This guide will go over the basics of Steam Trading. In this guide you'll find step-by-step instructions on how to perform a trade, view your inventory and more.
Using the trade feature on Steam will allow you to exchange in-game cosmetic items, Steam Trading Cards and games with other Steam users. You're even able to exchange items across different games, for example a Team Fortress 2 item for a Dota 2 item.
Before you can participate in Steam trading you need to have a non-limited account which has been protected by Steam Guard for at least 15 days.
Each new device or browser authenticated to your Steam account will be individually restricted for 15 days before being able to use any features requiring Steam Guard. New devices authenticated within your household and previously authenticated devices and browsers will not be restricted.
You can learn more about how to enable and use Steam Guard here. You can also follow my guide on how to enable Steam Guard below.
Whenever trading items with other users don't trade for anything that can't be added to the trade window, such as money or CD keys. There is no way to enforce or ensure that the other user will ever uphold their side of the trade, the only way to make sure trades are done fairly and legitimately is to only trade for items that can be placed in the trade window.
Every community or game item you own can be viewed from your Steam Inventory. To view your inventory you can click here or you can click on the Inventory link to the right of your Steam Profile. Learning to navigate your Steam Inventory is helpful for figuring out which items you have before you start to trade with other users.
At the top of the Inventory page you're able to select which Inventory you're viewing. Items such as Steam Trading Cards and coupons will be listed under Steam.
Once you've selected an inventory you'll be able to view the contents underneath. At the bottom of the main panel there are arrow buttons which let you cycle through the different pages. You can also search for a specific item from the selected inventory by using the search bar and filters at the top.
Clicking on each item thumbnail will display the item information on the right hand side.
At the bottom of the item information panel in the example above you'll see a button which says Sell. This means the item can be sold on the Steam Community Market. For more information on this feature you can read my guide below.
Additionally some items might have trade restrictions on them. This information will be displayed in brackets within the item information panel. For example, the item below is not able to be traded to other users.
You can also drag and drop any item thumbnails from your Steam Inventory into Steam chat windows and discussions. This allows you to quickly show other users your item.
Initializing a Trade
Before you'll be able to initialize a trade with another Steam user you'll need to be on their friends list. To add somebody as a friend click on the Add Friend button at the top right of their Steam Profile.
Once they've accepted, open a chat window with the person you want to trade with. Once you have the window open click on downwards facing arrow located at the top right of the window. When you have the menu open click on Invite to Trade.
Once you click Invite to Trade you'll see a box appear at the top of the chat window letting you know that you're waiting for the person you invited to accept.
The person invited to the trade will see a similar box at the top of the chat window. The only difference is when they click on it, the trade screen will appear.
If your friend is away or offline, you're able to send them a trade offer to respond to later. For more information on how to send a Steam Trade Offer follow the guide below.
Once the trade request has been accepted the trade screen will show up.
In order to add an item to the trade window you'll need to select the inventory it belongs to. This can be done by selecting the drop down menu at the top left.
Once you've made a selection the inventory you selected will now be displayed underneath the drop down menu. You can navigate through your inventory by using the arrow buttons and you can search for a specific item by using the search bar and filters underneath it.
To add an item to the trade drag and drop the item thumbnail into the top half of the offers box. The chat window at the bottom left of the trade screen also serves as a log file which documents what is added and removed from the trade window.
Once the other person has added their item to the trade window click on the blue ready bar underneath your offer. The bar will then turn green indicating to the other person that you've finalized your offer.
If you'd like to make an adjustment to the trade you can click on it again to remove the ready status. The ready bar will automatically revert back to blue if the other party makes a change to their offer.
Once both people have marked themselves as ready the Make Trade button will light up, to commit to the trade click on it.
Once both people have clicked the Make Trade button the items will exchange hands.