Understanding Charting Software (and the benefits of using SmartTrader)

Imagine this: You’re on a business trip and need to order take-out in a city you don’t know well. You scroll through the delivery apps and nothing really jumps out at you. You do this for an hour. It’s 9 p.m. Everything is now closed. You eat a protein bar and a Diet Sprite because that’s
what’s in the hotel vending machine. Major fail.

What should you have done instead? How about consulting some food blogs? Ask the front desk receptionist for recommendations. Phone a friend if one lives nearby. Check out foodie groups on social media.

In short: Make things easy on yourself. Inform your decision, then make one. That’s what charting software helps you do when you’re a trader. It helps you make informed, efficient decisions on what, when and how to trade and enhances your trading experience with tools to guide you to success using proven methods.

If you’re a trading whiz and can read a chart like no one’s business, say no more. You’re good. Maybe you could teach us a thing or two?

But for the rest of us who occasionally — okay, regularly — struggle with interpreting the data and then applying it to make our trades each day, charting software, like SmartTrader, can really help. Here’s how.

What Is Charting Software?

Charting software is basically an “easy button” for traders. With tons of tools, shortcuts, layman’s analysis and more, these platforms help traders make quick, effective decisions that can add up to big wins in the market.

These programs come fully equipped with indicators, customizable charts and data-source integration so you can sync all your favorite sources into one spot. They allow investors to perform complex technical analysis with just the click of the mouse.

How Does it Make a Difference?

There are plenty of things to consider before diving head-first into a charting program. First, consider how fluent you are in the market. If you could use a little guidance, take the plunge. If you feel comfortable with your level of fluency, consider charting software with extra enhancements like training sessions, webinars, social forums and trading rooms like SmartTrader.

Second, consider how comfortable you are with reading charts and analyzing data. We’ll explain more below on how to read stock charts.

Third, when you pick a charting platform, do your research on how many tools and features are available to you.

Once you find the right mix depending on your answers to the considerations above, you’ve found your perfect platform.

How to Read a Trading Chart

Trading charts are your source for technical analysis of historical data, mainly price and volume, to identify peaking trends and price points as to when to enter and exit the markets. The ability to read charts allows you not only to keep track of your current trades, but helps to detect a developing trend line for your future trades. Learning to read them can feel a little foreign and overwhelming at first, but with time (and some help from your charting software), you’ll learn to read them like a pro.

The plot lines, or charting, represent the price movements of an asset. Usually you’ll see them in either line, bar or candlestick form. You can adjust the timeframe of the data over a few minutes, hours, weeks, months or even years, to see performance over that period of time.

How to Choose the Right Charting Software

After deciding whether you need charting software at all, you’ll also need to pick one. There are a lot out there, but the one you choose will need to fit several criteria: tools, usability, organization strategy, budget and features.

The best charting software has lots of tools to help you perform the technical analysis needed to make a trade. SmartTrader’s intuitive Smart Tools do just that. They make your analysis instant, which means quicker decisions when you need to make them.

Usability is also essential. If you can’t navigate the software easily and get what you need in seconds, you’ve wasted valuable time already.

If the software doesn’t offer you the flexibility to organize and customize your workspace and charts, it’s probably not the right software for you. The best software will allow you some customization options so the data you want most can appear first in your view.

Some software platforms also offer features to enhance your experience. SmartTrader is creating a sense of community among traders by integrating forums and collaboration where you can share ideas. You can also learn trading strategies with courses available in the Marketplace, and join Trading Rooms that connect you to other traders.

Free vs. Fee — What’s the Difference?

There are charting software platforms available for free, and for the casual trader, they can work fine. However, if you want to step up your game and get access to all the tools at your disposal — remember, the more data you have, the better your decisions will be — you might consider a paid plan that fits your budget.

SmartTrader’s plans are offered in five levels: Free, Plus, Prime, Pro and 360Pro, each with a different price point and depth of function to fit your budget. Compare our plans here. If the plan you choose doesn’t have a function you want, you can always purchase add-on features in the Marketplace.

How Using SmartTrader Helps You Trade Smarter

SmartTrader offers extra enhancements like Smart Tools, which are algorithms that make trading decisions easier. This is important because the more data you have at your fingertips to form a better picture of the markets and trends that lie ahead, the better trader you’ll be. Of course, you can gather all this data yourself. It’s out there! But with charting software, you have the ability to make informed decisions faster, meaning you’re more efficient and more confident with your trades