Making a nice spreadsheet: Maybe an hour or two.
Setting up myFXbook: About 10-15 minutes.
Setting up MT4i: About 10-15 minutes.
It is important to keep a trading log so that you can better understand your trading, what is working well for you, what is not, and how to improve your results. Do not underestimate how much you will learn about yourself and your strategies from this.
You can create your own spreadsheet with columns to record the details of each trade and why you took it. This is a good practice to begin with, in fact it is pretty much essential, and you’ll learn a lot about yourself as a trader by doing so and improve much faster.
There are also some good trading log spreadsheet templates online that you can use, so have a search on Google and see what you can find.
Many traders like to have their own custom trading log spreadsheet but we’ve found that the log analysis tools available online now offer us so much more, we prefer to save the time on recording trading data and concentrate on logging our reasons for trades and analysing them…
We rely quite a lot on the free online service from MyFXBook for tracking our ongoing performance and improving our results – and certainly recommend you get setup with them.
It saves us a huge amount of time on record keeping because it uses the MetaTrader account history to analyse your trading performance. Plus, you can add comments to trades to keep a record of why you placed certain trades and see whether your reasoning works out for you in the long term.
Even if your broker doesn’t use MetaTrader you could still place your trades in parallel on a MetaTrader demo account as a way to analyse your history with them. You may also want to forward test EAs in this way.
You’ll find that many system vendors and money managers are now using the site to publish their performance but do take some time to learn about Strategy Optimisation vs Curve Fitting to gain a better understanding of what all the figures and graphs actually mean and how they can sometime be used to only show selective results.
Another great and free automated trading log analysis platform is MT4i, you can connect it to your MetaTrader account history to analyse your trades and create custom reports.
They also offer lots of other interesting tools, like monitoring your MetaTrader platform and alerting you if it stops running, and tools to enhance your MetaTrader programming if you’re into that, so do have a look through their apps – again we like them and recommend it’s worth looking into.