Learn How TradeLog Works

Learn how TradeLog works, and what it can do for you.

Use the instructions below to guide you through using the sample data file installed with TradeLog.

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Quick Tour Video

STEP 1 – Understand TradeLog data files and account tabs:

Trade history for each tax year is stored in a TradeLog data file for that year.

TRY THIS: Locate and open the sample 2013 tax year file that was installed with your trial.
► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

  1. Run TradeLog Software on your computer.
  2. Click on Open Existing File, or go to the File menu and choose Open.

    TradeLog screenshot for opening existing file.
  3. Select the 2013 TradeLog Sample.tdf file, and then click Open.

    Can't find the sample file on your computer? Click here to download the file.
    Make sure to save it in the "documents/tradelog" folder on your computer.

    TradeLog screenshot for selecting sample file.

Account tabs allow you to maintain trade history from all of your accounts in one place.

► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

In this sample file, there are two separate brokerage accounts set up, one is named Trading Account, the other is named IRA Account. You can click on a specific account tab to view trade activity for only that account – or you can click on the All Accounts tab for a combined view.

TRY THIS: Navigate between account tabs.

  1. Try selecting different account tabs now.

    TradeLog screenshot of account tabs.

STEP 2 – Learn key features of the TradeLog window:

Summary Bar:

► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

The Profit and Loss Summary Bar provides a snapshot of key data including shares/contracts open, profit/loss, commissions, last record date, and number of records. It's important to note that the Profit/Loss field is not taxable gain or loss - we'll show you how to find that information soon.

TradeLog screenshot of the Summary Bar.

TRY THIS: Notice how the Summary Bar changes depending on your view.

  1. Select different account tabs and notice that the Summary Bar fields change to reflect the selected account.
  2. Now try selecting a specific record, notice that the Shares/Contracts Open, Profit/Loss, and Commission fields change to reflect the trade selected.
  3. Next, select the All Accounts tab, then double-click on one of the records for ticker INTU. Notice that TradeLog goes to the account tab where these trades are found – in this case the Trading Account – and isolates the INTU trades grouped together. The Summary Bar now reflects only this filtered view.


► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

The Toolbar provides quick functions especially useful for controlling your view of trades.

TradeLog screenshot of the Toolbar.

TRY THIS: Change your view using different buttons on the toolbar.

  1. Click on the blue ALL Trades button and notice any filters are removed and you are now viewing all of the trades in the selected account tab.
  2. We'll show you more about using Open Trades soon, for now you can click on the red Closed Trades button to view all of the trades that are closed.
  3. Click on Date Range and a dialog box opens, you can enter a custom date range such as 1/1/2013 to 5/31/2013 and click OK to view only the trade records that occurred in that date range. Or you can select a YEAR in the dialog box and click OK to view the records that occurred in that year.
  4. Now click on the blue ALL Trades button again to clear your filtered view.

Trade Records – The Grid:

► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

We refer to the list of trade records as the Grid. When you import trade history from your broker, TradeLog automatically places the records into the Grid.

TradeLog screenshot of the Grid.

TRY THIS: Explore key features of the Grid.

  1. Select the All Accounts tab.
  2. Most of the fields are self-explanatory: Date, Time (if your broker provides time stamps), Ticker, Sh/Contr (number of shares or contracts), Price, Comm (Commissions), and Amount of the trade record.
  3. Trades are grouped together and assigned a trade number (TrNum field). Notice that trades in the same group are also in the same color block. When a position is opened for the first time, it begins a trade group. If you close out of the position completely, that will usually be the last trade in the group.

    TradeLog screenshot of a group of trades.
  4. Notice the O/C field, this stands for Open or Close. A trade record typically either opens a new position or closes a position. The L/S field represents Long or Short.

    For example, the record for TrNum 2 in the sample file is a 12/12/2012 O/L position for 20 shares of GG. This was a buy of 20 shares. There is no matched C/L position – which would be the sale of those 20 shares.

    TradeLog screenshot of an unmatched trade.

    Scroll down to TrNum 9 and notice that the first record in that trade group is a 1/4/2013 O/S position for 50 shares of GG. This was a short sale for 50 shares. Matched to that trade is a 1/7/2013 C/S position for 50 shares of GG. This is the buy-to-cover of 50 shares which closed the short sale position.

    TradeLog screenshot of an matched trades.
  5. Are you wondering what the "W" represents in the first record of TrNum 1? The W records are wash sale deferrals attached to positions that were carried over from the previous tax year.

