March 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm | | Comments 0

Trading With Multiple Monitors

In an age of falling prices on LCD monitors and computers, it’s becoming increasingly common among active traders to expand screen space through the use of multiple monitors. Split-screen displays are easy to come by with any dual-head video card, and I’ve seen arrays containing up to 16 screens – talk about information overload! But it is very important to remember that more isn’t always better.

So what is the best way to get started expanding your screen real estate? I think the first step to take is to take stock (pardon the pun) of what info you need in front of you throughout the trading day. Consider which charts, tickers, filters, and various windows of your trading platform (open positions, Level 2, orders, time & sales) are absolute necessities. That’s going to give you the bare minimum requirement for how much screen space you’ll need for your trading, but it’s never a bad idea to have a little space left over. Perhaps you’ll want to save some room for instant messenger or for your favorite website to keep open and read updates on during the day, so those should also be considered.

What’s important though is that you have only a little leftover space – not a bunch. What happens when there’s lots of empty screen space is that many traders tend to start to tinker with things they shouldn’t. They begin to add studies, extra charting timeframes, and basically just complicate an already good trading system by allowing too much info to clutter their thought process. The old phrase, “paralysis by analysis” comes to mind. Before long, they have a very impressive-looking setup, but they have lost their trading mojo and no longer know which way is up.

Here’s the thing about extra screens: you can always add more when you need them! My trading platform offers a huge amount of tools I could clutter up my screens with, but I try to stick with what’s important to me and let the rest be. There are only a certain number of tools which I can effectively use simultaneously.

Good trading doesn’t necessarily mean having more information at your fingertips – it’s about having the right information. Figure out what you need, gather enough screens to display it, and trade the way you know you should based on your own personal style. Just don’t add confusion to the mix in an effort to see everything at once!

Jeff White
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.
Swing Trading & Day Trading Service

[tags]Stock Market, Day Trading, Stock Trading, Investing, Swing Trading[/tags]

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