Last updated on May 14th, 2020
As a day trader, you understand how important your day trading software is. This is not the time to cut corners since software that doesn’t work and is flawed, can cost you money.
Technology has afforded us the best of the best however with that comes confusion. There are so many choices for your software if you day trade including:
- Market Screeners – Automated scans through all your favorite markets to find an opportunity
- Trading Strategy Builders – Used to test your trading systems to see if they hold potential
- Auto Traders – Software that will automatically place your trades according to set parameters
- High-End Day Trading Platforms – The cream of the crop when it comes to your charting platforms
What Does Your Business Need?
The question is what do you require for your trading business?
Everyone that is day trading for a living will have similar needs depending on many variables including the types of markets they trade. There will be those traders who need the basics and on the flip side, those that need everything that vendors provide. Some traders are minimalists and others need everything they can get their hands on.
People that day trade stocks, for example, may choose to utilize online stock screeners such as Finviz to sort through hundreds of stocks that fit their trading criteria. The amount of time this can save is beyond measure.
Forex traders may be able to get by with a simple charting package and order entry system if they focus on only the major currency pairs. It only takes a few minutes to scan through the major currencies to see if they fit your trading criteria.
I am going to cover three important items that I find important for my own short term trading and while they may not be the best trading software available, they suit my needs and the needs of many traders I know.
Day Trading Charting Software
There is a multitude of charting packages available from free to paid trading platforms. There are many top day trading software that is available for traders of all types.
For my money, I like Ninja Trader as my choice of best charting software. There are different options for your day trading data including broker supplied and the Ninja Trader recommended Kinetick.
The standard for trading has been bars however a simple click of your mouse on Ninja Trader will give you time bars, tick, volume, and Renko. I have always found the charts easy to use and have had zero issues with them during my personal trading.
Ninja trader boasts 1000’s of add-ons plus most trading indicators you could ever use. This makes it great as technical analysis tool. As well, easy import of custom indicators for those with a much more personal trading system.
This software also boasts:
- Strategy analyzer – Backtest your trading strategy through historical trading data to see if you have an edge with your trading plan.
- Market analyzer – One screen can hold all the instruments you may be interested in for day trading and allows you to rank and sort with various criteria
- Trade performance – Probably one of my favorite features of this charting software. Historical and real-time tracking of your trading performance.
There are other day trading charts available such as Tradestation charting , Metatrader and the Think or Swim charting package but for me, hands down is Ninja Trader.
On-Chart Day Trading Software
You can enter your orders directly through your broker interface however I enjoy “one-stop shopping” and use the on-chart trading feature offered through Ninja Trader.
This is not an endorsement of NT however it is what I use and only want to give a breakdown of items I have first-hand trading knowledge with.
You are able to enter trades by either clicking on the screen or utilizing this fly-out menu on the chart itself. As you can see, it is pretty straight forward and you can also program auto trade management (ATM) which will have preset targets, stops and even trailing stops as soon as you enter the trade.
This is a huge time saver and ensures that you have placed the very important stop-loss as soon as the trade has been entered.
Entry, targets, and stop lines appear right after you enter the trade according to your trade plan. I like this as I can adjust a stop quickly around important areas without taking too much time locating the price and then entering the new stop/order position in my broker platform.
Trade Analyzer Software
Your rearview mirror is important so you don’t get surprised from behind. Think of this software as a rear view of your trading which should alert you to problems that may lie ahead with your current style and habits of trading.
It’s one thing to see your P&L today but in the grand scheme of things, are you getting closer to your goal or slowly bleeding your account dry?
This is why one of the most important pieces of trading software for day traders and traders in general, is a program to analyze your historical efforts.
I think all successful day traders are extremely aware of their results which enables them to tweak their plans before they get too far behind. The ability to compare different variables to find the most profitable times, days and setups can’t be overstated if long term success in trading is your goal.
While this list of my favorite trading software was originally for short term traders, they are also valid for those who much prefer swing/position styles of trading. This list is by no means complete however even the best day traders like to keep things simple and that includes the software and programs they use in their trading.
As well, mentioned earlier was the fact the technology keeps changing and that includes new software that is being released.
Where To Start With Trading Software?
It’s very easy to stress over which software to use and this is not a good use of your time. Keep things simple and basic until your experience shows that change is needed.
For starters, I would focus on the following three trading software items:
- Quality charting package with a data feed that is proven to be reliable. You want to ensure you are getting up to the minute price information especially since you are day trading.
- An easy way to enter/adjust your orders. You don’t want to be making errors when entering your trades so it is important that you know the order entry system inside out.
- Quality analytical software to see if your edge is truly an edge. I can’t stress enough that you must know, on a grand scale, how your trading is progressing. This is the only way you can fix trading problems before they end up costing you your trading account.
This does not have to be expensive however the adage, “you get what you pay for” comes to mind especially when looking into charting and order entry systems. Day trading software is going to be one of the most important aspects of your trading career and it makes sense that you get the best for what you can afford.