How do you keep your trading log / diary?

Discussion in 'Trading' started by InTheZone, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. Hi,

    How do you keep your trading log / diary?

    I've been trying to find a log/diary methodology that is easy to maintain, but haven't found a satisfactory solution yet.

    I've tried simply printing out charts and writing notes on it, but the downside of this is that you can get multiple pages of the same chart (ie, a new chart every day for example).

    I have tried taking multiple snapshots of charts and pasting into Word files, but then the word files get pretty big pretty quick.

    I've also tried putting in text directly onto my charts, but found that it's a bit cumbersome. It is however the best solution that I've found so far.

    I thought I'd turn to EliteTrader members for ideas on how they keep their trading journal.

    I look forward to your response.


    -- ITZ
  2. that is what i do: Copy/paste all the intra-day trading action into Microsoft word and print it out. :p
  3. Before you read what's below, I want you to know that this post is more than what I write in 3 days of Trading Journal.

    Looks like your looking for something too simple.

    Your Trading Journal should be detailed as possible with info you can profit from.

    Charts with annotations is an important aspect of any trade journal...thus, your going in the correct direction.

    Remember is a business. Treat it as such and you'll reap rewards. Therefore, don't skimp on your Trade Journal.

    I've seen many others before you here at EliteTrader ask a similar question and I'm surprised nobody has yet uploaded a template for others to possibly use.

    All my templates are in Lotus. I plan on at a later date to make a duplicate template in Microsoft Excel.

    Hopefully, different traders will attach their templates so that you can get a good selection of templates to choose among.

    Note: You should start another forum thread here and ask traders to upload templates of their journal.

    A trading journal should be able to reveal things about you as a trader so that it can help improve your trading the next time around.

    I myself have templates. 3 Papers per day. 1) Market Wrap 2) Intraday Market Journal 3) Pre-Market Journal.

    Market Wrap: On one side I have things like "What Did I Learn From Today's Trading or Academic Reading?...Profits/(Loss)...Commissions...# of Trades and a Profit/Trade Ratio (too see how efficient I am each day).

    Then on the opposite of that paper I go to my favorite website and print out Market Summary...usually from Yahoo!.

    Intraday Journal: Key trade signals for QQQ and Eminis...brief notes about what has occurred up to that point in time.

    Then on the opposite side of that paper I do a screen print of my trading/graph setup that captures my favorite chart in different time intervals along with market stats.

    Pre-Market Journal: Name & Time of key economic numbers of the QQQ and Eminis and a brief Japanese Candlestick analysis of their daily charts.

    Then on the opposite of side of that paper (same as above)...but of Pre-Market screen shot of my charts.

    In addition, after each trading day I print out the trade log from my brokers website (much better than writing down each and every trade)...

    Then on the opposite side of that paper...I make notes about how I felt (psychological in the pre-market, intraday and market wrap)...highlight any bad trades and make some quick 2-3 line notes.

    In all, I have 4 completed papers (both sides) to make up my daily journal.

    I've estimated that the average total time I spent each day (printing, writing...brief research) in completing my journal is about 25 minutes.

    Usually have everything done for the day by 5:15pm est.

    Note: I keep a seperate file for charts (3min, 10min and Daily...occassionaly I'll print out a 1min chart of the morning session) of the QQQ and Eminis in a seperate folder with for that takes about 10 minutes.

    Thus, total time is about 35 minutes...a Trade Journal that consists of fill in the blank templates and Charts for Research in a separate folder.

    I can honestly say that if it wasn't for my 35 minutes of work each trading day...I wouldn't be profitable nor would I have the ability to quickly fix trading problems.

    Nihaba Ashi
  4. I keep a journal in Word.

    I use a template that just requires the date to be entered each day and then just keep each day in a file. I don't print them out but just read them on my computer at the end of the week.

    For charts I save them as a bmp and use paint to make notes at the end of the day. I keep the charts in a separate file and then hyperlink to them in my Word journal. This way, i don't have a cumbersome Word journal at the end of the day.
  5. Miki



    Convert *.bmp files to *.gif or *.jpg files – the difference in space saving can be staggering.
  6. Convert to .gif.

    .jpg is for pictures taken with a camera, not for graphics.

  7. I'm not sure what you mean.

    Yet, when I save images from my screen of my trading is always downloaded (default) as a .jpg

    Usually, +400kb. Because of the size of the .jpg...I then use my image-editor to convert the image to a .gif...usually dropping the size down around +90kb (with little or no lose of quality from the original).

