A trading journal is must-have companion for serious traders. A trading journal underpins a traders entire trading system. In this post I will explore what I believe to be the best online trading journal.
TraderSync is an online trading journal software packed with features. Including easy trade import from a huge range of brokerage firms. Comprehensive data reporting options and an intuitive user interface. Tradersync is a fantastic option for traders looking for a powerful all in one online trading journal solution.
In this post I will discuss the importance of a trading journal, what should be included in a trading journal and provide a detailed Tradersync review.
To sign up for a FREE 7 day Tradersync demo account click the link.
WHY USE A TRADING JOURNAL?
Your trading journal is the single most important tool for trading success. The following section is a summary of the reasons why it’s so important to maintain and review daily a detailed trading journal.
Trading is data heavy profession. Journals help categorize data and thoughts in a way that is easily interpreted. So that quantifiable progress can be measured.
Identify improvement areas
A trading journal is an excellent feedback mechanism. Trading journals provide us the ability to identify trading weaknesses and strengths.
Here is a list of areas in a trading system that you can keep track of:
- Trade Schedule: Build your routine based on time of day or day of week that works best for your strategy.
- Trade setups: Track setups that have good success rates
- Trade duration: Average holding time, entering/exiting trades too early/late
- Performance Metrics
- Win/loss ratio
- Risk reward ratio
- Self-reflection: Answers the critical question: did I follow the rules of my system?
Journals are also investigative tools, encouraging us to probe on what went wrong (and what went right). Common biases can be identified, understood and eliminated with a systematic approach to trade journaling.
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN A TRADING JOURNAL?
The importance of keeping a trading journal is well documented in the trading community.
What is not so well understood is that much of the effectiveness of using journals greatly depends on its completeness.
In the following section I will discuss what should be included in a trading journal.
A complete journal comprises of the following elements:
Entry Price ($)
Input the price level that a position is opened.
Exit Price ($)
This is the exact price level the trade was exited. Exit price levels are a critical data point for engineering efficient risk reward ratios.
Your target price is the level where you plan to exit a trade.
The target price is the predetermined price level based on strategy and risk reward objectives.
Stop Price ($)
Typically used in conjunction with stop orders where positions are closed when the market price of a security hits/passes the cut loss price. A stop price is always determined in advance and it is based on a trader’s risk management strategy.
Include the date and time the trade was entered. Date and time data can be used to filter for the best sessions or time of day to trade.
Part of your risk management is managing capital exposure by setting a risk % you are willing to risk per trade. Many traders use 2%, but it is subject to the level of your risk appetite.
For post-trade reflection, include the return (gain/loss) in dollar terms from the trade.
Works in conjunction with the prior component, include the trade return in percentage format.
The ratio of the possible loss (risk) and the possible gain (reward). This should be done during preparation as it is a factor in determining which prospective trades are the most attractive (risk-wise).
This ratio can be computed as the distance between the entry price and the stop loss over the distance between target price and the entry price. Ideally, the minimum ratio is 1:1 where the risk is equal to reward.
No matter how difficult reflecting on past mistakes can be, professional traders use this as an opportunity rather than a threat to self-esteem. Writing about mistakes, laying it out as specific and honest as possible, is training your mind to not repeat the same mistake. Common trading mistakes might include: Over trading, Chasing Prices, Cutting Losses too Late, Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
Some trading journals have so-called “tags.” Working similar to hashtags, tags are keywords that identify and categorize a particular trade. For example, tagging the trade “trend following,” will include the journal entry together with the trades under the same tag.
When done correctly and consistently, tags are powerful filtering tool.
Lay out all your thoughts and commentaries here. Some suggestions:
- Review of trade progress
- Review of trading day: market conditions
- Reasons for taking interest in the trade: you can go beyond technical
- Thought process
Trading journals come in many forms – from physical note books, spreadsheets and specialized trading journal software.
An online trading journal offers a convenient and efficient method for documenting a complete trading journal packed full of data.
The main reason I prefer an online trading journal over more manual journaling options. Is the ability to import ALL your brokerage trading data. This provides a more complete picture and data rich database of your trading history.
The best online journals feature the following analysis tools:
- Import data – The best online journals allow data to be imported from your broker.
- Filtering option – breaks down data to pinpoint areas for analysis
- Charting – with price entry and exit marker features
- Tags reporting – track strategy types, mistakes or other specific features by using tags to help filter data.
