In this post, I’m going to recommend my favorite Free Stock Charts programs.
When it comes to stock charting software, you have tons of options. Some aren’t great, while others can make you better traders.
StocksToTrade.com — our stock charting software — has been operational for a couple years now, and it offers the best features available for building your trading acumen. Some students even say it makes them feel like “masters of the universe.”
With that said, there are other stock charting software programs that I use regularly. I want to explore how stock charting software works and the benefits these programs can have on your trading strategies.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Stock Chart Software?
- 2 What Is the Best Stock Charting Software for Beginners?
- 3 Best Free Stock Charts for Technical Analysis
- 4 How to Make a Technical Chart Analysis
- 5 My Top Three Web-Based Stock Chart Programs
- 6 Conclusion
What Is Stock Chart Software?
Stock chart software allows you to generate different types of charts based on a stock’s price movements. They use various technical indicators — the number depends on the quality of the software — and many come with filters.
Free stock chart software often lets you generate charts in 1-, 3-, 5-, and 15-minute increments. These software programs draw information from just one data source, so they’re not complete, but they can still help you make better trades based on technical analysis.
The Importance of Learning How to Properly Read a Stock Chart
If you are going to take a dive deep into technical analysis, I recommend finding a software-based system. They have several more features than web-based alternatives.
But keep in mind that they’ll also be very expensive, so if you’re just starting out, or if you aren’t planning to focus on technical analysis too much, use one of the three websites I list at the end of this article.
The only way to learn how to read a stock chart accurately is to look at actual stock charts. Analyze, compare, and assess them. Watch the movements after the chart to see if your predictions were correct.
If you don’t know how to read a stock chart, you’ll have to make trades based on guesses or emotion. I don’t recommend either one.
What Is the Best Stock Charting Software for Beginners?
If you’re new to stock trading, I recommend opening an account at StocksToTrade.com. It’s a robust, comprehensive tool that provides far more than stock charting functionality, and it has built-in help guidelines to assist you in learning how to use it for better trading.
What Do You Need To Look at Before Choosing
When choosing stock trading software, consider your budget as well as your personal preferences.
The last thing you want to do after you learn a stock trading software is to have to switch to a better one when you outgrow the first. Some stock chart software programs simply lack the nuance and granularity needed to make fast, accurate decisions about your trades.
Pennystocking, for instance, involves capitalizing on volatile stocks with large positions. If you don’t have a fast charting program that will allow you to isolate patterns and view previous price movements, you won’t get many opportunities to profit.
Messy charts drive me nuts. They’re painful to look at, patterns are almost impossible to see, and my eyes get tired after just a few minutes. Often, the problem is that you’re not able to isolate a brief enough window to suss out how the stock is performing.
Cleanliness also applies to the software program’s user interface. Can you easily navigate to the screens you need? Are there shortcuts or hot keys to help you work faster? Are the fonts easy to read?
Does the software allow you to adjust technical indicator parameters? Can you choose from multiple stock types? What about watching multiple securities simultaneously.
Every trader is different. Features I look for in a stock chart trading software program might be completely different from what you want. Make a list of the features you absolutely need the software to have as well as a list of great-but-not-necessary features.
It’s kind of like buying a house. You walk in with your wish list and check off each item. If there are bonuses, you’re even more likely to buy.
Best Free Stock Charts for Technical Analysis
Let’s talk about how stock charts work for a minute.
When it comes to chart technical analysis, you’re looking at a chart with a trend line. The trend line shows how the stock’s price rises and falls over a given period of time. It’s often rendered in blue.
Then you have support and resistance.
These are the stock prices beyond which a stock is unlikely to move. Resistance is the top of the range — when a stock breaks resistance, it climbs higher than expected in price. Support sits at the bottom. The stock’s price is unlikely to fall below that line.
When a stock’s price moves outside its current levels of support and resistance, new lines are drawn. This is how traders make decisions. For instance, if you’re buying a stock, you would want to buy in at or just above the support. If you’re selling, you want to get out before it hits resistance — unless, of course, you’re anticipating a breakout.
When a stock breaks resistance, it rises above that key line and is considered a breakout. If it falls below support, it’s a breakdown. This is often when the real money gets made.
The point here is that chart technical analysis tells a stock’s story. You can look at a chart that spans 10 years or one that represents just one minute of price action. Intraday charts usually break down into far briefer periods of time because you want to buy and sell before close of market.
Best Free Candlestick Charting Software
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know how much I like candlestick charts. They’re easy to read and provide lots of nuance for the eagle-eyed day trader.
Those of you who like candlestick charts as well might like these free charting software options. They all have limitations, but they’re great for beginners on a budget. Having said that, take a look at these free stock charts websites!
