Successful traders don’t start out with perfect strategies that lead to significant profits. Whether you’re day trading, swing trading, or even long-term investing, there’s a learning curve in the market.
Trading journals help smooth out the learning curve by tracking your trade history.
Looking back at your journal, assessing your trading performance, and adjusting your trading plan as necessary will help you become a more successful market participant. But with so many options, which trading journal software should you use?
The Best Trading Journals
Our pick for the overall best trading journal is Edgewonk. The journal is priced fairly, gives you the ability to track a wide range of assets, and provides intuitive tools for assessing your trading performance, including risk management and emotional trading assessments.
Other trading journals on this list are here because they shine in at least one category ranging from cost to self-challenges, tracking mistakes, and customization.
1. Best Overall: Edgewonk
- Assets: Stocks, forex, futures, contract for difference (CFDs), cryptocurrency, and commodities.
- Price: Edgewonk only has one available membership plan with a $169 annual price tag. That works out to about $14.08 per month.
- Supported Brokers and Platforms: Edgewonk is compatible with 16 different brokers and trading platforms. It also supports Microsoft Excel data imports; if your brokerage or platform isn’t supported, simply export your data from a spreadsheet and import it into your journal.
Although most trading journals track forex, futures, options, and stock trading, Edgewonk goes a step further. You’re able to track your cryptocurrency trades on the platform too. You can automatically import data from supported brokers and platforms. If your trading platform is unsupported, Edgewonk makes it easy to import spreadsheet data directly from Excel.
If you’re a visual person, you’ll love the fact that you can upload screenshots of trading charts and make trade notes to make it easier to comprehend the data when you review your journal.
The three features that really set Edgewonk ahead of its competition are:
- Backtest Trading Strategies. Use the backtesting tool to see how a new trading strategy would have performed in the market based on historical data. You can also use the future trade simulator to determine how likely the strategy is to be effective in the future.
- Interactive Trade Analytics. Edgewonk presents an interactive, color-coded table of data when you review your journal. This makes it easy to review specific trade types, time frames, and other sets of data you’re interested in.
- Emotional Analytics. Edgewonk is the only trading journal we’ve reviewed that puts a major emphasis on emotions. The journal highlights the trades where emotions took hold and you veered away from your trading strategy. Dive into data from these trades to determine what you can do to keep emotions out of the trading room and improve your performance in the process.
2. Best for Free Services: TradeBench
- Assets: Stocks, forex, CFDs, futures, and cryptocurrencies.
- Price: 100% free for everyone. There are no paid plans.
- Supported Brokers and Platforms: TradeBench isn’t broker-specific and can be used with any brokerage or platform of your choice.
TradeBench is an easy-to-use trading journal that displays your trading data in color-coded charts and graphs that make it possible to review your data at a glance. Trading activity can be imported from any broker or trading platform, and the user interface is attractive and easy to navigate.
The journal comes with a wide range of tools for risk assessment and trade analysis. It is one of the most effective options on the market.
Price is where TradeBench stands out. You won’t pay a dime to use the journal and you’ll never be asked to sign up for a paid membership. TradeBench makes its money from advertising.
Although it’s a completely free trading journal, you don’t have to choose between giving up cash and giving up functionality.
3. Best for Challenging Yourself: Trademetria
- Assets: Stocks, futures, options, and forex.
- Price: Free plan allows you to track 30 trades per month. Paid plans cost $39.95 per month or $359.40 annually ($29.95 per month).
- Supported Brokers and Platforms: Trademetria is compatible with more than 140 brokers and platforms. On the off chance that your broker or platform isn’t supported, you can also upload data via Excel.
Trademetria is another easy-to-use trading journal that tracks all the key metrics and makes it easy to review your trading performance. The platform’s data analytics tools are intuitive yet easy to understand, and there are multiple tools designed to help you analyze potential improvements to your strategy.
The journal features impressive risk management tools too. In fact, when you use the platform, you’ll know the potential risk and reward before, during, and after you make your trades.
Trademetria is noteworthy for its features that let you challenge yourself. When you find trends in your performance that suggest you can do better, you can create challenges surrounding those trends and track your improvements. This tool gives you goals to reach for and helps you visualize how you’re becoming a better trader over time.