- Data Charts – The best journals offer easy to use data charts for easy interpretation and analysis.
BEST ONLINE TRADING JOURNAL – TRADERSYNC
TraderSync is an innovative, easy to use and sophisticated trade journal accessible on the web and mobile app.
Its power is hinged on its ability to import, compile, manipulate, and present performance data in a clear and intuitive fashion.
This makes data interpretation easily understandable and packed with valuable information that can help traders realize the true potential of their trading strategy.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
- Intuitively designed dashboard and reports: Digesting and interpreting information is easy
- Comprehensive and multi-faceted analytics: Tradersync offers a huge range of reporting options.
- Top-down and bottom-up analyses: Trader’s can study data from a bird’s eye view or more granular levels
- Powerful filters: Allows you to zoom in on a specific aspect of your trading by using filters.
- Learning curve: onboarding can take a little time for some users.
- Stat-heavy: may be overwhelming for some traders
- Free Plans: Lack of high level performance data analytics for the basic plans
FEATURE 1: PERFORMANCE AND DATA ANALYTICS
TraderSync takes a robust, multi-faceted approach in analyzing every aspect of your trade-related data.
It provides a dashboard that shows a complete overview of your performance: accumulated return, profit factor, average return, win% among others.
TraderSync filtering options in the main dashboard area is a quick and easy way to analyse data. Filtering options can be found in the top bar of the dashboard. Basic reporting data displays in the main dashboard area.
If you would like to dive deeper into your trading data, TraderSync generates a variety of highly detailed reports. TraderSync offers 13 reports to analyze your trading performance.
Tradersynce offers detailed reports including hourly, weekly, monthly and yearly time frame analysis. Other reports include reports specific to price, volume data. Setups, mistakes, sector, marketcap, percent and volume change and hold time.
In the following section I will briefly summarize the ‘overview’ and ‘setup’ sections to provide a general guide to the functionality of the software. Other section function very similar.
To the left is the list of the available reports. You can find this by clicking Reports (pie chart icon) on the dashboard left toolbar.
This provides a bird’s eye view of your performance – tabulated and charted.
There are three general options to choose from when selecting what you’d like to feature on your chart. Use the image below for reference.
- Performance Metrics (white box): lists metrics found on a dashboard below the chart- see performance metrics definitions below
- Trade-specific elements/filters (blue box): features filter options
- Symbol (yellow box): details related to specific trades
The following is a definition summary of performance metrics listed in the ‘Overview report’ section. Each metric can be selected to display on the bar or line chart:
- Accumulative Return ($): Total Returns accumulated during the lifetime of the account. Includes net figure of trade gains/losses + value of the portfolio.
- Accumulative Return Net ($): Total accumulated returns net of commissions and fees
- Accumulative Return (%): Similar to accumulative return above but in % terms
- Accumulative Return Net (%): Similar to accumulative return net but in % terms
- Accumulative Profits ($): Accumulative return of all winning trades
- Average Return: Average return per trade computed as total return in dollar terms divided by the number of trades taken
- Profit Factor: Gross profit (incl. commissions) divided by the gross loss
- Return Short: Net returns of shorted trades
- Return Long: Net returns of long trades
Setups report filter and identify the trade setups that have worked well and those that haven’t.
If your trading strategy uses a number of different trade setups and strategies, this report is a gold mine for your trade performance.
Setup report compiles your trade setup specific data into a tabular report. This report includes a summary of all data relating to a particular trade setup. Including: return, number of trades taken, shares traded, average return, average profit and losses.
The report allows users to chart this same data on a bar chart. Ideal for quickly and easily visually comparing different trading setups.
By ticking the check boxes above the chart (white box in image). Users can add data series to the chart.
Overlaying various sets of data can used to identify correlations between data sets.
FEATURE 2: EVALUATOR AND SIMULATOR TOOLS
Find the Evaluator under Performance in the left toolbar
The performance evaluator tools purpose is to graphical represent the performance of individual data sets for easy interpretation and analysis.
The Evaluator tool gives an in depth analysis of specific data categories – these include various time frames, volume, price, setups and mistakes.
|Volume||shows profitability relative to position sizing in dollars ($)|
|Entry Price||shows profitability relative to prices (e.g. penny stocks vs value stocks)|
|Setups||shows profitability of certain setups|
|Mistakes||shows earnings curve of the mistakes tagged on trades|
|Day||shows profitability relative to the day of the week|
|Month||shows profitability relative month|
|Hour||shows profitability relative to hour Important data for those traders who has systems that have rules regarding tradeable hours|
Under Setups, I’ve selected the top 3 performing setups: Earnings Winner, Contract Winner, and Multi-Month Breakout. I’ve also included Reversal RSI.
