The Forex Smart Tools Trade Log allows you to store as many screen shots as you like to be associated with each trade. The following video gives an overview of adding screenshots:
To use screenshots, you must first enable this parameter on the Setup tab of the Log. Then to add a screenshot, click the + button on the Trade Input tab. It is then shown as a small thumbnail image. Click any thumbnail to open it up to the full size you took it as.
You can drag and hold screenshots into the order you would like to see them in, regardless of the order in which you loaded them up into the Log initially. Click on the image to move and it turns yellow – then drag it where you want it in the order of thumbnails. Having them in the right order is useful if you take sequential screenshots as you trade. You can then review them in a meaningful way.
You can store screenshots of your setup before you entered the trade, as your trade was progressing and you were managing your trade and screenshots after the trade completed – even the next day can teach you things about your own trading. (See the movie illustrating this below).
When you initially take a screenshot you can store it anywhere you like, such as your desktop, download folder or set up a folder for temporary screenshots. Once you enter a screen shot into your trade input in the Log, it is stored with the Log database and you do not need to keep the original file. These files (the database and the screenshots) are held within the Application Data folder, also known as the AppData folder. Depending on your operating system, you may find them within the Roaming folder within AppData. If you are not able to find your AppData folder, it may have been set to invisible or hidden on your computer. Consult the internet for how to make it visible for your operating system. (It’s easy to do).
The Trade Log does not make the actual screenshot for you, but there are a number of great programs that make this easy. Many also allow you to markup your screenshots before you bring them into the Log. MT4 also has a built-in camera for taking screenshots (see the bottom of this page for great tips how to use this to full advantage). The Forex Tester also has a built-in camera. Snagit is a very good free-standing program, which allows easy notation too and offers a free trial. There are many other programs as well.
The Trade Log is happy with the following image file types:
- Bitmap files (.bmp)
- GIF files (.gif)
- JPG files (.jpg)
- PNG file (.png)
If an image does not import properly or show up in your Trade Log after you tried to import it, double-check the actual image. Sometimes Windows corrupts images, and you’ll have to re-shoot them from your charting package.
To delete a screenshot, click on the thumbnail to open it up to full size. Click the delete button. You cannot delete a screenshot unless you are looking at it full size.
Magnifying your screenshots
When you click a thumbnail of a screenshot you are brought into the full-size image of your chart. There are many options there, such as export, delete and magnify. There are also buttons for previous and next, so you can view all your screenshots for a trade like a flipbook.
To understand all the options for using the magnifier, please watch this video:
Are screen shots modified when they are stored in the Log?
No. The Trade Log does not do any processing or compression to the screenshot at all. It’s still your original screenshot, just as it is. The only difference is that the Log renames it and stores it in a separate folder/directory so it can be accessed directly and permanently by the Trade Log, and included automatically in your Trade Log data backups (backup is found under the File menu).
If you think your image is fuzzy, make sure that you are not just looking at the thumbnails in the trade input tab. If you click each thumbnail, it opens up as big as your monitor, into a window that you can resize too.
One of the issues that makes screenshots appear less clear than when you took them results from taking the screenshot of the chart when it is completely filling your monitor screen – BUT notice when you view a screenshot in the Log, the chart cannot fill that same maximum size, because we include tools for exporting, magnifying, deleting, scrolling and closing the window within the border of the image shown. So to do this the image may be displayed slightly smaller than when you took it, which squeezes out some pixels. They are not removed – they are just not shown in the display.
The way to deal with that is to simply remember to make your chart a bit smaller before you take your screenshot. Don’t maximize it to fill the screen – just shrink it in a bit and then take your screenshot. Imagine it to be the same size as the picture you see when you click a screenshot thumbnail in the Log. In the example below, the monitor size was 1920×1080. The ideal size for the screenshot image, so it is displayed perfectly at a 1:1 pixel ratio in the Trade Log, would be 1827 x 980. You don’t have to be that precise, but if you make your chart window about 95% of maximum size before you take your screenshot, you’ll be very pleased with the result.
Notice that one of the options as you view screenshots is the magnifier. That will make things bigger, but it can only be as sharp as your original image. It may look fuzzier because it shows you in greater detail how fuzzy your original actually is.
If your image is fuzzy, you might consider using a different utility to capture your screenshot. That’s where the resolution is set.
If you are comparing your original screen shot to what you see in the Log, you have to make sure you are sizing them to be exactly the same size to do a side by side comparison. The Trade Log allows you to do an image export. Size the export to be the exact same display size on your monitor as your original and you can see the image comparison to have remained identical.
