What is the best software for trading?
Author - TradeZella Team
Software for stock trading has really democratized the world of finance. Thanks to apps, platforms and programs, anyone with an internet connection can be a trader.
But where to start? Software for trading can do all sorts of things. It’s essential for analyzing, buying and selling stocks – as well as other securities like ForEx, options and futures.
Some cover one aspect of trading, like technical analysis, while others consolidate different actions – like charting and execution – in one handy package.
There are also journaling platforms – like our very own TradeZella – that help you to use analytics tools for long-term success.
The sheer amount of software available can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re just starting out. It can be hard to know which platform is worth your time, and even which kind of platforms to invest your time in.
Choosing the right software is all down to what you want to do, and how you want to do it.
Some traders like to stick with one or two platforms that suit them, while others like to mix and match. It can even be a case of personal taste. You might be more comfortable with a data-heavy screen instead of a sleek, minimalist workspace.
There are lots of great pieces of software for traders in 2023, and these are a few of our favorites right now.
1. Thinkorswim (TD Ameritrade)
This full-service platform from TD Ameritrade is one of the most popular software for stock traders, and for good reason. Combining charting and execution in an easy-to-use package, it’s been named StockBrokers.com top desktop platform for 10 years in a row.
Beginner and expert stock traders love it because it’s intuitive and simple to use. It also has a range of cool features – the developers are traders themselves, and it shows in the innovative elements.
For example, the sophisticated charting features. Charts on Thinkorswim are easy to adjust, and it’s also possible to save and share them. Super useful, if you want to look back on trades later.
The biggest USP of Thinkorswim is that it’s deeply focused on data and customization. You can build your own screen for any asset, looking at the issues that matter to your strategy – for example pricing or volatility.
The desktop app also has in-built Tetris. Fun.
Bookmap is among the best stock trading software for day traders. It combines clear data visualization with easy execution.
Its up-to-the-second market data lets traders stay on the cutting edge of price changes and trading activities.
It pulls its data in from a range of reliable market data providers to give a fuller view of what’s going on. This helps users make informed decisions.
Another benefit for day traders? Its one-click trading functionality.
Quick and easy execution is essential for day trading, when every second counts. Being able to do it in one click is a big win.
Data nerds will love the visualization tools. These use volume dots and price levels to easily show what’s going on.
Traders get a quick overview of market liquidity and trends – so it’s easier to notice hidden price patterns, and make data-driven decisions.
The Bookmap interface is also fully customizable, so you can change everything – from which data points are on display, right down to the color of the screen.
eSignal (by Intercontinental Exchange) is one of the best pieces of software for technical analysis charting. This major player has been around since 1983, so it’s got some serious heritage behind it.
Charts are highly customizable and easy to resize and move around, so you can build your ultimate ‘command center’.
The news feed is also excellent, pulling from some heavy-hitting news providers like COMTEX and Dow Jones Headline. Another USP? The Hot List, which analyzes the market’s current top movers.
As well as excellent charting and analysis, eSignal also provides easy execution and can integrate with up to 50 brokers.
MetaStock launched in 1985 – so it’s another longstanding trading software with plenty of legacy. It remains one of the most powerful technical analysis platforms around, with over 300 charts and indicators for stocks and other financial products. This includes bonds, ETFs and forex.
It’s got excellent scanning, screening, back-testing and forecasting capabilities to help traders make smart entries and exits. This robust platform pulls in data from trustworthy sources like Xenith and Refinitiv, as well as news from Thomson Reuters.
Word of warning: the sheer amount of data means that the interface can be overwhelming for beginner traders. Especially as it’s a little old fashioned – the platform is pushing 40, after all.
But, if you’ve got some experience and are looking for a serious analytics platform, it’s hard to go wrong with MetaStock.
5. VectorVest UK
VectorVest provides some of the most unique market guidance, thanks to its proprietary algorithm. It assesses a stock's overall value, safety, and timing (VST) to give traders clear buy, sell and hold signals.
It also provides tried and tested investing strategies and stock recommendations tailored to the user.
VectorVest continuously monitors the stock market to analyze, rank and graph over 18 thousand stocks. The metrics are easy to understand, so it’s easy for traders to make informed decisions.
The VectorVest platform is intuitive and easy to use, with customizable features so you can set up your screen however you like.