    TradeLog screenshot of a wash sale deferral record.

    In this case, there was a loss of ($1,243.56) on 40 shares of INTU in 2011. When the trader repurchased 60 shares of INTU on 12/26/2011, it triggered a wash sale and that loss could not be taken. Since the trader did not close those 60 shares before the end of the tax year, the loss was deferred until he finally closes the position.

    TradeLog automatically keeps track of these deferrals and creates the W records in the next-year data file. The W record represents a loss connected to the shares purchased on the same day, 12/26/2011 in this example.

    There are also M records which are used for mark-to-market accounting.
  6. TradeLog formats option contracts in a consistent standard format, an important feature if you trade options with more than one broker. Notice the record for TrNum 3 in the Grid is for an option. The standard format includes the underlying ticker (AMLN), the expiration day (16), month (FEB), and year (13), then the strike price (7), and if it's a Call or Put (CALL).

    TradeLog screenshot of an option contract trade records.
  7. The Type/Mult column identifies the type of security and the multiplier. In this file you'll see STK-1 (Stocks), OPT-100 (Options), MUT-1 (Mutual Funds), and ETF-1 (ETF/ETNs). It is also possible to have trades that are OPT-10 (Mini Options), FUT-# (Futures and other Section 1256 Contracts), SSF-100 (Single Stock Futures), CUR-1 (Currencies) and DRP-1 (Dividend Reinvestments).
  8. The Profit/Loss field is populated only on records that result in a profit or loss, such as closing records, W records and M records.

STEP 3 – Now see what TradeLog can do for you:

View Open Trades:

► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

The Open Trades View allows you to see a summary of all trades open as of a given date. In addition, you can look up current prices for the open trades in order to analyze unrealized gains/losses.

TRY THIS: See what you can do by viewing Open Trades.

  1. On the toolbar, click the green Open Trades button to display the Open Trades View. By default, TradeLog will display open trades as of the last record date in the file, 1/30/2014.

    TradeLog screenshot of Open Trades button.
  2. Try clicking the Year End Open Positions button to view the list of positions open as of 12/31/2013. You can also click on the Open as of date selection tool and select a specific as-of date.

    TradeLog screenshot of Year End Open Positions button.
  3. You can Copy or Print the list of positions – which is especially helpful when verifying year-end open positions in your data file.
  4. In the Open Trades view, you can enter current prices for all positions open by clicking on Get Current Prices.

Adjustments for Options Traders:

► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

Do you trade options? TradeLog has two important functions to automate adjustments for exercised/assigned options and to close out expired option positions.

TRY THIS: See how TradeLog automates option adjustments.

  1. Select the Trading Account tab, then under the Edit menu choose Exercise/Assign.

    TradeLog screenshot of Edit menu.

    TradeLog screenshot of Exercise/Assign menu option.

    Notice that there are two option contracts discovered by TradeLog that could be adjusted. Click the Exercise button in the lower right corner to adjust each position. Then when prompted, click Yes to save your records.

    TradeLog screenshot of Exercise/Assign function.

    You'll notice that TradeLog closes the option positions to net a zero profit/loss, then adjusts the price of the stock positions by the amount of the contracts exercised. This is what is required for proper IRS reporting.
  2. While you are still in the Trading Account tab, go to the Edit menu and choose Expire Options.

    TradeLog screenshot of Edit menu.

    TradeLog screenshot of Expire Options menu selection.

    A dialog box will open and prompt you to select a date. TradeLog will expire any options that are still showing open as of that date but should be expired. The default date is the last date in the file, in this case 1/30/2014. So just click OK to continue.

    TradeLog screenshot of Expire Options function.

    TradeLog will isolate a list of the options to expire and will create the expiration leg of the trade. You'll notice the expiration record has a zero price. Click Yes when prompted to save the records. TradeLog will then go to the Open Trades View where you can see that the expired options are no longer listed as open.

    You can either click on the Close button to exit the Open Trades View, or you can hit the Esc key on your keyboard.

Generate Tax Reporting:

The main reason active traders use TradeLog is to generate accurate tax reporting. With the sample TradeLog file we will show you the most common tax reporting used.

TRY THIS: See how TradeLog generates an IRS ready Form 8949.

► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

  1. Select the All Accounts tab so that you can run complete tax reporting. While you can run tax reports from individual account tabs, some IRS rules require cross-account adjustments (including with non-taxable accounts). When you run your reporting from the All Accounts tab, TradeLog will account for all these necessary IRS rules.
  2. Go to the Reports menu and select Form 8949.

