If you work in the finance industry or have aspirations of doing so, chances are you’ve heard of a Bloomberg terminal.

This Beginner’s Guide to Bloomberg tutorial will introduce you to one of the industry’s most widely used sources for real-time financial information. This guide is aimed at new Bloomberg users and will provide an overview of how to use a Bloomberg terminal.

If you’re a more experienced user or want to learn more about Bloomberg’s capabilities after reading this guide, keep an eye out for our Advanced Guide to Bloomberg.

In this guide, we will go over how to sign up for, install, and access Bloomberg. Then we will cover basic navigation of the system. Navigating Bloomberg is different than other systems because it uses a special keyboard with keys that are different from a standard keyboard.

Therefore, the navigation section of this guide will be important to newcomers. After gaining a working knowledge of these basics, we will then discuss some of the market and news monitor functions that are available on Bloomberg.


Some key takeaways about the Bloomberg commodities

  • The Bloomberg Terminal has been an essential data and information system for financial professionals for decades.
  • Once standalone terminals, today subscribers can download and run the Bloomberg software on PC or Mac.
  • Today’s terminal offers a wealth of news & headlines, real-time quotes in numerous markets, tools for fundamental and technical analysis, economic research, and more.

Installation and Access

If you’re interested in using Bloomberg, there are two ways to get started. The first is to subscribe to the Bloomberg service. You can do so by contacting them at (212) 318-2000 and speaking with a representative.

The representative can take down your information and have someone from the sales team contact you to discuss pricing and terms of the contract.

The second way to use Bloomberg is to access it through your university or business library. Many universities and businesses have a subscription to Bloomberg, which allows their students and employees to use the Bloomberg terminal for free.

If you have access to a Bloomberg terminal through your university or business, you can log in with your university or business credentials.

However, please be aware that Bloomberg is an expensive system and that having your own terminal may not be practical for all users.

Should you decide to subscribe to your own service, Bloomberg can help you install the software over the phone, or will come out to visit and assist you with installation. 

Note: the software can be installed on most PCs or Macs, but the company will give you a special keyboard for navigating the system.

There are a few ways to access Bloomberg, one of which is to find a public facility that has a Bloomberg terminal. Many libraries and universities have them, so that’s a good place to start your search.

The downside of this approach is that you won’t be able to customize the system, and you’ll have to share it with other users. However, for many users these drawbacks may be outweighed by the cost savings over subscribing to the system as an individual.

Basic Navigation

Bloomberg terminals are popular among those in the finance industry because they are Windows-based and compatible with Excel, a very important program for financial analysis.

Bloomberg also offers users the ability to access the terminal online and through mobile devices, via its Bloomberg Anywhere service.

This is an important advantage for portfolio managers and brokers who need to be able to access real-time market information from almost anywhere in the world.

The first thing that anyone would notices when they see a Bloomberg terminal for the first time is the keyboard. The keyboard for a Bloomberg terminal is similar to that of a standard desktop computer, with a few market sector keys instead of function keys (like F4).

The colors on the keys are also color-coded to make it more user-friendly. The function keys located at the top of the keyboard are mostly yellow and they allow the user to navigate between different asset classes, such as government bonds, corporate bonds, municipals, commodities, equity, currency, and more.

Bloomberg Tickers

Most of Bloomberg’s functions use abbreviations and tickers. For example, if you want a quote for Microsoft stock, you would type in the symbol for Microsoft (MSFT) followed by the key and then hit enter.

This brings up a menu of options relating to Microsoft stock. Since few users know more than a small fraction of the almost limitless number of available Bloomberg options, these menus present an excellent way to see what sort of analytics are available for a given security or market.

After you get the hang of using Bloomberg, you can start to use shortcuts for functions you perform often, which can save you some time.

For example, if you want to see the basic description page for Microsoft’s stock, instead of going through the menu, you can just type “MSFT US equity” and hit enter. The “des” is the abbreviation for description pages on Bloomberg, and this common function will provide a good general overview of most securities.


The green key on the Bloomberg keyboard can be your best friend, especially when you are new to the system. By hitting the help key once, you can get information about the screen that you are currently viewing.

Hitting help twice will send an instant message to the Bloomberg help desk. You can then ask your question via live chat with a Bloomberg specialist who can guide you on using the terminal as well as on whatever particular function you are trying to access.


The messaging system on Bloomberg is one of its most useful features. It allows users to stay in touch with other users and is one of the reasons that Bloomberg is so popular in the financial industry.

With the system, you can look up other users and send them messages. If you contact someone regularly, you can also set them up on speed-dial. When messaging, you have two choices:

News and Market Monitors

The Bloomberg terminal is not only a great tool for analyzing individual securities, but it also allows users to stay up-to-date with news updates and track financial market movements. With so many options available, it can be tough to know where to start. Here are a couple of common screens that new users can use as a starting point:

  • The first screen is the “News” page, which provides an overview of the latest stories in the financial world.
  • The second screen is the “Markets” page, which gives users a birds-eye view of how different markets are performing.
  • The menu functions are also a great resource for finding the information you need.