The comprehensive educational resources make it an excellent option for traders of all experience levels.
NinjaTrader is the best trading software to use if you’re focused on futures. Its powerful cloud-based technology provides integrated multi-device trading. This means seamless movement from your PC to your phone to your MacBook – ideal if you’re always on the move.
It also has some awesome advanced charting and analysis tools, which pull from real-time data to give you deeper insights. A must for making informed choices.
Another great benefit is NinjaTrader's order entry and management system. It’s highly efficient and flexible, allowing traders to enter and exit positions quickly and easily. Again, something you’re looking for if day trading is your game.
Additionally, the platform's advanced back-testing and simulation features give you the opportunity to test strategies and ideas in a risk-free environment.
One of the best things about NinjaTrader is its people. Customer support is excellent, with free daily livestreams and interactive market analysis. It also has forums, where a supportive community of users offer each other tips and advice based on real market experience.
With its broad range of features, TC2000 is a great trading software for all levels of investor. Its intuitive platform offers charting, stock & option screening and trading features – as well as an inbuilt journaling tool.
We love how endlessly customizable its charts are. The tool is seriously advanced, with over 70 technical indicators to look at and a vast library of chart types to choose from.
As well as being able to draw on the charts yourself – leaving notes for next time – you can also use TC2000s proprietary tools to visualize how your strategies are likely to play out.
For example, you can click on a strategy to see the legs overlaid on a chart (green for where you think the stock is going to go, and red for where you would lose). You can then play around with the lines to move between strike prices and expiration dates for insight into how multi-leg option strategies work.
8. Stock Rover
Stock Rover is a great trading software for long-term investors. This excellent research tool connects to your brokerage account – over 1,000 brokerage platforms are currently supported.
While other analytics platforms focus on technical analysis (price/volume), Stock Rover looks at fundamental indicators. That is, determining the stock’s “fair market” value. The idea is that stocks selling for less than fair market value are worth buying, and if they’re selling for more than their fair value it’s a good time to sell.
The platform’s advanced screening and analysis tools include over 650 fundamental (and technical) metrics, enabling traders to quickly identify stocks that fit their criteria.
As well as analyzing your portfolio to uncover opportunities with stocks you already own, it also offers screening so you can find new opportunities.
Techy traders will want to give TrendSpider a shot. This unique trading software offers advanced technical analysis and automation features, powered by AI and machine learning.
It uses more than 20 years of historic data to analyze market data, identifying trends and patterns. This helps you to make strategic, data-driven decisions.
TrendSpider's automated chart analysis tools – including dynamic trendlines, Fibonacci retracements, and chart pattern recognition – saves traders time and effort.
By handling the grunt work, TrendSpider lets its users focus on developing their strategy instead.
One really cool feature is the platform's back-testing and alert features. These enable traders to test their strategies, and receive real-time alerts when market conditions match their criteria.
With real-time data, an intuitive interface and customizable watchlists, it’s easy to monitor your portfolio.
Slope of Hope is one of the best technical analysis websites, and its charting software is just as excellent. It was founded by Tim Knight in 2005, after selling his charting site ProphetCharts to TD Ameritrade.
Today, Slope of Hope is known as an outstanding resource. It’s chock-full of useful education tools, as well as its free-to-use charting package SlopeCharts. This software is powerful enough to rival some paid tools.
One of the coolest features is SlopeRules. This feature lets you test trading systems using a drag and drop system. Drop rules onto a chart to test how the strategy is likely to play out, and set up an alert.
This lets you know when the market conditions are optimal for your strategy, so you can go do it for real.
The integrated virtual trading system is great for beginners – although more experienced traders might enjoy the opportunity to play around, too. This account lets you test rules and strategy with a hypothetical $100k, letting you sharpen your skills without risking any real cash.
11. Benzinga Pro
Benzinga Pro is among the best research software for stock traders. This streaming platform provides actionable insights drawn from real-time news, analysis and market data.
The platform's news feed shows breaking news – including exclusive market moving stories, including M&A deals and drug trial results.
This real-time market analysis is complemented by daily trade picks, where day traders sharing real trades live throughout the day.
This suite of tools is valuable for anyone who wants to stay up-to-date on market conditions and trends.
