Google offers cloud spreadsheets– known as “Google sheets” — this could be used as an online trading journal, it is a step up from Microsoft excel as a trading journal.
We don’t recommend it, however. There is a whole dimension full of functionality that it doesn’t provide. You will not get the full benefit of trade journaling if you use the Google sheets template as opposed to high-quality trading software such as TraderSync.
The ‘Why’ of stock trade journaling
The second version of the Google Sheets template is introduced as follows:
“The purpose of this spreadsheet is to help Forex traders to save their trades on a weekly, or monthly basis, to let them update every order or position as soon as the status is modified. This file helps any trader in monitoring his trading.”
But, right at the start, the Google Sheets template misses the ‘why’ of stock trade journaling. A trading journal isn’t intended to “monitor” trading (it’s not even clear what that means exactly).
A trading journal is intended for analysis, to enable you to find patterns in your trading and learn how to improve performance. Part of this is to track your trading psychology – the emotions that helped to trigger the trade.
Because it seeks to “monitor,” it’s not surprising that the Google Sheets template doesn’t enable this kind of analysis. Instead, there are input fields for basic trade information, stops data, and means of calculating risk on trades. All of this is useful and necessary, of course, but it’s only part of the whole.
There is a small space for “comment,” but only for a few lines. Here, high-quality trading software offers a great deal more in terms of options to record strategy and emotions – the key elements for trading journal analysis.
And high-quality trade journaling software offers yet more than the Google Sheets template can provide. Some high-quality trade journaling software has transfer applications, enabling you to download most trading information directly from your trading platform. Some trade journaling software also includes options to generate reports, pulling together all the information you need into a functional form.
And some high-quality trade journaling software even has options that permit you to track the state of your emotions when you make a trade.
Trading psychology is more influential than logic for most traders, experts say. Greed makes traders hold trades too long, in the hope of raising profit – instead the trade often goes sour. Anger at losses often incites traders to make bad decisions, to forget strategy and to jump into a bad trade out of ‘revenge.’ Fear, of course, pushes traders to close trades too early, and to earn too little from them.
One of the great virtues of trade journaling is that it helps a trader to see where decisions were made out of greed, or anger or fear, and not as part of an overall trading strategy.
But, with a Google Sheets template-based journal, you can’t address all of that. To get the best from your trade journaling experience, try high-quality trade journaling software.