Getting used to new software can be extremely difficult for most people. When that software is as sophisticated and full of features as TradeStation is, it can be even harder. As a response to multiple emails, I have been asked to walk our readers through some of the basic setups for charting.
To use the TradeStation software, you must first understand some of the basic terminology. The “Desktop” is the outer frame of the software and contains all of the program features. If you have multiple monitors on your computer, you can create multiple desktops, one for each monitor to display data for trading.
Within the desktop are the “Workspaces.” You can have many workspaces that will change the data that you are looking at with the click of a tab. This can eliminate the need for multiple monitors as each workspace functions as a separate monitor.
To open a new chart on a workspace, you can use the shortcut bar icon on the left of your screen. The first thing you will notice when you open a default TradeStation chart is that the colors are not the same as what you see in our classes or in our articles. We changed the default background to white as it is easier to see on projectors and in print than the dark background. You can do this too by right clicking on your mouse while your cursor is on the chart. This will open a menu where you can select “Format Window.”
In the Format Window menu, you need to click on the “Color” tab to be able to change the colors of all of the chart features.
Once you create the style of chart you like, you will need the tools to change the chart’s appearance and data. If it is not already showing, you can open the chart toolbar by selecting “View” and Toolbars from the desktop menu. The icons on the toolbar offer different features. Once you learn more about the software, you can create shortcut key strokes that replace the need to click on the icons.
You can then use the toolbar to manipulate the chart.
Most traders will want to have several charts on their screen at the same time. You can either create a new chart by selecting the icon from the shortcut toolbar or you can also right click on the chart you have already created and click “copy window.” When you right click again, you can select “paste window” and you will have a duplicate chart.
TradeStation is a Windows based platform. Each chart is a window that can easily be resized by moving your cursor to the edge of the chart. You will see your cursor change into an arrow and by left clicking and holding the button, you can resize the chart.
To change the stock you are seeing in your chart, all you need to do is left click on the chart and then type the symbol you want to view and hit enter on your keyboard. You may want the same security to show up on multiple charts in different timeframes. I always view any security I am trading in at least two timeframes if not three. To have the same stock changed on more than one chart at the same time, you must link the charts. There is a small box to the top right of the chart window with an “S.” To the immediate right of the “S” is an arrow that will drop down a menu for Symbol Link. Whatever color you select will link that chart to other charts with the same color selected. The “Global Link” is for linking charts on different workspaces together.
You may want to view the broad market and an individual stock at the same time to see the market’s influence on the stock. To make sure the timeframes are the same, you can link the intervals on the charts just as you did the symbols.
So hopefully this clarifies some of the basic chart features of TradeStation’s software. It is truly an amazing platform with many features which allow you to trade the strategies you want to trade, how you want to trade it. Next week we will dive in deeper into the software features. And don’t forget to keep those questions coming!