And, because Benzinga Pro has an audio option, you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to read the news. Key headlines and updates are read aloud, saving you precious time and screen space.
Customizable watchlists and alerts make it easy monitor the market. The alerting is especially useful for day traders tracking breakout stocks. Best of all, the workspace is intuitively designed and easy to use.
With its comprehensive range of features and resources, TradingView is a powerful and versatile charting software for stock traders. Fast, reliable and affordable, it’s also a great option for technical analysis.
It’s especially useful for day traders and swing traders. There’s something for every level. Beginners will enjoy its easy-to-use interface, while experts will enjoy digging into the details with the in-depth charts and analysis.
Clean, responsive charts combine with a huge library of strategies and indicators to make prediction much more accurate.
Plus, the built-in stock screener uses a proprietary algorithm measuring a number of different indicators. It then advises the viability of a stock on a scale from ‘strong sell’ to ‘strong buy’.
Like all good trading platforms, it has an alerts function. There’s also a strong community of users, who share tips and advice in the Trade Ideas section.
Word of warning: while long -term investors will be quite happy looking for entry and exit points with the free version, active traders will need to upgrade to a Pro account to get full functionality.
If you want to automate your trading, StreetBeat is one of the best platforms to do it with.
This AI-powered software for stock traders generates investment strategies based on user requests. By harnessing alternative data sets it can predict short-term movements, making it a great choice for day traders.
The proprietary algorithm draws on a wide range of data to build out its strategies – including real-time market data and conditions. It also looks at the user’s own unique traits such as risk profile and investment goals before providing a range of strategies to choose from. It’s pretty exciting stuff.
If you’re not keen on letting AI take the wheel just yet, you can also make manual investments based on StreetBeat’s analysis. This draws data from social media and news articles to provide traders with a sentiment score.
This gives good insight into how a particular stock is likely to fare with the public, giving you a good idea of whether it would be a wise investment or not.
We couldn’t write about the best stock trading software without mentioning ourselves. Our in-depth journaling software, TradeZella, is essential for anyone looking to become a better trader.
We believe every trader should journal – it’s the only way to identify negative (and positive) patterns to help develop the best strategies. And TradeZella has lots of cool features to really help you find your power.
As well as tracking the metrics that matter – like your profit/loss and R-multiple – our software generates in-depth reports to help you identify top set-ups, figure out which are your best and worst trading days, and basically discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Journaling with TradeZella can make you a better trader, with in-depth insights showing which of your strategies perform best. Using it is a great way to track your progress and supercharge your way to success.
The best software for stock trading: FAQ’s
What software do you need to start day trading?
Day trading wouldn’t be possible without charting and execution software. Many platforms, like Thinkorswim, integrate both. This is where you do the majority of your analysis, buying and selling.
If you want to be successful, it’s also important to have data software to help you make informed decisions.
Finally, use journaling software like TradeZella to learn from your mistakes and discover opportunities to improve in the future.
Is there any software to predict the stock market?
If you want to make informed decisions, you’ll need technical analysis software. By looking at patterns, these platforms can offer insights into what might happen to stocks in the future.
But what is the best stock analysis software? Some of the most popular include TradingView, Stock Rover, Trade Ideas, VectorVest and MetaStock.
Take some time to try a few out to decide which one suits you best.
What is the best charting software for day trading?
Charting software is essential for day traders to analyze the market. They let you compare stocks within intraday time frames, as well as analyzing price changes and other movements.
Some of the best charting software for day traders include BookMap, StockCharts, CenterPoint Securities and eSignal.
What is the best automated stock trading software?
Using automated stock trading software helps take some of the strain out of managing your positions manually. They sell when they see profit potential.
Not everyone is happy giving up this level of control, but if you do want to use automated trading software there are a few popular options.
For example Streetbeat, eToro, AvaTrade and Fineco.
Wherever you trade, it’s important to keep track
There are so many great pieces of software out there for beginner and experienced traders, it can be hard to know which ones to choose. But, while you seek out the best tools for charting and execution, it’s also important to keep journaling in mind.
While you can journal using a free spreadsheet template or even with a pad of paper, the best way by far is to use software like TradeZella.
All of your stats, the ability to replay trades in real-time and tailored advice to help you reach your full potential – it’s way more than a trading journal.
Sign up for TradeZella and get ready to reach your goals.