I think that we can all agree that journalling our trades and the analysing of these trades are a very important part of the trading journey. In my opinion without this, it very hard to succeed in this business.
Therefore, a good trading journal must have the ability to not only record and analyse the effectiveness of our system, but also identify when we deviate from the system and also provide statistics on what we can do to improve our trading.
For years I have used my own excel spreadsheet to record and analyse my trading, but since Edgewonk has come on the scene, I have used Edgewonk alongside my own sheet. I would move solely to Edgewonk, except it does not quite track a certain metric as well as my own sheet but I will come to that later.
Before we start please read my review policy here.
There is no point in covering every single feature of the journal, you can find a breakdown of their analytical tools on the website and their excellent Youtube channel.
One of the features that I really like about this journal is the ability to breakdown the performance of a setup by many different variables. From what market to the day of week, grade, return, and how well we actually managed the trade.
The other feature I like about this Journal is the Trade Management table, which allows us to drill down into whether our trade management is hindering or helping our strategy.
Though please note that there is an error in the labels, the green line is the Actual Performance and the red line is the Performance without Trade Management. But apart from that, this is an excellent table to drill down into each setup / instrument to see whether our current management is a valid strategy and give us some ideas on what to do to improve this.
If you are new to journalling then I would also recommend the Edgewonk 12 week Course, which is very good and I will do a separate review of that down the line.
Another great feature is the ability to add screen shots, for each trade. As they say a picture says a 1000 words, and it helps to see a screen shot.
An improvement would be the ability to add a second screenshot so that we can compare before and after shots of the trade.
Personally I have taken the screen shot feature a step further. Instead of taking a screenshot, I record a video, where I go through the reasons why I am taking a trade, the context, the stops, target and management of the trade.
Whilst this sounds a bit of a chore and complicated, but Jing the free screenshot software, allows us to record 5 mins of video and save it to the screenshot folder. All we need is a micro phone. Job done.
I prefer videoing the trades, as this allows me to summarise the trade plan quickly and also when reviewing the trades at a later date, I am always surprised by how much information I get about my emotional state at the time, just from the words I use and the tone of my voice.
One of the problems with Edgewonk and any journal that tracks a lot of metrics, these need to be entered into the spreadsheet. This can take time, so if one takes a lot of trades during the day then this can take quite a bit of time.
What can we do about it
First there is an excellent page about organising our data to save time.
Secondly and this idea comes from another trader, I cannot remember exactly who, but I think it may be my friend Mobs from Trading for Singles. If it was not Mobs then whoever it was, thanks it is very helpful.
Most execution platforms allow us to export our entries and exits into CSV / Excel, I then use an Excel sheet to re purpose the data into a format that allows me to easy cut and paste directly into Edgewonk.
The main reason I am still using my old journal alongside Edgewonk, is that I track my trades after exit to provide statistics on how far these trades actually go, and then use excel to draw up a distribution curves to help me formulate alternative target and exits, to then test to see if these have a better expectancy than my current system.
My table also has the ability to filter for markets, long, short, winners, setups etc. I find this invaluable to monitor what the potential for each setup over a large enough sample size and whether my stops and targets are making the most of each setup and market.
Whilst Edgewonk has the ability to track alternative strategies, I find this table gives me the stats to come up with alternative strategies to test.
Overall, this is an excellent journal and for its price point, I would say that if you are serious about trading then this should be a tool which will pay for itself many times over.
I have used quite a few of the commercial journals, and they never really hit the spot for me, which was the reason why I developed my own. Whilst it was a good learning curve to make my own, to be honest if Edgewonk had been available at that time I would have definitely chosen Edgewonk.
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