Home, Home on the "Ranger" - StockCharts' New Interactive Zoom Control


Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

After a couple of big down days, the market had 3 nice up days in the middle of the week to retest the 16450 level on the Dow before closing mixed on Thursday just before the Good Friday holiday.  After my article, you can see what John, Greg and the rest of our commentators think of these developments.  (Arthur Hill is on vacation this week.)  But before that, I need to tell you about two very important happenings here at StockCharts:

The "Ranger" Brings More Interactivity to SharpCharts

I'm thrilled to announce that we've just added a new, very interactive, control to our SharpCharts charting tool that we are informally calling the "Ranger."  It allows you to quickly and easily set the start and end dates for your chart just by clicking and dragging your mouse!

To enable the Ranger control, create a SharpCharts and then find the "Range" dropdown located below the chart.  Change the "Range" dropdown so that it says "Select Start/End."  At this point, you should see a "Start" box, an "End" box and a new slider control.  That slider control is the "Ranger."  Here's a snapshot of what that area looks like with the Ranger on the right side:


So the Ranger control consists of three elements:

  1. The Date Scale - A changable set of months/years that make up the middle of the control.  This shows you the range of dates that it is possible to use for your chart.  If you use all of the dates currently shown on the scale, additional time will appear automatically.
  2. The Slider - The wider box in the middle of the date scale is a slider that represents the current date range for your chart.  The left edge of the slider corresponds to the left edge of your chart and the right edge corresponds to the right edge of your chart.  Just like with our PerfChart tool, you can click and drag on the left or right edge of the slider to change its size or you can click and drag the middle to move the slider through time.  As soon as you stop dragging, the chart will refresh with your new start and end dates!
  3. The Arrows - Clicking on either arrow will move the slider forward or backward by 1 time period.  You can also do that by pressing the left or right arrow key on your keyboard. (You may need to click on the Ranger one time with your mouse before the arrow keys will work.)

Ranger is one of those things that is harder to explain than it is to use.  Take a second and try it out for yourself.  Click here and try moving the slider around some.  You should pretty quickly get the hang of it.

Notice that as you move the slider with your mouse, the "Start" and "End" dates are instantly updated.  When you release the slider, the chart then follows suit.

To expand the range of the slider - and thus to create a longer-term chart - drag the left edge of the slider all the way to the left edge of the date scale.  As soon as you get close to the left edge, more dates will appear on the date scale.  When you release your mouse button, Ranger will update its scale to give you even more dates to choose from.  (Note: Because free users only get 3-years of chart data, the Ranger won't expand very much unless you are logged in as a member.)

One last thing - while dragging the slider around with your mouse is lots of fun, personally I think the most exciting thing about the Ranger is the way the arrow buttons/keys work - especially on a daily chart.  This allows you to move through a chart day-by-day and see how the patterns and indicator values develop over time.  That's huge.  Try it for yourself and see.

Here are a couple of additional notes about using the Ranger that you need to be aware of:

  • It cannot work in conjunction with the "Inspect" feature for technical reasons.  If you start to use Ranger, "Inspect" will automatically be disabled.  Just turn it back on when you are done setting the chart's range.
  • Intraday time periods can only be set in daily increments.  In other words, you cannot have a chart start or end in the middle of a day.
  • You can still type dates inside the "Start" and "End" boxes just like you always have.  Use of the "Ranger" slider is optional.
  • You can still use the calendar controls to set "Start" and "End" dates if you prefer those instead.
  • Once you have set Start and End dates that you like for your chart, remember to click the "Update" button to "Finalize" those values - especially if you are going to save the chart into a ChartList.

So we hope you enjoy this new control and find it useful.  Please feel free to send us feedback on it if you have some time.

- Chip

Chip Anderson
About the author: is the founder and president of He founded the company after working as a Windows developer and corporate consultant at Microsoft from 1987 to 1997. Since 1999, Chip has guided the growth and development of into a trusted financial enterprise and highly-valued resource in the industry. In this blog, Chip shares his tips and tricks on how to maximize the tools and resources available at, and provides updates about new features or additions to the site. Learn More
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