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Best Free Charting Software Guide – A beginners guide

Charting software is one of the best and usually free first tools you will need when trading forex, CFDs, or other instruments. You will need to get familiar with trading tools in general, including technical indicators and charting patterns; all of which are overlayed on charting platforms.

Starting off in the world of online trading as a beginner can be quite daunting. Having the right set of charting and research tools to progress, and profit from it will be one of the keys to success.  Unlike in the world of other forms of software, there are plenty of free charting tools that offer everything you could need and we will help you find the best of them.

There are now many choices of trading platform that you can select from to trade with so make sure you choose one with advanced charting that can help you with technical analysis. An online trading platform now act as online brokers that you can use to execute, track, and analyse before you trade stocks, forex, or CFDs.

All of the online brokers and trading platforms will have pre-installed a variety of trading tools for you to use but there are also add-ons and external services you might want in addition to your brokerage account.

One of the main technical analysis tools that almost every platform will provide will be free charting software.

What is charting software?

Charting software is a program that is accessible directly to you either via desktop, or by the newly popular mobile trading apps. Forex charting software allows you to view and use drawing tools on the different markets that you are trading in a clear visual form.  

The program you use will help you chart different aspects of the forex market, including price movements, currency pairs, and other economic indicators.

By tracking these factors, charting software can help you make better trading decisions. There are many different types of software for charts available, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Finding the best free stock charts for your needs will take some trial and error, but it is worth the effort. Once you find a real time charts that you are comfortable with, you will be able to use the program to make better trading decisions and improve your overall profitability.

The trading software will have different types of free charts and overlays that will enable you to more easily spot trends and use your technical indicators. All this helps you to visualise when the best time would be to enter or exit a trade and track performance after execution as well of course!

Different charting software have their own trend analysis tools that you can use for key decision making. Choosing the one that you gel with best will not only increase your profitability, but give you a smoother user experience.

With the explosion of the digital world and now the movement towards online trading rather than the traditional face to face brokers, there are now many different charting software providers available to you. Selecting the right one that works for you can really up your trading game.    

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Why use charting software for technical indicators and analysis

One of the main advantages of online and forex charting software, is that you have access to vital trading information at your fingertips, in real time. With the fast paced world that is forex trading, it is important to have real time data access to assess the movements of the markets. This will help you make hard and fast decisions.

forex charting lines
Forex charting with lines

Anyone using technical analysis to try to gain alpha on the market, or build out a trading plan will need to use technical indicators. These technical indicators are mathematical calculations based on the price, volume, or open interest of a security. Charts are then the graphical representations of these technical indicators. Charting software takes this real time data and creates charts that can be used to help you make decisions about buying and selling securities.

There are many different technical indicators that can be used to create charts. Some common technical indicators include moving averages, Bollinger Bands, and Relative Strength Index (RSI) to name a few and we have a dedicated area that covers technical indicators to help learn the ropes.

Many different types of trading can benefit from technical analysis including areas that are traditional buy and hold markets such as stocks and now even cryptocurrencies. The instrument that almost always relies on an element of technical indicators and analysis is forex, or CFD trading. Therefore any of you who are active traders of these instruments would do well to find the best forex charting software that can help you achieve that alpha.

Most software will have both desktop versions and mobile app versions to make trading much easier. They are also usually completely free, either as an add-on piece of software, or directly provided by the broker platform.  

trading with candles on charts and technical indicators
Trading with candles on charts

Charting software is often provided as an extension to your online broker, connecting your online account with the software that is tasked to chart and analyse your chosen markets. Some brokers will provide a whole range of charts and overlays, whereas others are far more stripped back.

You will find more detail on the brokers you can trade with and their platform support here.

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What does the best free charting software look like?

As you might assume from the name, charting software looks like charts. You see things like trading volume, alongside price trends sometimes directly on your trading software. There are however different visual styles of the charts. Lines, bar charts, and candles are the most commonly used visual representations.

You will usually find on each chart the option to view open price, close price, high point, and low point. As you will see above, this is usually easier to interpret using candlesticks. Candlesticks are a key component to many a trading strategy, and would not be possible without charting software.

candlestick chart trading
Candlestick chart trading

Bar charts show the opening and closing prices for a particular security, as well as the high and low prices. This information is plotted on a graph, with each bar representing one time period.

The time periods shown on a chart and used for technical analysis usually range from 1 minute, up to 1 month, but this will depend on short term versus long term trading. Most that are involved in day trading forex or stocks will use shorter time lines from 1 to 3 minutes, whereas those that are taking a longer term view on a stock may look at the daily chart. Bar charts are a good way to see the overall direction of the market.

