Day trading software is the general name for any software that helps you analyse, decide on, and make a trade. It may grant you access to all the technical analysis and indicator tools and resources you need. The best software may also identify trades and even automate or execute them in line with your strategy. Whether you’re after trading software for beginners, or as an advanced trader, with more options than ever before, doing your research has never been so important.
Firstly, you’ll find out precisely how these software packages work. This page will then highlight what to look for from your broker’s software offering, whilst breaking down forex software, stocks software, and others in detail. It will also touch upon software demo accounts, equipment and the regional differences to be aware of.
Best Trading Software 2018
How Trading Software Works
Online day trading software can be broken down into four categories:
- Data – Before you start trading for the day you need to know the prices of the stocks, futures and/or currencies you want to trade. For stocks and futures, those prices will usually come from the exchange where they are traded. Forex, however, doesn’t have a central exchange.
- Charting – Smart traders will usually chart prices in charting software. Many vendors will also offer data feeds. These charting packages usually offer basic technical analysis indicators. Opt for a more advanced package and you can benefit from more indicators and the ability to backtest your strategies.
- Trade execution – With your data to hand and after analysing it on a chart, at some point you’ll want to enter a trade. For that, you’ll need some sort of trade execution software, an electronic trading platform. A lot of software today will also allow you to develop your own trading strategies with an application programming interface (API). They may also offer you automated trading capabilities specifically for day trading.
- Broker vs independent vendor – A lot of brokers will offer software directly linked to their in-house systems, but you can also use third-party applications through independent software vendors with brokers that support such integration. The benefit of third-party solutions is that they often have more advanced features and enable you to trade with several different brokers with one single interface.
Mac or Windows?
When choosing your software you need something that works seamlessly with your desktop or laptop. Any crashes or technical issues could cost you serious profit. Fortunately, the day trader is no longer constrained to Windows computers, recent years have seen a surge in the popularity of day trading software for Mac.
MetaTrader4, for example, is the worlds most popular trading platform. It’s user-friendly, so combined with an easy to navigate Mac, it’s ideal for both beginners and veterans. But whether you’re looking for the best trading software for Mac or Windows, check reviews to ensure the technical tools, data feeds, portfolio trackers, backtesting capabilities and any other features you require won’t run into compatibility hurdles. In addition, make sure the initial trading software download is free. Reputable brokers shouldn’t charge you for the installation privilege.
Mobile Day Trading Software
You can also get extremely useful mobile trading software, normally in the form of an app on iOS and Android. These aren’t designed to replace desktop applications as they lack in the capabilities area. They are best used to supplement your normal trading software.
Make sure when choosing your software that the mobile app comes free. A good app will provide succinct market updates, trends and the usual stock price tickers. If the app overloads you with information that pushes you towards impulsive decisions, stay clear.
What To Look For
Brokers will often offer standard software, but if you want additional features that may be essential for your strategies then you may have to pay significantly more. So conduct a thorough software comparison before you start trading with your hard earned capital.
Cost & Need
- Does it meet your needs? – There is no one size fits all. Different trading software will suit different people. Are you following a simple stocks strategy such as moving average tracking? Alternatively, do you want to employ a more complicated multi-conditional strategy? Will you need a direct forex feed? To make sure it caters for your needs get a free software download trial and practice day trading on it first.
- Cost – How much does day trading software cost? It’s all too easy to opt for the cheapest trading software. Whilst this may save you money in the short term, you may be sacrificing essential features your strategy requires. Adding these features later may cost you even more than if you’d invested in a comprehensive software to start with. Also, check to see if the software is available as part of the standard brokerage account, or does it come at an additional cost?
- Execution speed – Time is money and nowhere is that truer than in the day trading world. Ensure your software will allow you to enter and exit trades swiftly. Check reviews for any trade execution red flags. A few seconds could be the difference finishing being in the red or black at the end of the day.
- Accessibility – Is it a web based software offering? If so, you’ll need just an internet connection to get online, plus you’ll have zero installation, update and maintenance costs. Web based trading software is the best option for beginners. However, if you employ extremely complex algorithms, you may need a computer based installable software. Bear in mind this will be a far more expensive route to go down.
- Features – Day traders rely on short term price movements to turn a profit. What does your strategy need to monitor these price fluctuations? Will you need charts, particular data feeds, news sources, specific market access? If so, check whether these will be included as standard.
- Analytics – Does your strategy depend on technical indicators and pattern recognition? Will the software recognise arbitrage opportunities? A comprehensive analysis software will provide you with all the analytical features you need in one user-friendly bundle.
Forex Trading Software
Which is the best forex trading software available on today’s market? With hundreds to choose from, finding the right software for your needs isn’t a straightforward decision. The first question to ask would be ‘what information, resources and tools do you need to enhance your forex strategy?’
Below are some of the most popular currency trading software available:
- Trading platforms – These enable you to manually manage and execute forex trades.
- Trading signal generators – These will provide you with recommended levels for which to enter and exit positions.
- Technical analysis software – These will offer you charts of historical exchanges rates, plus a wide range of technical indicators.
- Automated forex trading software – Once you’ve pre-programmed your rules and strategy, these programmes will automatically execute trades on your behalf.
Stocks Trading Software
With today’s volatile market trends, picking the right stock trading software is essential. It is often said that there are very few stocks worth trading each day. That means identifying them before they make their big move will be what separates the profitable traders and the rest. Before you purchase, always check the trading software reviews first.
