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We all started small. Most of us had a single account through which we bought stocks from a few companies. It was so simple and easy. You just create a portfolio using Google Sheets or Excel, fill the cells with important data, and update manually.

When filling the cells, Google is your friend as it can help you find all the essential metrics for numerous stocks, which you then paste into your sheets. This sounds great and effortless, but what happens when you start expanding your portfolio?

Can you manage to track every metric, update every data and do it regularly?

The reality is that most likely you can’t  — because it’s crazy how time-consuming that would be. Many traders have a couple of accounts, through which they bought stocks from various companies. It isn’t easy to follow up on all of those stocks, which can fluctuate daily. That’s why you need an effective approach to tracking your investments.

Use the Google Finance tool

The Google Finance real-time tool is a part of the Google search engine. There, you can find all the useful current information and the most important news from the business market. You can search anything about a company using their ticker symbol and you will get data such as the current stock quote, financial news, and many more.

The best thing about Google Finance is that it’s perfectly integrated with Google Sheets, like no other tool out there. That’s very helpful if you are a new trader, as it’s maybe more simplified to handle.

What is the Google Finance function and how to use it?

Whether your game plan is buying and holding or value investing, you should have an easy way to track all of your investments in a single sheet. It seemed difficult to us too, but not until we learned of a Google Sheet cell formula called GOOGLEFINANCE.

It’s a function that can automatically pull all the stock data you want. It’s a syntax that uses five arguments:

  • Ticker
  • Attribute
  • Start_date
  • End_date
  • Interval

The first argument you are likely familiar with is the ticker symbol — it’s a code that’s used to mark companies that are listed on the stock market. A few examples are: GOOG is used for Google, AAPL is used for Apple, etc.

The ticker codes of the companies you are looking for are easily accessible through the Google Finance tool. Just search for the company and you’ll find it immediately. Adding the desired stock exchange that your stock is listed in will help avoid disparity. An example of that is to type — “NYSE:AAPL”, which means you are looking for Apple inc. stocks in the New York Stock Exchange.

The second argument is about the type of attribute you want to display. It’s usually set to “price” but you can choose other attributes such as the current trading volume, the price-to-earnings ratio, earnings per share, etc.

Remember, the attributes on display depend on if you’re using historical or current data.

This brings us to the third and fourth argument, as the start date only applies if you’re using historical data. You can type in “TODAY()” or leave it blank to display real-time data. The end date will display, as the name says — the end date, or how many days have passed from the start date.

Interval is used to specify the frequency of the data, so you have options to use like “DAILY”.

How to track stocks?

To get a better grip of how it works, let’s use an example and go through the arguments. If you want to look up the current stock prices of Dell, you’ll need to type the following: “NYSE:DELL” with price being the main attribute. The formula will then be =GOOGLEFINANCE(“NYSE:DELL”, “price”).

Adding other arguments is easy, just add starting and ending date (DATE(2021,05,04)) behind the price.

You can use other values instead of the price using the same principle — =GOOGLEFINANCE(“NYSE:DELL”, “volume”).

These are some of the basic metrics that you need to follow, but it may get confusing. Building a great investment portfolio strategy can be difficult, but there are many tools out there that can guide you through every part of the tracking process.

Final thoughts

Having a successful investment strategy requires that you define your goals. Whether your goals are making a profit in the short run or you are patiently galloping like in a marathon, tracking your investments can prove to be crucial. The truth is that it can help you make better decisions.

While tracking stocks can be tricky, creating a portfolio where you can effectively oversee all your investments at once should help you get a clear picture. Google Sheets are proven as one of the best solutions out there. And, with the help of the Google Finance tool, Google Sheets are both effective and easy to master. Their weak spot is that they are limited to a certain degree.

While Google Sheets is free to use and will help you get a good start, there are tracking tools that might provide better value. It all depends on your needs, but we believe that with Google Sheets you can still achieve a lot. Just stick to the plan and keep grinding!

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Navarre Trousselot
Navarre is the Founder of Navexa.io — a portfolio analytics service made for Australian investors. Navarre left a lucrative corporate developer job to combine two of his passions; investing and entrepreneurship. He created Navexa because he couldn’t find a portfolio analytics service that met his own high standards. Now, he’s focused on helping as many Australians as possible get more from their portfolios through the smart and creative use of data. Follow Navarre on Twitter(https://twitter.com/ntrouss) and connect with him on LinkedIn(https://www.linkedin.com/in/navarretrousselot/).

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