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How To Create A Forex Trading Journal – With FREE Excel Template

Isn't making money the whole point of trading, so why waste time keeping a forex trading journal? Shouldn't the focus be on strategy, money management, and profit-making? And, what is its purpose anyway? Well, the answers to those questions are in this article plus some more if you manage to stick through. You'll also discover how you can easily design one by learning the necessary components of an insightful trading journal.


What is the purpose of a trading journal?


If you think about it, the purpose of a trading journal is simple: to provide a way to reflect. A concise record of past events gives you insight into what had transpired and how you reacted to it. And, once those data are in your hands, you can mainly utilize them for strategy statistics, overall performance statistics, and mistake prevention.

trading-journal-template

Strategy Statistics

With more experience, you’ll come to know that a single tactic doesn’t apply to every market condition. Every strategy must have records of its performance so you can assess its viability — because even an adequately backtested trading system may falter in a changing market.

For example, you have a combination of indicators that have worked well in the past five months, but the trading results are dismal in the current month.

A record of trades taken will give you insight as to what could’ve been straining your technical strategy’s performance and how you can forge ahead with it.

Overall Performance

This is mostly statistics of how you performed in a particular period.

You might argue that the overall stats are already generated by your broker, and it’s time-consuming and perhaps redundant to reproduce available stats.

However, the level of detail your broker offers with the daily and monthly trading stats lack the most critical component of a trading journal: notes.

Without ancillary notes for each trade, you forget your rationale for taking them in the first place.

For instance, you saw a bullish engulfing pattern on the EUR/USD daily chart, and that triggered you to place a buy order after the next day of the candle formation.

But your trade didn’t go exactly as planned as you got stopped out even before the day concluded because the candle after the pattern was full-on bearish.

Now, the absence of notes on the trading stats your brokers sends out will not provide you with such details; you will only see numbers without any meaning behind them.

Mistake Prevention

Preventing mistakes is practically conjoined with strategy and overall performance stats. Since your notes correspond to each trade, you’ll know if you had followed your trading or strategy rules to a tee.

You can inspect your losing trades and winning trades for one particular strategy and assess each of them for singularity.

If some of those losers resulted from deviating your rules, then it gives you room in preventing the same mistake from reoccurring.

What information should be in your trading journal?


1. Date and Time

This is automatic when creating a trading journal. Remember that the time for closing should be recorded to know how long you’ve kept the trade in play.

2. Trading Strategy

As discussed earlier, the strategy you use should be recorded in your trading journal. Also, you can keep a journal for each strategy if you want a log of all the trades you’ve taken using it. The reason for doing this is to understand your tactic better — to get to know the numbers even more.

3. Traded Asset

Indicate the asset you traded either through a new column or along with the name of your trading strategy (e.g. moving average crossovers on the EUR/USD).

4. Type of Transaction

You should indicate whether it was a BUY or a SELL.

trading-journal-heading

5. Price

You should also note down the price you entered and exited. Once again, this may be provided by your broker but recording this yourself will lead to the last information needed in your journal, which is net pips.

6. Net Pips 

So, after recording the prices, subtract the entry price to the exit price to get the number of pips gained or lost. Measuring the pips allows you to keep a proper method of scoring your strategy as opposed to relying on just the dollar figure.

Forex Trading Journal Excel Template


You can piece all the above information together in excel with the addition of a few more details like a calculation of percentage change, the balance after each trade and the pips’ dollar value that was gained or lost per trade.

Here is our  sample trading journal template in Excel.

Intellinvestors' Forex Trading Journal

Click the download button to take you to our free excel template sign up page.

All you have to do with this template is type your starting account balance, date, time, name of your trading strategy, buy/sell, entry and exit price, and the number of units traded. The second sheet is for writing down your notes.

Things to Remember


And finally, before you begin journalizing your trades, here are three things to keep in mind:

1. It should not take more time than actual trading.

You should remember that creating a journal of your trades is to improve your trading by carefully analyzing the numbers behind your performance. If the majority of your time is slowly being consumed by journalizing, then that’s not going to help you improve your results.

2. The purpose is to supplement your analysis.

Your journal is just there as a supplementary analysis. You should prioritize what will actually be of good use to you, so if journalizing doesn’t help at all then don’t do it.

3. The journal is not a task.

A journal doesn’t have to be as well-detailed as you imagine — scribbles of your trades on a notebook is good enough. But what’s necessary, as stated earlier, is the rationale and the notes you have for each trade.

So, there you have it.

Thank you for reading this article. 

If you liked it, please share it on social media as that would help us build more quality content like this!

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16 thoughts on “How To Create A Forex Trading Journal – With FREE Excel Template

  1. This was a most useful article, and keeping a Forex Trading Journal makes a lot of sense, especially if you want to look back and see how your stocks have behaved over a period of time. In this way, you will also learn from your mistakes and learn to make informed decisions.

