Paper trading at TradingView: A beginner's guide

Written by
Gyula L.
Fact checked by
Tamás D.
Updated
Nov 2023

If you are just starting to trade and hesitant about risking your money with live trading, you may have heard about paper trading and wondering whether TradingView is a good place to start practicing.

We tested TradingView’s paper trading service and in our opinion it offers an excellent solution for those looking to gain confidence and expertise in trading without the risk of losing money.

My take on paper trading at TradingView

I am an active trader who uses platforms like TradingView on a daily basis, so I have a lot of firsthand experience in this area. I dug deep into TradingView's paper trading feature to find out all you need to know about what it offers, and this is what I found:

  • Paper trading is a way to practice making trades without the risk of losing money.
  • TradingView’s paper trading is a good choice for beginners to practice trading.
  • You can use it for free, and setting it up is quite simple.
  • The paper trading engine is fast and easy to use.

Paper trading, also known as simulated trading, is a platform for practicing the buying and selling of various assets, such as stocks or forex, without risking any real money.

If you’re new to trading, we definitely recommend that you use paper trading to test how trading works before diving in deep – this way, you can save yourself some serious losses that your inexperience may cause.

If you don’t have a brokerage account yet, you can just go ahead and try paper trading on TradingView, which is a popular charting platform that offers this as a feature (it’s free!).

Alternatively, you can also connect your existing trading account at some brokerages directly to TradingView. The brokerage experts at BrokerChooser have checked all of the 100+ legit and trusted brokers featured on our site and put together a list of the best brokers for TradingView to give you a starting point for some great choices.

Connect paper trading account

The basics of paper trading

TradingView is a popular platform that offers paper trading as one of its features. TradingView provides you with real-time market data, charts, indicators and tools to analyze and trade various financial instruments. You can use TradingView to paper trade stocks, forex, cryptocurrencies, futures and more.

With a paper trading platform like the one available on TradingView (at most brokers, it is called a demo account), you are given virtual, “play” money that you can use to simulate real trades on the market in a safe environment. The securities you will see are real (e.g. Apple, Google shares), and the market data you will see is also the real thing – only the money is virtual.

Paper trading technically mirrors real trading but without any actual financial exposure, so you cannot lose any real money. You can monitor your orders, track your profits and losses, and build your trading muscles and gain confidence to prepare for the real thing.

We found TradingView’s paper trading feature to be a good, user-friendly service that is an ideal place for beginner traders to cut their teeth on and gain confidence trading without risking real money. The user experience is pleasant and the paper trading engine is fast and easy to use. There are plenty of charting and trading options, making it a useful playground for more experienced traders as well to test new trading strategies.

To explore which brokers offer demo accounts, which is another option for practicing trading, click on the brokers below. You can also read our article on the paper trading service of Interactive Brokers, one of our top recommended brokers.

You can also check the list below to find out whether a connection to TradingView is available at your broker of choice.

How to set up paper trading

Here are the steps you need to take to set up and use paper trading on TradingView:

To start off, you need to create an account and log in. Although TradingView offers several paid subscription plans, you can also just go ahead and choose the free plan, called Basic, which includes the simulated (paper) trading feature.

Pick an asset that you would like to trade (e.g. Apple stock or S&P 500 index) and open its trading chart. Below the chart, you will see some tabs - click on ‘Trading Panel’.

TradingView Trading Panel

Here is where you can connect a broker to TradingView, so you can make trades directly through the charts. You will see the list of brokers available - ‘Paper Trading’ is the very first option, so it is listed just as if it was another broker.

List of available brokers at TradingView

Click on it and connect Paper Trading to your account.

Now that Paper Trading has been connected, you can check the settings and make any changes you feel necessary to suit your plans.

Paper trading account connected

Note that by default, paper trading is set with a starting account balance of $100,000.

We recommend that you change your starting balance from the default $100,000 to one that more realistically reflects your trading plans. E.g. if you plan to live-trade later on with $1,000, you should set paper trading as well to $1,000 to best mirror the trading conditions.

To change the account balance, you need to Reset the account: click on the gear icon next to your paper trading account name, and hit ‘Reset account’. Then enter your desired starting account balance.

How to reset your paper trading account

You can reset your account at any time, or also create new paper trading accounts, with different starting balances, for example.

You can also personalize the settings as you would on any TradingView chart, including what kinds of buttons you want to see, the layout, the types of symbols, scales, and lines on the charts, etc. If you are still learning, feel free to experiment here to find what works best for you.

Now that Paper Trading has been set up, you can start trading on this “demo” account.

Using TradingView for paper trading

To place a trade, you need to select the instrument you want to trade: use the symbol search in the search bar, or just change the symbol directly from the chart. By pressing ‘Trade’ at the bottom of the chart, next to Paper Trading, an order panel will appear on the right.

Trading at paper trading account

Here you can enter the details of your trade, such as the order type (e.g. market, limit), quantity, price, stop loss, and take profit.

Once you make a trade, your positions will be visible in the portfolio tab at the bottom of the screen. You will see a list of your open and closed positions, as well as your profit and loss.

Simulated positions

You can manage and track your trades from here, including modifying, deleting or closing your open positions. You can also see your order and account history.

Some additional points that are good to know about Paper Trading at TradingView:

  • The currency of the Paper Trading account is always USD, you cannot change it.
  • You can Buy (“go long”) or Sell (“go short”) any product that is available.
  • However, you cannot change leverage, it is fixed at 1:1.
  • You can also use screeners to find assets to trade (for stock, forex and crypto).

For more experienced traders, there are some useful tools available on TradingView, such as a Strategy Tester and a Pine Editor (for writing scripts). These options are available in the tabs below the chart.

Tips for beginners

For beginners using TradingView’s paper trading for practice, here are some things you should focus on:

  • Decide your budget, i.e. how much money you want to 'play around with.'
  • Set some goals, e.g. turning $10k into $15k, or not losing more than $2k.
  • Choose a trading approach: will you act as a long-term investor or more like a day trader?
  • Familiarize yourself with the trading platform, so you know what features and resources are available and what they are used for.
  • Plan some strategies, so that you have some ideas of how much profit you want, or how much losses you will accept, before selling. This helps you practice risk management.
  • Start trading. Monitor your trades and performance, and adjust and improve your strategy accordingly.

In summary, paper trading serves as a vital tool for beginners to prepare, practice, and gain experience without financial risk. It allows you to refine your skills, test strategies, become familiar with the platform, and ensure everything is in order before executing live trades with a broker. TradingView is a good choice to learn the ropes of trading and refine your skills before venturing into live trading.

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Further reading

Author of this article

Gyula Lencsés, CFA
Gyula Lencsés, CFA

Gyula is a former analyst expert and Head of Content at BrokerChooser. With over a decade in finance, he led content creation at BrokerChooser and personally evaluated some of our 100+ listed brokers. He opened real-money accounts, executed transactions, and engaged with customer services, offering firsthand assessments. Prior to BrokerChooser, he managed mutual funds in wealth management, trading stocks, ETFs, bonds, commodities, forex, and derivatives. His goal: simplify the hunt for top brokers in a dynamic investment landscape.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology.

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