The individual graphs represent the earnings trend for each setup ticked. the same filtering and evaluation can be done for each data category listed above.
The simulator tool allows individual data sets to be filtered out or added into an overall data set to build a simulated trading performance.
The simulator function provides a theoretical performance indicator of potential returns based on only taking the best setups, eliminating mistakes or only trading a specific times of the day.
Find the Simulator tool under Performance in the left toolbar
To use the simulator tool. Check the boxes in the data categories listed on the right hand side of the simulator window.
Only those data sets will be compiled into a simulated Daily P&L equity curve plotted on the main chart over the original equity curve.
This analysis provides a powerful illustration of how performance can be increased by modifying specific parts of your trading such as eliminating mistakes, not trading some setups or only trading at specific times of the day.
The following is a brief summary of the metrics listed in the simulator tool:
|Return||Shows % return of total actual versus total simulated equity|
|Average Return||Shows the total return divided by the number of trades to show the average|
|Win Ratio||Compares the win ratio of actual vs simulated|
|Average Win||Compares dollar winnings averaged out by the number of trades|
|Average Loss||Compares dollar losses averaged out by the number of trades|
FEATURE 3: CREATING A TRADING MANAGEMENT PLAN
TraderSync trading management plans allows users to set customizable rules.
Rules are set based on what trading setup, time of day, time frame or other criteria provides the best results based on journal analysis discussed in previous sections.
Adding a NEW RULE to a Tradersync trading management plan
To create a rule navigate to management icon under performance.
On the right hand side of the management window select ‘NEW RULE’. Select the date duration the rule is to apply. The portfolio if you use multiple portfolios.
Rule are subdivided into two components: Trades to Focus and Trades to Avoid.
Within each of these select ‘ADD FILTER’ to add trade filters that you want to apply for example: entry price, volume, setups, assets, mistakes, etc.
For example under ‘Trades to focus’ your analysis may tell you that there are 3 trade setups that provide the best performance. You also may have found that trading between 10am to 11am was the best time to trade. These filters can be added to your trading plan here.
Under ‘Trades to Avoid’ you can choose to list mistakes. Also times of the day that have produced bad results.
Understanding the Plotted Lines
Once your new rules have been applied they will plot on your equity curve in the management chart window. The following is a breakdown of how to interpret this chart.
- Green line: represents the potential move of your equity curve given the plan was followed
- Blue line dotted with green and red dots: represent actual equity curve based on your past trades.
- Green dots: successfully followed the rule, complied with elements on Trades to Focus
- Red dots: deviated from the plan, complied with one more element under Trades to Avoid
The benefit of this type of graphical analysis is to provide the means for self reflection. To understand what mistakes are being made and that you need to avoid them.
A trade management widget can be added from the dashboard. This provides summary of your performance relative to your trading plan.
To activate the management widget return to the dashboard. Left click the gear icon in the top right hand corner of any active widget. Select the position to display the management widget.
FEATURE 4: TRADE JOURNALING
The very core of TraderSync is to optimize your trade journaling and make it as efficient as possible.
What I love about Tradersync is the ability to import trading data from a huge selection of brokers.
Journal Data Entry
Tradersync offers two methods for populating data in your journal:
- Import Brokerage Data – Tradersync supports huge list of partner brokers available for syncing.
To import brokerage data select ‘ADD TRADE’ in top right hand corner of dashboard and select ‘Import’. Select your broker and what portfolio to import the data.
- Manual Input – TraderSync makes manual data entry easy. Fill in the fields needed to complete a trading journal using simple drop down menus and text suggestions.
The TraderSync’s journal presents your individual trade entries in a clear and simple dashboard.
Each panel represents one trading day, and includes all positions opened that day.
Here you can add any notes, screenshots and addition information to supplement your trading data and tags.
This dashboard has its own filter function (yellow box) in the top bar. This is a great way to sift through trading days that meet specific criteria for more details analysis.
TraderSync calendar view provides a really nice overview of trading performance over a specified time period. Each date is color coded as either red (netted a loss) and green (netted a gain). Dates display the dollar earnings, number of trades opened and tags.