And sizing two images to be the same size means to do so exactly. A difference in width of 1 pixel can upset the applecart for fine-grained images. Imagine you have an image 1200 wide which contains some vertical 1px lines. If you resize the image to 1199, one of those lines has to disappear, as the screen can’t render anything narrower than 1px. If it’s resized to 1201, one of the lines (or, if you’re lucky, the space between the lines) has to be rendered 1px wider than the original. Resize the original image to the exact same size as the Trade Log version (or vice versa) and compare them then. It is difficult to get them the same size allowing for viewer chrome (the frame around the images with its controls, scrollbars etc), but if you resize carefully you’ll come to a point where they look identical.
You can also try turning off the magnifier option for different rendering options and see if that results in a viewing experience you like better.
My screenshots are hard to see in the PDF export
The Trade Log does not really have the ability to control the image quality of the exported PDFs, because of the constraints of the PDF compression engine. The images are being reduced to 96 dots per inch by the PDF creation software to fit on a printed page, which is about 695 width by 391 height for standard paper size.
But you have a lot of control over the screenshot resolution when you initially save it. If you save your images with a width of 695 pixels (and whatever height they need to be for your particular screen shot) then they will print perfectly. There will be no part of the image that drops out because it gets squished to fit. In contrast, the larger your image is beyond the 695 pixel size, the worse the printed version will look in the PDF.
If you are using the built-in feature of MT4 to take your screenshots, then you can choose the resolution size from within the save as picture dialog. If you are using a different screen capture program, most have the ability to resize images…. or simply change your window’s size before you take the screen shot. The Windows Photo Viewer app that comes with Windows will also give you feedback on your image size; look in Properties>Details to see this.
You also have the ability to export your screenshots individually as images whenever you like. Open the screenshot from the trade input tab and as you view the screenshot, click the export button on the bottom of that window. These exported images can be bundled with your PDF or shared with others as independent images at higher resolutions.
Sometimes I add screenshots but they don’t show up
Every once in a while the Trade Log just needs a little nudge. Try restarting it, or simply going to another tab (such as Settings or Analysis) and coming back to your Trade Input tab.
Can I use multiple-monitor screenshots in the Trade Log?
Well, you can. But there are a few reasons why we suggest that you don’t.
The first reason is that we don’t provide a zoom feature in the thumbnail preview you see on the trade input tab, so it’s going to be hard for you to see the details of your setups unless you open each thumbnail up. Once you open it up you can use the magnifier glass option though.
The second reason is that if you want to print a trade or save it as a PDF, your images will also be reduced to a very small resolution to fit in the PDF format or on the page;
Third is that there is a very powerful benefit you get from assembling your screens one by one and then using the previous and next buttons (at the bottom of the preview window) to scroll through them. This is much more realistic to how you look at things really anyway: your eye does not literally look at everything all at once – for example, you’re not really looking at all three charts above SIMULTANEOUSLY in real life – you look at one and see what it’s doing, then you look at the next and see what it’s doing, then you look at the next and see what it’s doing. The previous and next buttons approximate this most closely.
The previous and next buttons can also let you assemble a “flip-book” – we illustrate that in this movie here – watch the whole movie or scroll through to about 5:30 into it to see what we mean (it shows an example using daily charts, but the principle holds at any time frame, and also as you compare multiple currency pairs):
Tips and Tricks for Marking Up MT4 Charts for Screenshots
There are a number of features built-in to the MT4 trading platform for marking up charts that many people are unfamiliar with. The Forex Smart Tools Trade Log lets you store unlimited screenshots ~ so make each screenshot as meaningful as you can make it with these tips.
Do you wish you could use cool icons like these numbers 1, 2 and 3 in your charts too? Well you can. In fact, there are over 127 icons you can use if you know how.
MT4 charts give you eight kinds of standard arrows you can use to mark up your charts. While these are great for screen shots, there are times when you just wish you could be more expressive, right? Well… you can be.
Just put on any of the standard arrow symbols, like the thumbs up or thumbs down, then select it and modify its code number listed in its properties. Changing its “Arrow Code” will change the symbol. Use the numbers in the tables you find under Map of Icons to get the corresponding symbol.
To adjust the size of the character, change the width of the line, which you can do on the Common tab of the properties dialog box.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that MT5 will work with these. Oh well.
Watch this movie to see this demonstrated, as well as more great tips:
Here is the full list of all 127 icons we’ve discovered that you can use in MT4 this way: