Help Screen

This help screen is for Online Portfolios section of website and is intended to be used in conjunction with your reading of the tutorials.

Open positions

When you first open the Online Portfolios section, you'll see the currently open positions from Merv's Trades portfolio, accessible for viewing by any user.

Once you start entering your own portfolio, your positions will also be displayed here.

Closed positions

When you close a position in the Current Positions screen, it automatically is transferred to this page. Typically these are positions that you have closed during the current tax year. By checking to total profit or loss to date in bottom of the spreadsheet, you can estimate your taxable gain for the year to date. (Remember that some of the gains might be long term, others short term; you can tell by looking the "days held column").

Closed Last Year

All positions closed last year are automatically transferred to this page. Typically these are positions that you have closed during the previous tax year. By checking to total profit or loss last year in bottom of the spreadshee, you can estimate your taxable gain for the year. (Remember that some of the gains might be long term, others short term; you can tell by looking the "days held column").

Archived Positions (link)

This is intended for closed positions from earlier tax periods. When no longer relevant, you may wish to begin deleting some of these positions.


Many pages of the Online Portfolio Program have toolbar with clickable buttons (on the upper-right side of the page). The purpose of some of the buttons is explained below.

By default, there're only 9 columns enabled:
Position, Symbol, Portfolio name, Last trade price, Change, Long or short, Date purchased, Expiration, Last trade time.
You can enable/disable some of the columns in the Preferences lightbox, which shows up when you press Preferences button.

Here you can also define the number of days for alerts (positions about to expire are marked with red - see Color coding below) and the end of fiscal year.
This button brings up the screen which allows you to enter a new position. The position may be long or short, and can be an option or a security holding other than an option. If you enter the option portion of a covered call, it is recommended that you also enter the underlying stock position, to avoid any error on your part in remembering the connection between the positions. Obviously the same applies to spreads and other combinations.

To open a position for edit, you can either click the position's name or select its checkbox and click Edit button.

To delete a position, select its checkbox and click Delete button. Obviously you have to be careful to highlight the correct position before using this button!

After position is expired, you can close it by checking its checkbox and clicking Close button. It brings up the close dialog box.

There are two elections: you can enter the relevant closing data, or you can select “expired,” in which case the program assumes that the option expired without action on your part on the expiration date, with the resulting profit or loss based upon the original cost data. Thus, if it is a short position, the net premium is deemed fully earned. When you close a position and move it to the "Closed This year" sheet, the date will continue to show in red until you hit the refresh button.

To copy a position from one portfolio to another, check the position's checkbox and then click Copy button. This brings up the copy dialog box. Please note that copying will just create a copy of position in the destinated portfolio, it will not delete the position from the source portfolio.

Our system refreshes all of the data automatically every 20 minutes. You can try to refresh the quotes manually by clicking the Refresh button.

Sends the spreadsheet data into an xls (MS Excel) file. You can select which columns are selected for printing in the "Preferences" screen.

You can make "snapshots" of any of your portfolios. Snapshots are basically the current state of your portfolio, kept in the program as an xls (MS Excel) file.

Color coding

The color coding rules are referenced in the main area of the program.

When a position is within “X” days (as selected by you in the “options” selection) of reaching the expiration date, the month shows up in red.

When a position goes “in the money” the price shows up in orange.

When a short option position becomes so far out of the money that the cost to repurchase is five dollars per contract or less (fifty dollars for a 10 contract position) the price turns green. This suggests the liklihood that, in a short position, your have squeezed out almost almost all of the premium income, and might wish to buy back the remaining position and rewrite for a new premium.

How to enter your own positions

Click the "New" button and enter the stock symbol.

Once the symbol is entered, continue to fill out the other fields and the program will try to identify the position's name.

Enter any portfolio name you wish. Think of portfolios as folders that keep your positions. If you want the position to go into existing porfolio, just start typing its name and the program will instantly display a list of names.