I’m a big fan of TradingView because it’s practically made for day traders. You can view between one- and 15-minute timeframes.
It has a thriving social media component, though not as active as Profit.ly, and the software allows you to set up alerts. You can also view multiple charts on the same screen for comparison.
Like most stock chart programs, TradingView goes by a freemium model. You can upgrade if you want access to more in-depth features.
Create candlestick charts at StockCharts.com as well as line and bar charts. The software offers up to three years of data if you have a free account. Upgrading to a paid account for $14.95 gives you access to more data.
3. Yahoo! Finance
Yahoo! Finance is also on the simplistic side in terms of features and aesthetics. You can filter your charts based on several technical indicators, though, which proves extremely useful. You can view stock movements over up to five years in duration and view several comparison charts at the same time.
4. Google Finance
As with most of its products, Google ups the ante with a beautiful stock chart software program. It’s not nearly as complex as StocksToTrade, but the interface is a joy to use. I would recommend Google Finance if you’re already fully integrated into the Google suite of tools and feel comfortable with them.
How to Make a Technical Chart Analysis
Technical chart analysis boils down to supply and demand. When supply goes up, demand decreases, and vice versa.
A stock’s price is represented in chart format based on fluctuations. You’ll see the trend line as well as support and resistance levels. Identifying patterns in a stock’s price based on historical performance is a good way to start reading and analyzing charts.
You’re not just looking at price, though. You also have to consider volume. When volume increases, you have more opportunities to make money, either by purchasing stock or shorting it.
With fundamental analysis, valuation matters more than anything else. However, if you’re conducting technical chart analysis, valuation doesn’t matter. What matters is the stock’s trends. You can make money regardless of a company’s or stock’s valuation even if the stock only costs a few dollars and sells for just a dollar or so more.
How to Read Candlesticks Charts
As mentioned, I prefer candlestick charts to any other stock chart. They’re easy to read and highly intuitive.
As its name suggests, the candlestick pattern resembles a series of candlesticks. Some have wicks — upward shadows — while others have tails, Those with tails look like upside-down candlesticks.
The candlestick itself is called the body. It’s either hollow or filled. If it’s hollow, there’s buying pressure; a filled candlestick represents selling pressure.
The top of the wick is the high for the stock value at that particular time and the bottom of the tail is the low. The point at which the wick or tail meets the candlestick denotes the open and close prices for the stock.
Learn with Pros
If you want to learn how to read candlesticks and other chart patterns, consider signing up for StocksToTrade. It’s a highly adaptive trading tool that goes far beyond stock charting software. You can use it to paper trade, develop your trading style, and more.
Ultimately, I’d love to help more people become millionaires. My overall goal, though is to help people reach their goals. If you just want to make an extra $1,000 per month through the stock market, I’m there to assist. So are my other challenge students, who are always willing to share their experiences.**
My Top Three Web-Based Stock Chart Programs
Now we get to the stock charting software I mentioned in the beginning of this article. They’re each free and web-based, though they also offer upgrade options if you want access to more features.
Since it’s been around a long time, you can trust BigCharts.com with your stock charting needs. It allows you to use lots of technical indicators as well as several different chart types.
Unlike many other options, intraday charts are available between one and 60 minutes, giving you far more flexibility when it comes to assessing price movement. Additionally, the company offers data all the way back to the mid-1970s, so there’s plenty of historical information on long-term companies.
It’s important to understand what “real time” means when it comes to stock charting software like FreeStockCharts.com. If the data is fewer than 15 minutes old, you’re looking at BATS data, which means that it’s coming from just one source and doesn’t represent all exchange data.
However, it’s still a handy feature. FreeStockCharts.com also offers intraday charts as well as weekly, monthly, and yearly options. You can filter your data by up to 80 technical indicators, and you can save your favorite chart layouts as long as you have an account and you’re signed in.
StockCharts.com is another freemium option that ranges from $0 to $34.90 per month depending on the features you want included. It has a wider variety of chart types than the other two picks I’ve mentioned, and you get three years of historical data with a free account.
The downside, though, is that you must upgrade to a paid plan if you want to use intraday charts.
If you’re serious about becoming a trader, you need to understand how charts work. The best stock charting websites, from StocksToTrade to FreeStockCharts, help you learn how to read charts accurately and use the data to make smarter plays.
I spend a lot of time reading charts, especially since I focus on penny stocks. There isn’t much — if any — fundamental information out there, so I have to rely on volume, price movements, and patterns to know when to make my next move.
I urge you to continue your education in reading charts and to spend at least an hour or so every day studying chart patterns.