In addition, look for the following capabilities from your software:
- Market scanning – The programme should scan the market for potential opportunities and swiftly draw your attention to stocks of interest.
- Charting software – These will help you decipher market conditions, so look for software that keeps their charts user friendly, or even offers customisability options.
- Portfolio tracking – This will help you keep a close track of all previous trades, helping you to identify mistakes and hone your strategy.
- Backtesting – The software should enable you to backtest your trading systems against historical data, giving you an idea of whether and how successful your strategy will be, before you risk real capital.
Other Instruments & Markets
On top of the software for the instruments above, you can also get your hands on the following:
- Commodity trading software – There’s a rich supply of international trading software for the commodities markets. Plus, you can get your hands on some of the best free online trading and charting software around.
- Bitcoin day trading software – As the market is still growing, there are new options popping up every month. You’ll also find some of the best trading simulator software, that’s probably free.
- Emini trading software – Emini options continue to grow, so you can choose between generic systems, or specialist Emini software. You’ll also find lots of good scalping software options, with plenty of reviews on software forums.
- Penny stocks software – There is healthy competition, so if you’re looking at where to buy the best trading software for penny stocks, a quick Google will answer all your prayers in abundance. You can also find easy to use buy and sell signal software for penny stocks.
- Software for NSE – You can find free trading software for Indian markets, or you can choose from the ever growing options.
- Software for cryptocurrency – You can choose between robot, prediction software, or you can find plenty of manual options. You can also now get your hands on useful virtual money management software to keep your online wallet heavy.
Day trading journal software allows you to keep online log books. Why would you want that? Because they keep a detailed account of all your previous trades. They record the instrument, date, price, entry, and exit points. This allows you to not only fill in your tax returns with ease, but also to analyse your recent trade performance. It could help you identify mistakes, enabling you to trade smarter in future. This makes it some of the most important intraday trading software available.
Make sure when you compare software, you check the reviews first. Even the ones that proclaim to be one of the ‘top 10 day trading software’, can have some serious drawbacks. Also bear in mind, the easiest trading software won’t necessarily be the best. If it’s easy because it falls short of the essentials outlined above, your bottom line may suffer.
Having said that, consider the popular and well regarded options below:
- MetaTrader – Market leading multi-functional trading platform. Integrated with many leading brokers.
- TradingView – The leading charting package with a wealth of technical analysis tools and the ability to build and back test strategies. Can also automate trades, and copy trade.
- Linux software – Considered some of the fastest real time trading software around.
- JSE software – Considered one of the best futures day trading software available.
- MCX analysis software – One of Tim Sykes highly recommended trading software systems.
- TD Ameritrade – Some of the best live and virtual day trading software available, scoring particularly high in US reviews.
- Etrade software – Nifty trading software, that’s fast, reliable and used by traders of all levels.
- Consors software – This German software offers some of the best trading simulation software for free.
- AlgoTrader – This is ideal if you’re looking for customisable, open source software to implement automated strategies.
- NinjaTrader – allows developers to build their own integrated indicators.
- ZuluTrade – Automate trades or copy trading signals or traders. Popular in the US.
- eToro – Leading Social Trading network. Copy profitable traders – or become a ‘leader’ and earn when other traders follow your trades.
Choosing the right software is a hugely important decision, but part of that decision comes with ensuring that it works harmoniously with your day trading strategies. If you’re trading forex using a simple price action strategy, then you may have everything you need with your broker’s standard program software.
Tools such as TradingView can also help you build and back test strategies, including using your own code if desired.
However, if you have a complex strategy you may need software that has all the indicators and technical tools at a few clicks notice, to ensure you make fast and accurate decisions. Your strategy needs are likely to be greater and you may require optional advanced features that are often expensive.
If you want to test a specific software before committing to it, the best way to do it is a “demo account”. A demo account is a form of practice account where you trade for free with “play money” using the real software and its features. It’s a great way to trial softwares, strategies and your own skills and is something we highly recommend. We list all trading demo accounts here.
Tailored for specific markets
The best trading software for Australia and Canada, may fall short of the mark in Indian and South African markets. This is simply because the software in India can be extremely different to Australian softwares. Spider software, for example, provides technical analysis software specifically for Indian markets. But if you want to trade stocks in the West, you may find that software from far afield won’t give you all the access to data feeds and news resources you need to successfully trade.
There’s also the question of cost. You can get plenty of free charting software for Indian markets, but the same powerful and comprehensive software in the UK, Europe, and the US can often come with a hefty price tag. So, make sure your software comparison takes into account location and price.
The same principle applies to day trading tax software. The accounting software needs to be able to accurately calculate how much tax is payable to your country’s specific body, the IRS for example. Apart from wasting your time, any tax errors will fall on your lap, as will any fines.
Final Word On Location
If you’re British, do your homework and find out what the best trading software specifically for the UK is. If you’re Canadian, check you won’t encounter any tax problems if you invest in accounting software from South Africa.
Take Home Points
It’s worth bearing in mind that your choice of broker can restrict the tools available to you. Free day trading software may seem like a no brainer to start with, but if it comes with the sacrifice of technical tools that could enhance trade decisions then it may cost you in the long run. Remember the best day trading software for forex may not cut the mustard when you use it for stocks, so do your research and consider all the factors outlined above. Most importantly, you wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first, and your day trading software shouldn’t be any different.