Candlestick charts show the same information as bar charts, but they also provide additional information about the trading range for each time period. The body of the candlestick represents the opening and closing prices, while the wicks show the high and low prices. Candlesticks can provide more information about the market than bar charts, and they are easier to interpret.

There are also line charts and point-and-figure charts, but these are less common. Line charts simply plot the closing prices for each time period, while point-and-figure charts only plot price changes when there is a significant move.

When choosing which type of chart to use, it is important to consider your trading style and the time frame that you are looking at. For example, if you are day trading, then a bar or candlestick chart would be more appropriate than a line chart. If you are taking a longer term view, then a line chart may be all that you need. Ultimately, it is up to the individual trader to decide which type of chart works best for them.

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the best free Charting Software For Trading Forex, Stocks, Or CFDs

There are plenty of different choices for you when considering which is the best charting software. As mentioned earlier in this guide, most of the brokers will provide you with free charts that are going to be more than sufficient for your requirements.

If for whatever reason that is not the case and you would like a separate piece of forex charting or stock charting software we have laid some options out below. Feel free to take a look at what we feel are some of the best free charting software options available on the market as external standalone services.

TradingView Charts

Tradingview is one of the most popular charting software programs available, and for good reason. It’s packed with features that make it perfect for both beginner and experienced traders alike.

best free charting software tradingview

The biggest advantage of Tradingview is its customization options. You can tailor the interface to look however you want, which can be a big help when trying to find information quickly. The software also offers a wide range of indicators and drawing tools, so you can really get down to the nitty-gritty when analyzing data.

One downside of Tradingview is that not everything is free. There are certain features such as multiple charts that will make sense to use, but they are behind the paywall. Luckily, there is a 7-day trial so you can test it out before committing to a paid subscription. Another thing to keep in mind is that because it’s so popular, the servers can sometimes be overloaded – which means you might experience some lag time when using the software.

Overall, Tradingview is an excellent choice for charting software, and its customization options make it a great tool for both beginner and experienced traders.

Pros

  • Tradingview is free to use for most features
  • The software is user-friendly and easy to navigate
  • Offers a wide range of features, including real-time data, huge range of indicators, and drawing tools

Cons

  • Does not offer trading functionality
  • Requires an internet connection to use

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MetaTrader

is another popular charting software program, and like Tradingview, it offers a wide range of features and customization options. However, one big advantage of Metatrader is that it’s available for free.

best forex charting software from metatrader

While Metatrader does have a lot to offer, there are a few downsides to consider. First, the interface can be a bit confusing and overwhelming for new users. Second, because it’s free, the servers can be overloaded – which again, can lead to lag time and other issues.

Overall, Metatrader is a good choice for charting software, especially if you’re on a budget. However, keep in mind that the interface can be challenging to use, and you may experience some lag time due to server issues.

Pros

  • Suitable for both novice and experienced traders
  • Offers trading functionality as well as charting features
  • The mobile app is user-friendly and easy to navigate

Cons

  • The desktop version can be complicated to use
  • Requires a download and installation
  • The mobile app is only available for Android devices

Finviz Stock Screener & Charting Software

Finviz is a great free charting software for trading online, with an additional premium version. It provides the usual real-time data, indicators, and technical analysis tools. However, what sets Finviz apart is the ability to backtest strategies and compare stocks.

finviz stock charting software screener

There is also a screener to help find stocks that match certain criteria, and a heat map feature which can be used to quickly see how sectors are performing. Overall, Finviz is an excellent all-around choice for free online charting software.

StockCharts

is another great free charting software option with a few more bells and whistles than Finviz. In addition to real-time data, indicators, and technical analysis tools, StockCharts also offers a wide variety of customization options.

The software also includes over 50 unique technical indicators and drawing tools, as well as the ability to create and save custom charts. Overall, StockCharts is a great choice for those who want a bit more control over their charting experience.

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RobinHood Stock Charts

Robinhood is a commission-free stock trading platform that allows users to buy and sell stocks without paying any fees. The company was founded in 2013 and has since become one of the most popular online brokerages.

Best stock charting software

One of the reasons Robinhood is so popular is because it offers a great mobile app that makes it easy to trade stocks on the go. Another reason is that Robinhood offers some unique features, such as fractional shares and instant deposits/withdrawals.

But perhaps the most important reason Robinhood is so popular is because it’s easy to use. And part of what makes it so easy to use is the fact that Robinhood’s stock charts are very user-friendly.

Robinhood’s charting benefits are two-fold: first, the ability to see real-time price data for stocks, and second, the ability to view stock charts.