    Thus, when it comes to size .bmp > .jpg > .gif

    However, there are other image formats.

    Simply, .jpg is NOT ONLY for pictures taken with a camera.

    I've used lots of trading software in the past and I cannot remember a single one that had the ability to same the image as .gif

    Images can either be saved as .bmp or .jpg and those other formats I didn't mention.

    For example, QCharts only allows images to be saved as .bmp or .jpg

    If someone wants to email the image as an attachment or put image on a website...the norm is to convert the image (via any decent image-editor) to .gif to prevent slow downloads if it was still in the format of .bmp or .jpg

    If someone wants to do a lot of image saving for their trading's best to get something like Adobe PhotoShop or compatible. Also, there are some other programs for free that does conversions very nicely.

    Nihaba Ashi
  8. Fortunately, RediPlus has a cool tool in their charting package that showe your entry and exit points on their daily chart of each stock. We ask that our traders also note the other basic factors (prem/disc/tape, etc.) on a timely basis. We then recap at days end (can't take time away from watching the tape). I then ask traders to "plot" their entries on a zero x/y graph, and then plot the exits, showing P or L, and then chart out how much further the stock went in their favor (after exiting) before back tracing 10 cents (to see if they exited too early), and vice versa for losing trades (see if they stayed too long, or if a reversal was about to take place, meaning that they were "shaken out."
  9. Yes you are correct. However, i don't have a graphics program so I at least have to start it off as a bmp. (I think), in order to make notes, draw lines etc... I have plenty of HD space so I don't see it being too much of a problem. If it does become a problem then I would probably just save in a separate CD. Anyway, I'm far too lazy to convert all my old hyperlinks.

    PS. How do you save a bmp as a jpg or gif while in the paint program.

    Actually I just realized that I would need to change my hyperlinks if I transfer to a CD.
  10. Thus, when it comes to size .bmp > .jpg > .gif

    Simply, .jpg is NOT ONLY for pictures taken with a camera.

    Both statements are incorrect. .jpg is a compression format that should be only used for pictures taken with a camera. When you zoom in on an image taken with a digital camera or scanned, you will see that the colors in that image are created by mixing different shades of a similar color. So when you take a picture of say something like a white wall, this scanned image will actually be made of thousands of colors. The reason that is done is simple, in natural lighting conditions a white wall will actually reflect countless shades of white. If you reduced the colors in such an image to 4 or 5 shades of white, you would clearly see the borders between the patches of different colors rather than a continuous wall surface.

    .jpg was designed to compress such images. I don't know the details, but I'm guessing this is done partly by evenly spreading out the colors that are exactly the same. To use a favorite analogy in the trading world, if you flip a coin a hundred times, which would give you 50 heads and 50 tails, and compressed the results as a .jpg, the output could be something like a 100 alternating heads and tails, which would be easy to compress. Having agreed on some protocol, you could simply represent such a result as:
    which would uncompress as:
    HTHTHTHT....etc. (a hundred times.)

    This is an oversimplification, as this is not exactly how it works, and there is more to a jpg than that, but the point is that particular compression scheme was designed to compress images the colors of which are made up of alternating pixels of many different colors.

    .jpg is also lossy, meaning it loses data, and once you compress something as a jpg, you will never get from that the original image. You can see this in the example above, if you changed 'heads' and 'tails' to white and black, the result after compression might be more or less the same shade of gray, but you no longer know the exact value of each original pixel.

    Because jpg uses this method of alternating pixels, images converted to jpg will also lose any clearly defined edges. This doesn't matter in real images, but the colors will appear to bleed when you use jpg to compress graphics.

    Gif uses a different method, it will compress a string of exactly the same colored pixels by converting such a string to a value for the color and a number for the number of pixels (again, I don't know exactly how this is done.)

    HTHTHT would probably be compressed as one h one t one h etc.
    Gif is not lossy, so it will save the value of every pixel.
    hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt (which is how an artificially created graphic would look - they're made up of pixels of exactly the same color next to each other) would be compressed as... say 20h30t.

    So as you can see, .jpg will compress a picture taken with a camera much better than a gif would, on the other hand a computer generated image (not counting things that are supposed to look real-life) would be much better compressed by a gif. Also, a jpg will significantly worsen the quality of a graphic, as the colors will bleed near the edges, and the image will not look exactly as the original.

    Whoever designed a charting program that converts to .jpg should learn the basics of image compression. In the future always save as .bmp and convert to .gif directly.
    #10     Apr 12, 2002