Forex Trading - How to Keep a Trade Log

By: Harold Hsu

When many people think about a trade log, they often think along the lines of keeping a diary... you write down your trade details in pen (or pencil) and paper, right? While this may be one way of keeping a trade log, it's actually not the best one.

One of the best (and most convenient) ways of keeping a trade log is to do it on your computer. While many traders like to use a Microsoft Word document for this purpose, I personally prefer to use Excel instead.

But although the Microsoft Excel application is great for data entry, it's perhaps not too useful for writing down paragraphs of notes. Both Word and Excel have their own pros and cons... and it's up to you to decide which is best for you.

Computer software documents are easy to store and retrieve: just click 'Save' to keep it, and it's only a "double-click" away if you need to refer to it again. However, don't forget to keep backup copies of your trade log... you'll never know when technology might break down and fail.

Another choice is to use a tape recorder. This is often preferred by traders who don't particularly like to write. They just need to press the record button, and start speaking about their trade criteria and their feelings about a trade. This is the easiest way to record your trade details, but is also unfortunately the most tedious in terms of data retrieval (if you want to pull out past records, you'll have to listen through the entire voice recording).

Whichever method you choose, just make sure that you're comfortable and consistent with it. Don't use voice recordings today and then use a Word document tomorrow to log your trades. Your notes will end up all over the place, which makes future data retrieval a nightmare. Keep things simple and neat: always use the same format to log your trades.

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