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     Make your own Workout and Trading Journals
Don't trade blind--know where you are. Know where the stock or currency pair you are interested in has been vis a vis where it is right now. You absolutely need to know how much "room" it has to go higher or lower before you trade. It's been proven time and again that this knowledge is one of the big keys to your success as a trader. You don't want to make a trade when the odds are against it; you only want to trade when the odds are in your favor.
Are you a beginner? Are you a seasoned technical analyst? Are you conversant with terms such as "support" and "resistance"? This is not the article to explain these terms but the understanding and profitable use of these important concepts are based on the study of charts. The first step in adding this invaluable knowledge to your arsenal is to make your own charts to study, using the same ones you work with daily.
Here's how to make--or rather, capture, print and organize--charts and data so you can easily create and maintain your own personalized journals. This will be your storehouse of knowledge that you can reference at your leisure and use to make more informed trading decisions in the future. One big secret of long-term, consistent success in the trading biz is to be able to look back at every trade you made and see what the market looked like when you made it. You should be able to show why you did it--and why you would or would not make it again in the future.
This article is not rocket science, but it will hopefully help to make you a better trader, a more successful trader. It will show how to choose and set up a screen capture utility program so that two quick key strokes capture and print out exactly what's showing on your computer screen right now. This goes towards making your Trading Journal. Next, this article will walk you through printing and cataloging stock and currency pair price charts for your Workout Journal. Then we will talk about putting it all together.
1. Choosing a screen capture program is easy. Click on the Snagit logo on the upper left hand side of this page to go to the PC Magazine 2003 & 2004 Editors' Choice for Screen Capture. It costs $39.95 and it does everything--you'll use it several times every week for other screen captures besides its daily duty for your trades. It has many setup options. You can set up the <PrintScreen> key to activate a full screen capture, outputing directly to the printer. Hit the <PrintScreen> key and then the <Enter> key and the screen immediately is printed out.
Another excellent program designed for the purpose of making trading journals is The Pipster. This handy Forex trade calculator has a full screen capture feature built in. It is less expensive than Snagit and also puts the date on every printout, something that is lacking in other products. (Unless you manually date them, you might end up with a stack of screen captures with only the time of day on them and no dates.  #8^0 ) Hit [Ctrl+P] and the screen is sent to the printer; you can leave the printouts stacked up for days and you can easily sort them out.
2. Whether you trade stocks, options or the Forex you should take at least two screen captures of every trade you engage in--one when you get in, one when you get out. Period. This is your Trading Journal. You should also capture any other timely and pertinent information you see on the Internet for your records and future reference.
3. Your Workout Journal is simply many months-worth of charts of your favorite stocks or currency pairs. You will easily be able to see where historical data relates to the current price. You will hopefully be able to detect cycles and patterns and other helpful indicators that are always overlooked by the short-sighted trader (who is generally in a hurry and always trying to "catch up"). Your Workout Journal gives you the "eagle's-eye view." There are various sources for stock or Forex charts, the idea is to use one consistently so that each weeks' data is the same as all the others' and you will be able to compare and contrast them accurately. Most of the time these programs let you print out their charts just fine. If not, use Snagit or The Pipster.
4. To put all this together it is recommended you use pre-drilled 3-hole copy paper in your printer and keep your Trading Journal and Workout Journal nearby. Immediately after doing a screen printout--put it in its notebook. Quick and easy. Later you can take them to your favorite easy chair--the one with the good light--and peruse them to your heart's content. Yes--your spouse is right again--over time you will have a stack of colorful notebooks, but if you've studied them in a timely manner in the right frame of mind you should be able to afford that luxury.
These are what's stacked up around here:
     Slickers #26280 3-hole Notebook, 1", flexible covers, choice of colors
     3-hole pre-drilled copy paper:
          Staples 500 sheets, letter size, 8.5" x 11", 84 bright, Bar code 18103 12253
          Xerox 500 sheets, letter size, 8.5" x 11", 92 bright, Bar code 95205 01276
Here's hoping you got some good ideas--because there'll be a test after the next trade!

-- Courtesy of www.pipville.com