The calander can be found from the dashboard left hand side menu under performance > calendar
From the Journal dashboard details of any individual trade can be viewed by slecting that trade.
TraderSync creates a summary page for each individual trade. Individual trade details can be populated and amended. Trade details relating to price entries, exits, targets, stop losses, trade charts (refer next section for more detail), tags, and mistakes.
Individual trade notes can be added within this section.
These is a brilliant feature of Tradersync. Trade charting allows users to visualize your trade entries and exits on real time price charts.
Below is an an example of the trade Chart feature: The green marker is your entry price, the red marker is your exit price.
Hovering at the marker will reveal details of your entry/exit
FEATURE 5: MOBILE APP AND EASY DEVICE INTEGRATION
Access your notes, thoughts whenever, where ever with the free TraderSync mobile app available in IOS and android.
Simply log in your active account to access all your data synced from the web-based platform to your mobile device.
TRADERSYNC PLANS AND PRICING
TraderSync offers 4 plans: Basic, Pro, Premium, and Elite.
Unfortunately, the Free plans lack many of the impressive features mentioned in the preceding section.
To help you understand which plan suits you best, let’s take a comparative view on all four plans:
BASIC PLANS (FREE)
Intuitive user design interface
Basic plans enjoy the smart, innovative user interface of TraderSync. This by itself sets the bar very high in the online trade journal space.
Access your data on your mobile device – available in IOS and Android
Logging of trades is restricted to manual entries for the free plan.
Although this is a limitation. TraderSync basic option still overs advantages over basic spreadsheets and physical journals.
Tradersync templates provide an easy to complete semi automated interface that prompts users with drop-down suggestions.
Its a great place to start even if you don’t go with the upgraded plans straight away.
Tags and mistakes help track and segregate your trades. Tags and mistakes can still be filtered in the basic version.
This plan includes all free plan features + most of the performance and trade-related reports. Pro Plans pricing are set as follows:
- Monthly subscription: $29.95
- One-year subscription: $26.00/mo
Data and Performance Reports
TraderSync’s Pro plan offers all the data analytics reporting (excluding Sector, Market Cap, Holding Time).
Reports included under Pro:
Importation of Brokerage Data + Multiple Portfolios
Pro plans offer the convenience of trade imports from a huge range of brokers.
Pro plan users can segregate data imports and filtering using the multiple portfolio feature.
The Pro plan offers the trade chart feature. Visualize your entries, exits, price targets, and stop loss price using TraderSync’s charting feature. To learn more, refer to ‘trade chart‘ above.
Calendar view offers a date based overview of trading performance in a calendar format. To learn more, refer to ‘Calendar View‘ section above.
Includes all the Pro plan features + access to all reports, performance data and simulation
Premium plan pricing:
- Monthly subscription: $49.95/month
- One-year subscription: $43.42/month
All data and performance reports are accessible via Premium – including Sector, Market Cap, Holding Time.
Evaluator and Simulator
Premium plans have access to the Evaluator and simulator features.
Commissions and Fees Tracking
Premium users have access to operating costs associated with their trading. Valuable for traders who are wanting a true picture of net earnings less commissions.
The top of the line of the TraderSync brand. Elite users gain unlimited access to all features offered by the platform.
Plan pricing are as follows:
- Monthly subscription: $79.95/month
- One-year subscription: $69.50/month
Auto Stop Losses/Target Tracking
Easy tracking of automatic stop losses and targets.
Auto Stop Losses and Target Tracking are computed based on 3 algorithmic rules: preset price, percentage, profit-loss ratio.
Elite plans gain access to TraderSync’s high powered trade management. Users can create and test plans equipped with customizable, built in rules.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insights
AI engine processes, analyzes, and interprets data, converting it into a simple easy to understandable feedback format.
To sign up for a FREE 7 day Tradersync demo account click the link.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Romain is an independent trader and investor specializing in financial market analysis and trading systems. He worked as a professional long/short equity trader for a trading firm in New York and has a passion for building mechanical trading strategies. He has been in the industry since 2008.
This post expresses the opinions of the writer and is for information, entertainment purposes only. Romain is not a registered financial advisor or certified analyst. The reader agrees to assume all risk resulting from the application of any of the information provided. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns and financial trading is full of risk.) Please read the Full Disclaimer