    TradeLog screenshot of Reports menu.
  3. The report menu will open where you have several options to customize your reporting settings – just leave the default settings and click the Run Rpt button in the upper right corner.

    TradeLog screenshot of the Run Rpt button.
  4. You may be prompted with a warning that some 1099-B information is missing, just click Yes to continue and you'll view the draft report.
  5. TradeLog will generate an IRS-ready Form 8949. Scroll through and notice that all of the trades have been listed in the appropriate sections.

    On page 7 you'll see that TradeLog generates a summary page and instructions – this page helps you enter the correct totals on Schedule D or in your tax filing software.

    Page 8 is a Statement Explaining Form 8949 Differences and Adjustments. Many TradeLog users who file Form 8949 also include this statement as an attachment for the IRS – it helps explain the specific situations that have been accounted for in the Form 8949.
  6. Notice at the top of the window there are some options to Copy the report data, which can then be pasted into a program like Microsoft Excel, you can save a PDF, or also export data formatted for TurboTax® or TaxACT®.

    TradeLog screenshot of Form 8949 report toolbar.
  7. The bottom of the window provides a summary section where you can see key totals.

    TradeLog screenshot of Form 8949 report summary.
  8. Now click the CLOSE button on the toolbar, or hit the Esc key on your keyboard, to return to the Main Grid.

TRY THIS: See how to run a Gains & Losses report.

► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

  1. Go to the Reports menu and choose Gains & Losses.

    TradeLog screenshot of Reports menu and G&L selection.
  2. Keep the default settings for the report and click the Run Rpt button in the top right corner.
  3. This report contains all the same taxable reporting that was on the Form 8949 but in greater detail. For example, notice how wash sale adjustments (shown as "WS Adj") are detailed so you can see exactly what trades triggered a wash sale resulting in an adjustment to cost basis. The Form 8949 lacks this level of detail.

    TradeLog screenshot of Gains & Losses Report.

    This report can be used in some states for filing Schedule D for state tax returns. Otherwise it is used for your records to provide the details of your taxable reporting.
  4. Now click the CLOSE button on the toolbar, or hit the Esc key on your keyboard, to return to the Main Grid.

TRY THIS: See how to generate a Wash Sale Details report.

► Click here to watch us demonstrate this.

  1. Go to the Reports menu and choose Wash Sale Details to run the Wash Sales Detail Report.

    TradeLog screenshot of Reports menu and Wash Sale Details selection.
  2. This report provides details of all wash sales that occurred in the tax year of the file. The first page includes a summary to help you understand which securities have wash sale deferrals and the type.

    Notice in this sample file there are $1,234.15 in wash sales that are attached to positions open at year end. When those positions are finally closed these losses may be taken – barring additional wash sale adjustments.

    TradeLog screenshot of Wash Sale Details report with deferrals.

    You'll also notice in this example that there was a $192.22 loss permanently disallowed because of an IRA trade. This loss can never be taken because of IRS rules.

    TradeLog screenshot of Wash Sale Details report with IRA wash sales.

    The remaining pages in this report show the details of the wash sale adjustments and related trades. This report is not sent to the IRS but is important for your records so that you have details of each wash sale that affected your tax reporting.
  3. Now click the CLOSE button on the toolbar, or hit the Esc key on your keyboard, to return to the Main Grid.

There are other types of tax reports which TradeLog generates, but they are not applicable to this example account. You can click here to learn more about other reports in TradeLog.

Do more with TradeLog

This has been a quick tour of the main features of TradeLog, but you can do so much more! TradeLog includes powerful editing features, performance reporting, chart reports, and a full array of filtering functions to help you drill down into your trade history and prepare the reporting you need. You can learn more about these features in our online resources and in the user guide.

Ready to get started with your own accounts?

We have an 8-step user guide which will guide you step-by-step in using TradeLog with your own accounts. You can get started now with your TradeLog free trial – you won't have to start over when you finally purchase and activate the software! Just click here to get started at Step 1.

We also have tutorial videos to help you with each of the major steps along the way. Click here to watch the tutorials next.

If you are ready to purchase, simply click here and fill out the online purchase page.

Have questions about TradeLog or need technical support?

Don't get frustrated or waste too much time! Please submit a support request and our support team will help you with the answers and instructions you need.

Thank you for taking the Quick Tour of TradeLog Software, we hope you join the thousands of active traders and tax experts who have chosen TradeLog for their trader tax needs!