    I like the idea of having a trading strategy column, as it will remind you why you bought the stocks in the first place and what appealed to you. These are often details that we forget, especially if you make a lot of stock purchases in a month.

    1. Thank you, Michel.  

      Yes, that’s true a trading journal helps you think about each trade more carefully and it prevents you from overtrading as well.  

      Glad you liked the article!

  2. A good post you have up here. I and a friend tried binary trading once before and it was really something I couldn’t understand. So I stopped and dived into affiliate marketing. We never had this type of help. We never used journals or anything to keep record. I think my friend still does forex so I’ll share this post with him, it’ll be really helpful. Thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks so much, Jackson.

      Well, binary trading is a lot different than forex trading.  And if you’re referring to binary options trading, regulation there is an issue. 

      But if you’re trading actual currencies with a regulated broker, a trading journal does help in avoiding the same mistakes you made in the trades that you’ve lost.

      Anyway, thanks again! Hope you and your friend can make use of the trading template that is if you decide to trade again! 🙂

  3. To be honest, investing in general and trading in particular truly intimidate me. I always had this thought that math is my weaknesses so anytime I see numbers, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy and I start worrying. My heart’s racing slightly as we speak.

    That said, I like keeping records. And I just love Excel. And I had the epiphany that maybe if I can like some aspects of trading and if I can keep clear and detailed enough records that will allow me to see trends and results – just like this trading journal – then I can mitigate quite a lot of negative results that could happen.

    Do you think a beginner should have this exact template or is it more for slightly more experienced traders?

    1. Hi Kevin and Jade,

      Well, if you love Excel, you’re probably alright with numbers. 🙂

      No, this template isn’t the standard format for a trading journal. It’s actually up to the trader to set or include what they think is necessary to keep track of.

  4. I am a person all about the numbers and stats.  They can help you to identify trends and make more purposeful and hopefully, successful decisions in the future.

    I think the thing I appreciate the most in your article is the sections outlining what should be included in the journal as well as the template of course!  It gives a great starting point and if needed, a person can tailor it even further to their personal needs.

  5. Wow, thank you for introducing a great idea in this article. This is a useful article post. I worked on this forex about 2 years ago today, but did not know how to do the job, I would be successful in this task, today I learned many rules by reading this post. the post-it is good for all.

  6. Hi, This is a very structured and detailed analysis of creating a Forex Trading Journal. I find the idea very insightful as being able to reflect on past records is important and can be used as a springboard to the next level.

    I like that you have explained the reasons behind strategy statistics and I am very appreciative of the fact every strategy must have a record of its performance for assessing viability.  

    I strongly agree that we should not allow ourselves to make the same mistake repeatedly and this theory could be adapted into our everyday lives.

    I now have a better understanding and appreciation of Forex Trading and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to explain all this.  This is indeed an awesome post.

    .

  7. This is extremely useful. I like trading, but I don’t have a clean “journal” like this. I’m going to implement your tips and  make a much better looking and more organized trading journal! Right now (like you talked about) my trades are scribbled down, but I got notes everywhere, so time to clean it up lol. 

  8. Hello there, forex trading have been one of my biggest interest since i retired from my job and decided to from online businesses. I am currently into a different line of online marketing but I still have big interest in forex trading. I am glad to have come across this post which have given me an insight on the importance of a journal in forex trading. I’ll inform my son who is currently into it about this post. 

  9. Hi

    I can see how creating a Forex trading journal will be helpful, as using stats is never a waste of time. The more information you have the more you can infer. I have used stats throughout my working life as I am an engineer. Stats will reveal a lot but it is dangerous to use without using precautions. They do not reveal everything and that must be remembered.

    I really appreciate the way your article is complied, as it gives to me all the information to start a journal. It is just getting into the habit  to keeping it up to date. I am very familiar with Excel and it would not to be difficult to set up, as it looks  quite basic. The only question is how reliable is the journal  to predict future market trends?

    Thanks

    Antonio

    1. Hi Antonio,

      Thanks for your insight. Well, keeping a trading journal is not intended for predicting future market trends. Journalizing your trade is more like keeping records to make better decisions in the future, but it can’t tell you where the market will be since you have old data in your hands.  Generally, your trading journal can answers questions like the reasons why you took a trade, why did it go wrong and if your strategy is still working.

  10. Hello

    Very useful article

    I had seen Forex before and it struck me

    Your article makes me go back again to better control and read many rules from this post.

    As a beginner I need to have this exact template in order to keep clear and detailed records

    In your article the 6 tips you give are the most important for a beginner to get started in FOREX TRADING

    I will share this post with my friends, it will be really helpful.

    Thanks for posting.

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