Charting software


Looking for good charting software?
What are the key features to look for?
How to avoid the traps?


You are here: Share Market Toolbox; Charting Software

Charting software key features

Here are some key features of the major charting software packages. Use it as a checklist for any package under consideration.
  1. Which instruments/markets? - Be clear about which financial instruments and/or markets you want to study. For example:- Australian stocks, overseas stocks, indexes, options, warrants, currencies, commodities, CFDs.
  2. Watchlist - Easily create one or more watchlists, and quickly and easily view the chart of each stock in a watchlist.
  3. Watchlist of all securities and indexes - Is a list of all securities included? Also a list of the indexes, and the stocks in each index? Also a list of the stocks in each GICS sector?
  4. Chart tools - It is very useful to be able to add a range of tools to the chart - eg. text, straight lines, graphic annotations (small number, smiley, bomb, arrow, etc.), boxes, circles, Fibonacci retracement and extension, price measure ruler (amount and percentage), compound candle, etc.
  5. Line studies - Easily add a line study to the chart. For example: line segment, trend line, trend channel, arc, fan, Fibonacci tools, Gann tools, Andrews Pitchfork, Guppy Count Back Line, Trend Ruler.
  6. Technical analysis chart indicators - eg. Moving Average, RSI, MACD, Bollinger Bands, Parabolic SAR, OBV, Money Flow, etc. Most charting software packages have most indicators.
  7. Customised indicators - Is it easy to adjust the parameters for an indicator using drop-down selection boxes? Is it easy to tweak the underlying code for an indicator?
  8. Indicator toolbar - Easily add you own preferred indicators to the Indicator Toolbar, to easily and quickly apply the indicator to a price chart.
  9. Template - Easily apply your own preferred settings to any chart. Set up your chart preferences in a price chart (colours, time frame, indicators, etc.) then save it as a template, and add it to the Template Toolbar.
  10. Workspace - Can you set up several price charts the way you want to view them, and then save the total layout as a workspace? eg. one daily, one weekly and one monthly chart.
  11. Market Scans (or filters) - Easily specify your own selection criteria, and automatically scan one or more watch lists to find stocks that meet your criteria. Criteria can be fundamental criteria, or price-based, volume-based or chart indicators. Automatically save the list of stocks from your last scan into a temporary watchlist for easy reference.
  12. Sample scans supplied - Some software packages provide many sample scans for you to start with - to give you some ideas. Can you easily modify the supplied scans using drop-down menu options?
  13. Price and volume alerts - Can you set an alert to advise you when a specific price level is reached, or a volume level? The alert can be triggered either when the price (or volume) breaks higher, or when it breaks lower.
  14. Sloping alert lines? - This type of alert line can be drawn on a chart in place of a trend line, and can warn when the trend is broken.
  15. Sample strategies - Are sample trading/investing strategies and ideas included with the package to give you some ideas for your own strategy? And if they are based on well-known book authors, are there references to the text books to help you with further study?
  16. Trade Planner - Use this in-built tool to quickly and easily calculate an optimum position size and to calculate the amount of risk.
  17. Back testing - Is a tool available to do back testing?
  18. Support - Email and phone support in your country?
  19. Training - Is training readily available?
  20. User Group - To meet with other users to learn more about the software from each other, and to exchange ideas about strategies and the markets.
  21. User Group web-based contact - Is there a facility to "meet" with other users on-line in a webinar format?
  22. Remember the chart annotations - Does the software easily remember your chart annotations (text, trend lines, etc.)? And then disaply them next time you view that chart?
  23. Save complex price chart details - Is there a facility to save a particular price chart, including all annotations, line studies, indicators, etc.?
  24. Multi-monitor - Is it easy to drag one or more price charts across to another computer monitor?
  25. Upgrades - Are upgrades to the software included for free, and easy to apply?
  26. Backup data - Is it easy to take a backup of the user-data and the charts and chart annotations?

The price data

You will need access to market data. It is available from a variety of sources, and in a range of quality (some providers do not back-correct the data for stock splits, consolidations, etc.).

Here are some clues for different data types:
  • End of Day data plan - is the most common, and gives a data download and update after 7:30pm each trading day. 
  • Snapshot plan - Download a snapshot of the share prices at specific times during the day.
  • Dynamic Live data - display intra-day chart with live data streaming over the web to update the chart in real time. Possible data intervals include: 1, 2, 5, 14, 30, 60, 120 minute intervals.
If you have issues with the data on your price charts, and something looks wrong, can you contact your data provider or your charting software support team and ask for guidance?
 
Make sure to use guaranteed quality data.

Recommendations?

There is no recommendation here, as we don't know your own specific circumstances.
 
BullCharts softwareHowever, let us say that Robert's preferred charting software is BullCharts, with the TradeSim back testing plug in.
 
Who is Robert Brain?


More BullCharts software links

Can BullCharts do all the things listed at left? For more details, browse the following links, especially the KnowledgeBase:

BullCharts software
Software Features
Getting Started - Intro
Getting Started - Next Steps
Robert's BullCharts KnowledgeBase
Australian BullCharts User Group

Software Trial Period

Are you looking for a free, no-obligation trial of some charting software? BullCharts is available. See more details.

The information presented herein represents the opinions of the web page content owner, and
are not recommendations or endorsements of any product, method, strategy, etc.
For financial advice, a professional and licensed financial advisor should be engaged.

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Copyright 2011-2015, R.B.Brain - Consulting (ABN: 52 791 744 975).
Last revised: 23 January, 2015.