I have added the option of constant volume  bar charts (as alternative to time based) for the Excel/VBA based automated trading platform

The constant volume bar option, updates a new bar after a certain amount of volume has completed. This amount should be entered into D3 of the “Live” sheet. Checks are in place to prompt if the values are not entered and the constant volume is set to override the default time based bars.

Below is an example of Constant volume bar charting. You will notice that each bar contains roughly the same amount of volume.

## MACD

The following excel file is an example of how to calculate the MACD indicator. This example shows the 5, 13, 6, setting. the MACD is in column N.  Over time I may add more excel indicator examples. As I do they will be most easily found in the right sidebar under the “How to” – “Indicators” category.

MACD example in excel.

## How to add an indicator to Simulator.xls Chart (or any Excel Stock Chart).

If you have ever tried to add a simple moving average (or any data series) to a stock chart you may have noticed that after adding the series, the chart got all messed up!

Here is a short tutorial and an example file showing how to add a simple moving average to a stock chart. I am going to use the Simulator.xls as and example. It should be noted that all the unused columns on the BarData sheet (currently K-IV) of the simulator can be used to add indicators of your choice.

Trick number one. the =NA() trick

To plot a simple moving average (SMA), the formula is =AVERAGE(E132:E150)

So that would go in R150 on BarData Sheet.

There is a problem though. Excel will try to plot something when there is not enough data to average or even when there is an error. Here is an example of a chart we are trying to avoid.

The keep the chart clean, I want to generate the error NA# whenever I do not want anything plotted.

so to keep things looking right, change the formula in R150 to =IF(ISBLANK(E132),NA(),AVERAGE(E132:E150))

which means:

“If there is not enough data for this simple moving average, then give me NA# (so excel does not plot anything) otherwise just calculate the average.”

Next just drag and copy this formula from R150 up to R19 (the first cell where it is possible to have enought data to calculate the average!)

Now all that is left is to add this moving average to the chart. It’s surprisingly tricky though.

1. Right click on the chart and select “source data”

the following screen comes up. Click on “add” and fill it in as follows. (make sure there are some numbers in column R)

2. Select OK and take a look at the chart. Things should look funny on the chart now. Don’t worry about it, just find the data series “indicator”. It should be somewhere on the chart. In my case it plotted this price moving average on the secondary axis which is volume!

Hover your mouse around the volume series looking for “indicator”. Right click on the “indicator” series and change it to primary axis from secondary axis (which will be hidden somewhere down in the volume bars if it’s on the secondary axis. It can be hard to find/click on, if it is you may want to zoom in)

Now “indicator” should be plotted up there with price, but now the price chart will be all messed up!!!!!! (see how the first bar is missing parts!)

Next you once again need to hover your mouse around the price series looking for “indicator” when indicator is visible, right click on it and select “chart type”.

The following screen comes up and just select XY (Scatter) as shown and press OK.

Now the chart will look normal again.

The last step is to properly format this scatter chart to look like a line. For the last time find the “indicator” series on the chart and right click on it. This time select “format data series” and set it as follows.

Select “OK” and the resulting indicator should like like this.

One final tip.

Use google! If you are wanting to add a stochastic indicator for example, but don’t know how to calculate it. Try the following search:

stochastic filetype:xls

This will return tons of Excel files described with the word stochastic. There is a good chance that you will find a nice example there. If you have no luck, next you should search investopedia.com, which often explains the calculations.

## Microsoft Excel as a Trading Platform

A little History

Over the last 16 years of trading, I have used a lot of trading platforms: broker platforms, third party vendor platforms and small applications written by private programmers. One thing all these platforms have had in common is that at some point I had a simple task or feature that was not already built in or impossible to implement.

As a long time user of Microsoft Excel, Excel became an obvious choice once Interactive Brokers began supporting excel with their API. I am not a programmer by formal education; however the learning curve for programming VBA for Excel is very fast. The key for me was buying a few great Excel books and using them for reference.

Why Excel may not be the best choice:

• Even standard (free) broker platforms a capable of a lot. If your trading strategies are not complex for example you only want to be able to enter stop losses and limit orders before going to work, there would be little reason to use excel as a trading platform.
• Excel can be a little too slow for scalping (entering and exiting within seconds), occasionally I have seen lag of a few seconds before excel begins sending the order.
• Although the learning curve is quick it does require a lot of time to program, error proof and test your work.
• For non Windows users or users wanting to change to another operating system, Excel would not be a likely choice.

Why Excel may be the best choice:

• Most people have at least some familiarity with Microsoft Excel. Any previous experience greatly decreases the learning curve.
• You can do almost anything in Microsoft excel. There has never been anything that I wanted to do in Excel that was impossible. I may have initiallythought it was impossible, but in the end I always found a way.
• There are fantastic resources to get help writing code. I have often asked questions on the Mr. Excel forums and received fast answers from professional programmers.
• Contrary to what many believe, you can create great charts in Microsoft excel. (The charts I post on this blog are in Excel!)
Save Money! If you already own it then you save a lot of money by not having to pay for expensive trading platforms or charting programs

Is it the best choice?
For someone with little or no programming experience but who wants to implement complex trading strategies with a high degree (limitless?) of complexity and customization Excel may be the perfect choice. It certainly has been for me.