Alright, now that we've got the quick tour out of the way, let's dive into the exciting stuff and start charting!
Our premier technical analysis tool is called "SharpCharts". If you've seen a bar or candlestick chart on our site, then you've seen SharpCharts in action. To create a SharpChart, all you need is a working web browser. SharpCharts themselves are browser-friendly images and can be viewed on any web-enabled device.
To quickly create a new SharpChart, simply follow these steps:
So what exactly is a SharpChart? Well, the chart itself is composed of the following four components:
The Header and Legends Area displays the chart's primary ticker symbol, the time of the most recent data on the chart, and the daily price quote for the primary ticker symbol at that time.
There is always one (and only one) Price Plot area on each chart. It contains the price line or bars for the primary ticker symbol (the symbol displayed in the upper left corner of the chart).
Technical Overlays are lines that are calculated from price and volume data and displayed on top of the main symbol's price bars. Moving averages are a common example of a technical overlay. As a StockCharts Member, you can add up to 25 different overlays to your charts.
Technical Indicators are typically plotted on different scales than the price bars, so they are displayed in separate rectangular panels that can be positioned above, below, or even behind the Price Plot area. Just like with technical overlays, StockCharts members can add up to 25 different indicator panels to a chart. The very popular MACD indicator is an example of a technical indicator.
Once you've created a SharpChart, you'll notice some gray panels both above and below the chart. These are the components of what we call the SharpCharts Workbench - i.e., the page with all of the chart settings. You can use the controls in these panels to customize your chart in any way you'd like. You can also choose the technical overlays and indicators that you want to add to your chart.
When you're finished making changes or adding new features to your chart, simply hit the "Update" button to see the results!
The Chart Attributes section below the chart allows you to change settings that affect the chart as a whole, such as period, date range, chart type, and color scheme.
To add an overlay to your chart, use the next available line in the Overlays section of the workbench below the Chart Attributes section. Select the overlay you want to add from the dropdown menu, then adjust the default parameters for the overlay as needed. Advanced Options allow you to change the style of your overlay.
Indicators are added in much the same way as overlays, using the next available line in the Indicators section of the workbench. Select the indicator you want to add from the dropdown menu, adjust the default parameters for the indicatoras needed, and then choose the desired position for the indicator panel (Above, Below, Behind Price, etc.).
A ChartStyle is a collection of specific SharpCharts settings that can be applied as a template to any symbol you want to chart. Those settings include the chart's period, date range, size, type, colors, overlays, indicators and more.
For example, you can create a specific ChartStyle for viewing stocks on an intraday basis, another for ETFs on a weekly basis and a third for Mutual Funds. In fact, as a member, you can create up to 50 different unique ChartStyles in your account.
Once you've created a chart with the settings you like, simply find and click the "Add New" button just below your chart. This will allow you to save these specific chart settings as a ChartStyle in your account. Enter a name and click "Add" to save your new ChartStyle. You can also use the "Save as Default" button to save these settings as your standard ChartStyle.
Your saved ChartStyles can be applied to any chart in the workbench using the ChartStyles dropdown (found just below any chart on the SharpCharts Workbench). The links to the right of that dropdown will also let you manage your ChartStyles.
In addition to regular ChartStyles like we just described, there is a special ChartStyle that is very important - your Default ChartStyle. Your Default ChartStyle contains the settings we use when you ask us to create a brand new chart. If you enjoy using a specific collection of indicators and chart settings and you are tired of having to re-enter those settings again and again, you can save those settings as your Default ChartStyle. Any new charts you create will then simply use the settings specified in your Default ChartStyle.
To create your Default ChartStyle, follow these simple steps:
That's it! Now, whenever you create a new chart it will appear with those settings.
In addition, you can assign up to 12 different ChartStyles to what we call StyleButtons. Located to the left of your charts, these thin gray buttons make it quick and easy to switch between your most frequently used styles in just one click. To assign a style to a specific StyleButton, use the "Edit Properties" link to the right of the ChartStyles dropdown (below the chart).
StockCharts offers all the indicators and overlays you need for in-depth technical analysis on the SharpCharts Workbench. Once you've configured a chart the way you want, you can quickly apply those settings to new charts using ChartStyles and StyleButtons.
Now that you've played around with the SharpCharts Workbench, explored some of the indicators and overlays and created a few custom ChartStyles, you're ready to start saving some of those great new charts. In our next article, we'll help you get some of the stocks and funds in your portfolio saved in your account as a new ChartList.