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How To Make Your Futures Trading Charts Better

, | March 8, 2024 | By

In the contemporary marketplace, pricing charts are the trader’s window to the action. Unless you craft your decisions based solely on fundamentals, having access to robust futures trading charts is a big part of achieving success. 

Step #1: Select the Best Chart for Your Needs

By far, the single most important characteristic of a pricing chart is its usability. Futures markets frequently move at break-neck speeds, demanding the utmost attentiveness from active traders. That’s why it’s important for a chart to be user-friendly ― it furnishes the trader with a comprehensive picture of price action without any mental gymnastics.

The first step to enhancing your charting application is selecting the proper format for the presentation of pricing data. Formatting is a key component of any chart because it takes live streaming data from the exchange and places it into a useful context. Without ideal formatting, a price chart is mostly worthless. 

Here are a few of the most common formats put forth by futures trading charts:

  • Open high low close (OHLC): A traditional form of charting, the OHLC format is especially handy for identifying market state. It provides essential pieces of price-specific information — such as the periodic open, high, low, and close — for detailed analysis.
  • Japanese candlesticks: Candlesticks are exceedingly popular among technical traders. They provide an intuitive visual reference to users and are ideal for spotting previously obscure patterns.
  • Line: The line chart is a tried-and-true form of price data study. It’s useful for quickly identifying market direction and eliminating any unwarranted noise.
  • Time price offering (TPO): TPO charts illustrate the relationship between price and traded volumes. Fans of Market Profile or volume analysis typical use this type of chart.

In reality, trades can choose from a vast array of futures trading charts, ranging from simple to highly specialized. Many varieties facilitate specific trading such methodologies as Heikin-Ashi candlesticks or Renko charts.

No matter what chart type you choose, it’s imperative that it compliments your technical approach to the market. For instance, if you’re a pattern trader and reference a simple line chart, your odds of success drop exponentially. In that situation, candlestick or OHLC futures trading charts would provide far superior functionality.

Step #2: Optimize Your Futures Trading Charts

After selecting an ideal chart for your trading style, make sure to optimize the presentation. Here are three ways to accomplish this objective:

  • Customize: The beauty of the pricing chart is that it’s fully customizable. You can add indicators at your leisure and manipulate data sets according to any desired parameter. In short, customize for comfort!
  • Fine-tune: Ultimately, a chart is a hands-on, visual tool. Modifying things as simple as fonts and colors can greatly boost usability. Reducing any unwarranted latencies through performing regular software maintenance and updates can further enhance performance.
  • Eliminate clutter: In futures, things move quickly. Traders are continuously hit with a barrage of data, both relevant and extraneous. When it comes to the pricing chart, it’s crucial that only information deemed useful is represented. Unless a specific data set, indicator, or tool is an active part of your strategy, then it’s clutter ― get rid of it!

If your futures trading charts are not user-friendly and easily referenced, their contributions to your performance will be limited. However, by streamlining each chart’s appearance and functionality, you’ll increase its utility multifold.

Want to Become a Chartist?

For technical traders, charting is often viewed as being an art form. Fortunately for aspiring chartists, modern software trading platforms have taken most of the guesswork out of the equation.

Download the eBook: Futures and Options Strategy Guide