Trademetria offers a free plan that allows you to track up to 30 trades per month. You’ll pay between $29.95 per month and $39.95 per month if you’re a more active trader. If you decide to go with the paid plans, you’ll save 40% by opting for an annual membership rather than a monthly one.
4. Best for Tracking Mistakes: TraderSync
- Assets: Stocks, forex, options, and futures.
- Price: Membership prices range from $29.95 per month to $79.95 per month, with a 13% discount when you pay annually. All memberships come with a 14-day free trial, and you won’t be required to give TraderSync your credit card data until your trial is over.
- Supported Brokers and Platforms: More than 240 brokers and platforms are supported. You can import data via Excel spreadsheet on the off chance your broker is not supported.
TraderSync is an intuitive trading journal that comes with all the tools you’d expect when you sign up for a service in this category. The platform automatically tracks or imports your trades and displays the data in an easy-to-digest format.
Aside from simple tracking and analytics tools, the platform offers intraday trading data so you can track your performance in real-time. It also features stop-loss tracking to help you manage and mitigate risk, and all tools are available on its mobile app.
TraderSync is especially helpful in the way it flags your mistakes.
You’re going to make mistakes when you trade. When you do, it’s best to know about and address them right away. TraderSync has a mistake tracker that will outline when you veered away from your trading plan and what you can do to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
You have three options when subscribing to the service:
- Pro ($29.95 Per Month). The Pro plan includes the trading journal and many automation features along with various tools and reports for assessing and improving your performance.
- Premium ($49.95 Per Month). The Premium plan comes with everything you get in the Pro plan plus pre- and post-market charts, automatic commission and fee settings, and additional reports for assessing the overall market.
- Elite ($79.95 Per Month). The Elite plan includes everything from the Pro and Premium plans plus automatic spread detection, artificial intelligence insights, and automatic target and stop-loss tracking.
5. Best for Risk Analysis: TraderVue
- Assets: Stocks, futures, and forex.
- Price: You can track up to 30 trades per month as a free member. If you’re a more active trader or want more intuitive tools, you’ll pay between $29 and $49 per month.
- Supported Brokers and Platforms: TraderVue supports 82 different brokers and trading platforms. It also supports Excel uploads in case your broker or platform isn’t on the list.
TraderVue is one of the most popular trading journals online today, especially among day traders. You can automatically track your trades with 82 different brokers and trading platforms or import your data with Excel.
You’ll enjoy the traditional features of journal software like data analytics tools and easy-to-digest insights surrounding what you can do to be a better trader.
TraderVue shines as a tool for risk management.
Risk is always involved in the trading process and it’s important to take steps to manage and mitigate it. The platform’s risk analysis tools are second to none and will give you ideas on ways to reduce your risk while improving your overall performance.
However, these risk analysis tools are only available if you subscribe to the highest-cost package for $49 per month. The $29-per-month membership comes with all other features.
6. Best for Customization: Microsoft Excel
- Assets: Any
- Price: Included with Microsoft Office suite ($159.99 for a one-time purchase or $69.99 per year for Microsoft 365). You can also access Excel only with the Microsoft 365 service for just $6.99 per month.
- Supported Brokers and Platforms: Any
Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular spreadsheet solutions in the world. Although it’s developed to be more than a trading journal, you can easily create a trading journal spreadsheet.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, there are multiple free templates to choose from.
Although using Excel as a trading journal will require more work in the beginning, it’s also the most customizable option. It’s the perfect fit if there are specific metrics you’d like to track that aren’t traditionally tracked by trading journal software.
Microsoft Excel is part of the Office suite of software, which includes other Microsoft products like Word, Powerpoint, and Teams. The software suite costs $159.99 for a one-time purchase for one computer or $69.99 per year for a Microsoft 365 subscription. You may be able to find lower prices at various retailers and even lower prices on outdated versions. You can also access Excel as a standalone software with the Microsoft 365 service for just $6.99 per month.