The first benefit is particularly important for active traders, as it allows them to make informed decisions about when to buy and sell. The second benefit is also useful for investors who want to track the performance of stocks over time.

Robinhood’s charts are simple and easy to understand, making them a valuable tool for both novice and experienced investors.

Pros

  • They are simple and easy to understand
  • They can be customized to fit your needs
  • They provide real-time data
  • They are free to use

Cons

  • Not as comprehensive as other charting tools
  • Not many technical analysis tools
  • Limited historical data

TradeStation – Online Trading Platform With Free Charting

TradeStation is a popular online brokerage that also offers its own free charting software. The software includes all of the usual features, such as real-time data, indicators, and technical analysis tools.

tradestation new charting software

However, what sets TradeStation apart is the ability to create and test custom trading strategies. The software also includes a market scanner that can be used to find stocks that meet certain criteria. Overall, TradeStation is an excellent choice for those who want to trade online and need powerful charting software.

ChartIQ Real Time Charting Free

ChartIQ is a great choice for mobile traders who need access to advanced charting tools on the go. The software includes all of the features that are typically found in desktop charting software, such as real-time data, advanced charts. indicators, and technical analysis tools.

chartiq charting

However, what sets ChartIQ apart is the ability to view intraday charts offline. This is a great feature for those who need to do their charting while on the go and don’t always have an internet connection.

Overall, ChartIQ is an excellent choice for mobile traders who need access to an advanced charting platform.

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TC2000 – Rich Graphics Charting Platform

TC2000 is another popular charting software that offers both a free and premium version. The free version includes all of the usual features, such as real-time data, indicators, and technical analysis tools.

Tc2000 charting explainer

However, what sets TC2000 apart is the ability to create custom alerts and backtest strategies. The software also includes a market scanner that can be used to find stocks that meet certain criteria.

Overall, TC2000 is an excellent choice for those who want more than just basic charting features.

Yahoo Finance – Free Simple Charting For Beginners

is a great free charting software option for those who are looking for something simple. The software includes only the basics, such as real-time data, indicators, and technical analysis tools.

yahoo finance charting

However, what sets Yahoo Finance apart is the ease of use. The software is very user-friendly and even beginners will be able to quickly get up and running. Overall, Yahoo Finance is a great choice for those who want a simple charting software option.

NinjaTrader – Futures Broker With Free Advanced Charting

Pros

  • Suitable for both novice and experienced traders
  • Offers trading functionality as well as charting features
  • The software is user-friendly and easy to navigate

Cons

  • Requires a download and installation
  • Only available for Windows devices

Best Paid Charting Software Provider Is ProRealTime

Prorealtime is a powerful online charting and trading tool that allows you to create and monitor your own customised trading strategies. It includes a wide range of features, including real-time quotes, technical analysis tools, backtesting capabilities and much more.

Best paid charting software

One of the most useful features of Prorealtime is its real-time quotes. This allows you to keep track of the latest market prices and make informed decisions about your trading strategy.

Prorealtime also includes a wide range of technical analysis tools. These can be used to identify trends and market movements, and help you make better informed trading decisions.

Another useful feature of Prorealtime is its backtesting capabilities. This allows you to test your trading strategy against historical data to see how it would have performed in different market conditions.

overall, Prorealtime is a powerful online charting tool that can be used to create and monitor your own customised trading strategies. It includes a wide range of features, including real-time quotes, technical analysis tools, backtesting capabilities and much more.

Pros

  • Amazing software for trading
  • Interface is really great and user-friendly
  • You can use it for backtesting
  • Lots of helpful tutorials on their website
  • Constantly updated with new features

Cons

  • Some features can be confusing for beginner users
  • Free version has limited features
  • Customer support could be better

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Turning charting software into a trading robot

Many traders use charting alongside predictive forecasting software. Forecasting software has preset patterns installed, or algorithms which allow it to spot patterns. This when combined allows innovative automated trading, or robo trading, where you can set your entry and exit positions and they will be automatically executed on your trading platform direclty, or trigger an alert for you to take action.  

Automatic trading may sound a bit daunting to some beginner traders, but more experienced traders may find it highly useful.

If you already have a solid plan on how to execute trades, you could set all your trade parameters and go to sleep and wake up slightly richer. There are trading algorithms that remove your need for a plan, provide that is, you find a provider with a plan you can trust!

For those traders that may not want any trades being activated without their prior knowledge, alerts can be set to warn you of potential profit making recommendations instead. You can then choose to make a manual decision, or not. This then becomes more similar to trading signals, which is another very useful tool kit item.oes here!