I just recently got back from a great vacation overseas. Do you think I took a laptop to trade while I was gone? You bet I did!
In the process of making sure I was taking everything I needed for trading, I realized I’ve never written about the do’s and don’ts of trading on the road.
You may have seen my other posts on how to choose a laptop for trading. Now I’d like to talk about how to get the most from that purchase decision.
Specifically, I want to give you some tips to ensure your laptop-based trading results are just as good as you would get on a desktop computer.
1. Use Multiple Monitors (Yes, you can!)
In a previous post, I showed how much your productivity increases when you trade with a multi-monitor system. I can’t think of a single experienced trader who doesn’t have this sort of set-up in their ‘home’ office.
But did you know you can get compact, light-weight travel monitors to take on the road?
For example, we sell a 15.6-inch USB-powered travel monitor that connects directly to your laptop’s USB port. It doesn’t require a separate power cable, it can stand horizontally or vertically, it weighs just 2.3 lbs, and it fits in a laptop bag (14.8 x 9.3 x 1.4 inches).
Don’t try to trade using nothing but your laptop screen. Either your trade performance will suffer, or you’ll just plain go nuts!
2. Avoid Using Wi-Fi
Even when you’re traveling, and Wi-Fi is all around you, I still recommend you plug in to the Internet whenever possible. Using Wi-Fi to trade is just too risky, for both security and performance reasons.
Look for hotels that offer wired access. On business trips, I have been known to rent a temporary office just so I can plug in. And don’t forget to take a blue Ethernet cable.
3. Use a Plug-in Mouse
I don’t know about you, but I can navigate about 10x faster with a mouse. I wouldn’t consider using my laptop’s touchpad for trading.
That being said, I recommend you use a plug-in mouse, rather than a wireless model, with your laptop.
The two biggest reasons are unpredictable batteries and connectivity issues. Either of these things can create serious problems for your trading performance.
If you absolutely insist on using a wireless mouse, please at least consider packing a back-up wired mouse. Or, at the very least, pack an extra AA battery.
4. Turn Off Your Touchpad
Have you ever had this happen? You’re entering information in a form on your laptop. Suddenly your mouse jumps to a completely different field. You have to stop, erase what you just typed into the wrong field, and find your place again.
What happened? Your left thumb and palm have inadvertently activated the touchpad. It’s maddening.
Many laptop users don’t realize you can turn off your touchpad so it’s not creating problems like this.
Depending on your laptop model, sometimes your touchpad will turn off when you plug in a mouse. But this isn’t always the case.
Turning off the touchpad works differently depending on the laptop manufacturer and model. Sometimes you have to change a setting via Control Panel. (Check your laptop manual for specific information.)
Our EZ trading laptops are customized versions of the most powerful Asus laptops. These models all use a convenient function key combination (fn-F9) to toggle the touchpad on and off.
5. Learn and Use Your Laptop’s Special Keys
When you get a new computer, do you try to figure out everything about it? Or do you just start typing? If you’re in the latter category, you may be missing out on some great productivity boosters available right there beneath your fingers.
Take some time to figure out what special keys are available on your laptop. The manufacturer put them there to help you out. So do your trading a favor and use them.
For example, on our EZ laptops, you can quickly turn off the display on all screens with fn-F7. This could be handy if you need to hide sensitive information quickly. And fn-F2 puts your laptop into Airplane mode, which is definitely handy for travelers.
Again on an EZ laptop, if you’re already a big user of shortcut keys (like ctrl-C to Copy), you might want to try the special Windows® key that’s two keys to the right of the space bar. (It looks like a square with 3 lines.) Pressing this key simulates a right-click on a mouse.
Try out and practice with your laptop’s special keys when you aren’t in a rush, so you’ll be ready to use them when you’re on the road and in a pinch.
BONUS: Download a list of the special keys available on our EZ laptops.
There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyers guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250