UPDATE (Nov. 13, 2022): I wrote this post awhile back and since then, I've found much better trading journal solutions. You can see my current recommendations here.
I've been searching high and low for a Forex trading journal that will help me review my trades, but won't take a ton of time to fill out.
After a lot of trial and error, I have found the answer in Evernote.
In this post, I'll show you how I use Evernote as a FX trading journal and give you some tips and tricks that have helped me make the process more painless.
How to Journal Your Forex Trades
Before we get started with how to journal trades, if you do not know how to export or write notes on charts, these videos will get you started.
You will need this to add charts to Evernote.
If you already know how to do this, skip to the Using Evernote section.
Exporting Your Forex Charts
This video will show you how to export charts in two different ways.
One is the standard Metatrader export method, the other is a technique that you can use for any chart that you want to capture.
- Metatrader 4 – File –> Save as Picture
- Mac screenshot – Command + Control + Shift…then press 3
- PC screenshot – Print Screen (button)
TradingView is amazing trading software that also makes it easy to export charts.
Editing and Making Notes on Your Chart
After you have a chart, you will want to resize it and add words, arrows and possibly funny faces to your chart.
This video will show you how to do it.
I will show you how to do it in Photoshop, since that is what I use, but I will list some options after the video.
Some are free and some are paid.
Recommended image editing software:
- Photoshop – The Lamborghini of image editing software. A great product, but you do not have to spend that much money.
- Photoshop Elements – Basic image editing that is a lot cheaper and probably good enough for most trading purposes.
- GIMP – Runs on Windows and Mac. Very similar to Photoshop, for the price of free.
Using Evernote as Trade Journal Software
Now that we have that out of the way, this quick video will show you how easy it is to get started with Evernote.
The great part is that you Evernote is free if you upload less than 60 MB per month.
It work on both PC and Mac and you can download an app to your iOS, Android or Windows device.
Of course, you don't have to use Evernote, there are many other alternatives.
You could just use Microsoft Word or even a free Blogger blog.
I use Evernote as my trading journal app because it makes it really easy to organize my notes and I can access my trading log from any internet connected device.
But what you use is up to you.
Tagging Trades in Evernote
One useful thing that you can do is tag your trades, so they are easier to study later. For example, you could tag all of your losing trades, to see if you are making a common mistake.
You could also tag all of the trades that were taken using a particular system.
Try not to make it too complex, but a basic set of tags can go a long way to helping you review your trading log faster.
See Good and Bad Trades at a Glance
Remember a losing trade is not necessarily a bad trade and a winning trade is not necessarily a good trade.
The only thing that matters is if you followed your trading plan and if you took an A+ setup.
But it can be difficult to keep track of how well you are doing.
You could use another spreadsheet, but who needs another one of those…right?!
The easiest way that I have found to do this is to use emojis in the title of the note.
I track four things:
- Is this journal entry complete?
- Entry rating, out of a possible 5 points. How would I rate the quality of the entry setup?
- Exit rating, out of a possible 5 points. Did I follow the exit rules for this strategy?
- Was this a winning or losing trade?
Here's an example from my own journal.
As you can see, this makes it really easy to see how well you are trading, just by taking a glance at your list of notes. Feel free to use emojis that make sense to you.
To add an emoji, you can do the following:
- On Mac, press Control + Command + Space Bar to bring up the emoji menu.
- On Windows, open the touch keyboard from the icon in the lower right corner. Then click on the smiley face.
- On mobile, just use the emoji button on your keyboard.
What About MyFxBook?
MyFxBook used to be pretty good, as I mentioned here. It still works, but it doesn't always work well.
As I mentioned here, there really needs to be a dedicated journaling site, with automatic trade updates…that actually works.
FXStats (formerly Tradingrex) comes close, but the new owners are not interested in making the product better and only want to collect affiliate commissions from annoying popup ads.
It's a shame because that site as so much potential.
I'm working on a solution, but until that's ready, I recommend using Evernote with MyFxBook.
If Evernote isn't quite your thing, you can also try using Trello.
Other Things to Journal
Now that we have the basic stuff out of the way, let's get into two other things that we can journal that will make us better traders. These things cannot be journaled in MyFxBook, so that is where something like Evernote is especially helpful.
The first thing that I will be journaling is the possible setups that I occasionally see in the market. It is a good way to create notes that I can go back to later and possibly turn into new trading methods.
I can remember a few times in the past that I noticed patterns that could be a good trading system, but I forgot them because I didn't write them down.
For example, say that you are sitting at your computer one night and see that the AUDJPY seems to bounce particularly hard off of the 00 levels…more than other pairs.
You should note that down, so you can backtest it later.
You might also observe a Big Shadow on the GBPNZD 30 minute chart. Is that a good pattern to trade on that pair and timeframe?
Only one way to find out…
I will also be recording trades that I missed.
This is not to beat myself up about missing the trade, but just to get the benefit of going through the trading process and get more practice.
There is no way that I can take every single trade (and expect to get any sleep) without an EA, but I can benefit from learning from every single valid setup.
If you are serious about getting better, then this is highly recommended for keeping up with current market conditions.
Also consider capturing lower timeframe charts and charts from related markets, such as gold, oil, stocks, etc.
Trading Journal Template
Still wondering what you put into your Forex trading journal? Let me help you get started.
Here is what I put in my trading diary template:
Yes, it doesn't have to be more complex than that.
Keep it simple and it's more likely that you will actually do it.
Get Started With Your Forex Trading Journal Right Now
Journaling your trades can seem like a tedious and boring activity, but reviewing your results is the key to success.
This is true in any endeavor.
Kelly Slater is one of the most successful professional athletes ever, and by far, the most decorated professional surfer. He has won 11 world titles, a feat that may never be topped.
In his first book, Pipe Dreams, Kelly mentions that one of the habits that he picked up early on was to review the results of his heats. This helped him figure out what he was doing wrong and what certain judges were looking for.
It works the same way in trading.
Do this regardless if you are trading in demo or live.
To get more tips on simplifying your trading journal, read this post.
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