Chart selection is one of the most common task a trader novice faces when he/she starts considering trading. Majority of traders who base their decision on the results of technical analysis use charts to monitor and analyze a traded security. So, what are the main criterias that should be considering when it comes to the section of a chart provider?
To answer this question, first of all, a trader has to define his/her own trading preferences. For long-term trading there is no need to subscribe for advanced charting software. There is no need to use real- time streaming intraday charts for making a long-term decision. As a rule, daily charts should be OK for this purpose. There are plenty of free online resources that allow you to analyze majority of technical indicators on daily and delayed time-frames. Plus, if you are using online trading, your online broker should have some charts available. Of course if you base your trading on some complicated and unique technical analysis (like advance/decline data, Fibonacci numbers, etc) then, of course, you may need to consider additional sources of charting solutions.
On the other hand, if you are an intraday trader or even trade commodities, then of course, you may require streaming or real-time charts with wide range of technical indicators. While majority of online brokers have streaming charts and quotes, many of the broker's charting solutions are quite poor in selection of technical indicators, drawing ability, setting alerts, etc. In this case following criteria could be recommended to consider:
1. Are the charts updated in real-time (streaming)?
2. Is there a wide selection of technical indicators? Many providers focus only on price based technical indicators, so, it is recommended to check if in addition to the price based technical studies, there are various volume based technical indicators, breadth indicators and indicators to analyze volatility.
3. Is there is ability to make notes and do drawing on charts? Could your notes and drawing be saved for later references?
4. Can charts be scroll back in history? Will be your saved notes displayed when you browse the history?
5. Can you save different chart styles instead of setting a chart each time you open it?
6. Can you set any type of alerts on chart (sound- or email-alerts)?
7. Is there need to purchase, download and install any additional software and you have to drag your computer everywhere you go, or this is java based charting solution and you may see them on any computer in any place in the world?
8. Is there any mobile devices that allow you to see the charts?
9. Is there any tutorial on technical analysis, indicators and studies on a chart provider?s website?
There could be plenty of other questions. However, from my personal experience, it is simply recommended to write an email to customer support with a question related to technical analysis or building a trading system. Depending on an answer you will see how qualified and willing to help you customer support personal is. Believe me, you do not want to stuck with unfriendly service.