Methodology: How We Select the Best Trading Journals
We used six criteria to determine the trading journals to include on this list. We focused specifically on affordability, automation, ease of use, risk management tools, progress tracking tools, and report customization capabilities. Here’s how we decided which trading journals were the best:
Quality trading journal software generally comes with a monthly, annual, or one-time fee. We made sure these fees didn’t break the bank. All journals included on our list charge reasonable fees, and many offer free or trial versions of their software.
Trade journaling can be cumbersome, especially when it’s done manually. All trading journals featured in our list offer some level of automated journaling.
Some of the options above connect to your brokerage or trading platform and automate the entire process in real-time. Others make journaling more efficient through data import features that ease the pain of manual data input.
The bottom line here is that trading journals are most effective when you spend more time reviewing and analyzing your data than inputting the data in the first place.
Ease of Use
There’s a learning curve involved any time you sign up for a new service. We made sure to select platforms on which the learning curve wasn’t too steep.
All options above offer intuitive platforms that are easy to navigate and use. They display data in a way that’s easy to digest, often including color-coded charts and graphs. Ultimately, the platforms on this list made an effort to bring a bit of simplicity to the process of improving your trading performance.
Risk Management Tools
Your success at trading depends on how you manage and mitigate its risk. Trading journals that offered the most intuitive risk management tools scored higher in our review.
Some of the options above not only make it easy to analyze risk and rewards from past trades, but also make it possible to manage risk in real-time throughout the entire trading process.
The whole point of a trading journal is to improve your performance. The most effective trading journals make it easy to track your progress.
Some of the tools listed above even go a step further by allowing you to create challenges and milestones for yourself. We found these tools extremely useful in goal setting and improving performance over time. Journals that offered them scored higher in our reviews.
Finally, your areas of improvement are likely different from your neighbor’s. It’s important to be able to customize reports so you can focus on the areas of trading that are most important to you. All options above offer some level of report customization, with some being more customizable than others.
Trading Journal FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions)
Some of the most common questions about trading journals are answered below.
Are Trading Journals Effective?
Whether you’re a stock trader, forex trader, or participant in any other market, trading journals are definitely beneficial as long as you follow through with your side of the agreement. Journals can only store data and make it easier to review. It’s up to you to do the reviewing.
There’s a strong chance you’ll find opportunities to improve your trading performance if you review your trading journal at least once weekly.
How Do You Make a Good Trading Journal
A good trading journal tracks important metrics like entries, exits, profits, and losses. It should also include risk management details, trading time frames, and other key metrics that help determine the success of your trades, or lack thereof.
If you’re not sure where to start creating your own journal, you can’t go wrong with any of the best trading journals mentioned here. Dedicated trading journal tools make it super easy to get started. All you need to do is sign up, and they’ll create the journal for you!
What Can I Track in a Trading Journal?
Trading journals track the details of trades. For example, you can track the type of asset, entry price, exit price, profit and loss, and time frame of trades. You can also track less technical information in your journal like the overall market condition and your emotional state of mind during each trade.
How Do You Keep a Crypto Trading Journal?
The cryptocurrency industry is relatively new, and most trading journals haven’t caught up to the trend yet.
The good news is that some options are already offering services to crypto traders. Consider signing up for Edgewonk or TradeBench, both of which offer crypto trade journaling.
You can also create a custom trading journal with Microsoft Excel that includes your crypto trades.
How to Choose the Best Trading Journal
There are a few key factors you should consider when choosing the best trading journal for you:
- The Assets You Trade. It’s important to make sure the journal you choose supports the types of assets you trade. The vast majority of journals support stocks and forex. But if you trade assets like cryptocurrencies or commodities, you’ll have fewer options.
- Price. Your trading tools should never cost so much that they cut deep gashes into your profitability. Make sure the journal you choose comes at a fair price.
- Features You’ll Use. Think about the features you use and choose a provider and plan that offers those features. If you’re not interested in backtesting strategies, you shouldn’t pay a higher monthly fee for the ability to do so. Don’t sign up for the most expensive plan at the first provider you find, because you don’t need to pay for features you won’t use.
- Consumer Reviews. Before settling on a trading journal, check out a few consumer reviews. If most other users are happy with the service, there’s a strong chance you will be too!