Setting Up Your Forex Charts

How you can modify and set up your Forex charts will depend in part on the software that you use, but in general there are certain features that you can adapt to your preferences. There are some basics you can take care of right off the bat so that the chart is easy for you to read and understand. The rest of the customization you make will probably be system-based and involve certain indicators you place on your charts. Software like MetaTrader allows you to store custom chart settings as templates, which you can then load into any chart of any currency on any timeframe. Forex chart templates save a lot of time and hassle.

Start out by opening up a chart of the currency pair you want to look at and then selecting the timeframe you want to see. If you are a beginner brand new to Forex, the timeframe refers to the temporal length of each candle or bar. For example, the H1 chart on the GBP/JPY refers to one hour; every candle or bar shows you how far the GBP/JPY moved in a one hour period. Zooming in and out of your chart is something different; all this does is show you the candles or bars closer up and larger or farther away and smaller. If you want to see the big picture, zoom out. If you want to look at the details, zoom in. It will not alter the timeframe.

It is a good idea to modify the colors of the chart to suit you, and also select how you want the bars to display. Some people like to see candles while others find them distracting. Make sure you set up the software to show you the open, high, low, and close of every bar however. You might consider making bullish bars green and bearish bars red (or whatever colors you prefer) so you can easily visualize the rate movement. Make the backdrop whatever color you want so that you can see.

After you have done these basics, you can then look at placing Forex indicators on your chart, like moving averages, stochastic oscillator, MACD, and so on. Do not put more indicators on your chart than you are actually going to be testing (or using). The less clutter you see, the less mixed signals you will receive. With a Forex trading method or system, you are looking to find the simplest combination of indicators you can to determine where the price is going. You can also rely on the market fundamentals if you understand them, or you can go with price patterns. Whatever method you choose, test it thoroughly before using it in real life.

You can save your chart settings (including all colors, indicators, and other settings) as a template in MetaTrader by clicking on the template icon in the upper right (the icon shows two tiny charts). If you right-click on the chart, a drop-down list will appear; you can choose Template->Save Template to save your template for later use. Then anytime you want to use those same Forex chart settings for any currency or timeframe, you can just go to the drop-down and select the template from the list.