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.
- Be clear about which financial instruments and/or markets
want to study. For example:- Australian stocks, overseas stocks,
options, warrants, currencies, commodities, CFDs.
- Easily create one or more watchlists, and quickly and easily view the
chart of each stock in a watchlist.
- 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
- 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
price measure ruler (amount and percentage), compound candle, etc.
- 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,
analysis chart indicators - eg. Moving Average, RSI, MACD,
Bollinger Bands, Parabolic SAR, OBV, Money Flow,
etc. Most charting software packages have most indicators.
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?
toolbar - Easily add you own preferred indicators to the Indicator Toolbar,
to easily and quickly apply the indicator to a price chart.
- 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.
- 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.
- Market Scans
(or filters) - Easily specify your own selection criteria, and
one or more watch lists to find stocks that meet
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.
- 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?
- Price and
- 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.
- 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.
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?
- Trade Planner
- Use this in-built tool to quickly and easily calculate an optimum
position size and to calculate the amount of risk.
- Back testing
- Is a tool available to do back testing?
- Email and phone support in your country?
- Is training readily available?
- 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.
- User Group
web-based contact - Is there a facility to "meet" with
other users on-line in a webinar format?
- 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?
- Save complex
price chart details - Is there a facility to save
a particular price chart, including all annotations, line studies,
- Is it easy to drag one or more price charts across to another
- Are upgrades to the software included for free, and easy to apply?
- Backup data
- Is it easy to take a backup of the user-data and the charts and chart
The price data
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:
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?
- End of Day data plan -
most common, and gives a data download and update after 7:30pm each
- Snapshot plan -
snapshot of the share prices at specific times during the day.
- Dynamic Live data -
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,
120 minute intervals.
Make sure to use guaranteed quality data.
There is no recommendation here, as we don't know your own specific
However, let us say that
Robert's preferred charting software is BullCharts, with the TradeSim back
testing plug in.
is Robert Brain?
More BullCharts software linksCan BullCharts do all the things listed at left? For more details, browse the following links, especially the KnowledgeBase:
Started - Intro
Started - Next Steps
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.