar you risk on the trade. Using the same long 100 shares at $100 trade example, with $99 as our stop and $110 as our target, our risk/reward ratio would be 1:10. As long as the trade works out at least once every 10 tries, we will still make money (excluding trade costs).

What is the appeal of day trading?

Let’s be clear: It’s tough to make money trading. You need to be disciplined enough to take losses, often several in a day and even several in a row. Losing days are common. If I’m lucky, my weekly trade journal will show three good days and two, well, not good days.

Every day, I start at zero. There’s no trading with the house’s money. I’m either making money or I’m burning it.

If you’re looking for the chance to get rich quickly, day trading provides that opportunity. But, if you actually want to get rich, you’re far more likely to do so by following three principles:

  • Save more than you spend.
  • Invest for the long term in a diversified, low cost portfolio.
  • Aim to have your money to work for you, rather than vice versa.

So, then, why day trade?

It’s challenging and it’s fun. It’s you versus everyone else. I like trading because the markets are an endless stream of innovation, human emotions (especially fear and greed), and crowd behavior.

I believe that markets might look random, but are anything but. I enjoy trying to figure them out while learning something about myself in the process. Oh, yeah, and I also like the immediate gratification of quickly being proved right or wrong.

Bottom line

Regardless of whether you build your own trading journal or use one of the services recommended above, there are endless ways you can go about conducting post-trade analysis.

What matters most is that you take the time to use and maintain a trading journal. Without one, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

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About the Editorial Team

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Sam Levine is a writer, investor and educator with nearly three decades of experience in the investing industry. His specialty is making even the most complicated investing concepts easy to understand for beginning and intermediate investors. He holds two of the most widely recognized certifications in the investment management industry, the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis has led research at Reink Media Group since 2016 and brings over 20 years of experience with the online brokerage industry. Steven has served as a registered commodity futures representative for domestic and internationally regulated brokerages and holds a Series III license in the US as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA).

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is Managing Editor for Reink Media Group and the lead editor for content on Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

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