Computerized Investing > First Quarter 2012

Technical Analysis & Charting Programs

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by Wayne A. Thorp

Security analysis falls into two broad categories—fundamental and technical. The goal of fundamental analysis is to analyze the characteristics of a company in order to estimate its value. Technical analysis, on the other hand, does not concern itself with the value of the underlying security. Instead, it focuses strictly on the price movements. By analyzing the supply and demand of a security, technicians attempt to forecast its future price movement or trend. The tools of technical analysis are charts and technical indicators, which help to identify patterns that suggest future price movements.

Those looking for technical analysis and charting software will perhaps find a more diverse collection than that offered in other categories of investment software. Given all the choices, it is vital that you identify the type(s) of analysis you wish to perform as well as the securities and markets you wish to track and then purchase an appropriate program. Before making your decision, however, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the features and functionalities of a variety of packages to find the one that suits your needs.

This comparison of technical analysis and charting software covers programs catering to “mainstream” technical analysis, and, thus, to our more typical reader. We have focused on those programs offering the functionality sought by the average technician. For this reason, you will not find “pure” trading platforms or niche products focusing on a singular analysis technique highlighted here. At a minimum, all of the programs covered here handle stocks, offer charting capabilities, and have a library of technical indicators. You can use these programs for end-of-day analysis, and they also handle intraday analysis on either a real-time or a delayed basis.

The comparison grid examines the key features you should expect to find with a full-featured charting and technical analysis platform. When available, we also offer a link to the company’s website for a listing of the specific technical indicators the program offers.

Our discussions here are based on the latest versions of the software available at the time of this writing (late November). It is always a good idea to verify features with the company before buying.

What to Consider


With technical analysis, the bulk of data used in the analysis process is price and volume data. When looking at technical analysis software, you will find that some programs are tied to an “in-house” data service while others are compatible with one or more third-party data vendor(s). No matter the data source, be sure to budget for the potential additional cost of the data, and don’t be surprised if, over time, data costs eclipse the initial purchase price of the program.

The following are some of the typical data issues to consider when evaluating a technical analysis and charting program and when seeking out a compatible data vendor.

End-of-Day Versus Intraday

Price and volume data, the key inputs of technical analysis, can be delivered to the end user on either an end-of-day (EOD) or intraday basis. End-of-day data summarizes activity during the course of the trading day. A single day’s trading data usually consists of the opening (first trade) price, the highest and lowest prices of the day, the closing (last trade) price, and the total trading volume (number of shares or contracts bought and sold over the course of the regular trading day). In contrast, intraday data provides periodic updates throughout the trading day on either a real-time or a delayed basis. A premium is usually paid for this more timely data.

Ultimately, your investment time horizon will dictate whether you require end-of-day or intraday data. Investors with longer time horizons should be able to make do with end-of-day or delayed intraday data, while short-term investors and traders would want to consider a real-time data feed in order to more closely monitor market movements.

Supported Data Vendors

Technical analysis programs that use data from third-party providers require you to choose a data provider separately from the program software.

The programs highlighted here vary in their support of data vendors. Some programs, such as TC2000 from Worden Brothers, rely on a sole data source. These “self-contained” packages do not allow users to shop around for a data provider.

Others give users a wide variety of compatible data vendors from which to choose. Investor/RT, for example, currently supports 10 different data services. When there is a broader selection of data vendors, you have a better chance of finding one that meets your exact data needs—and budget. The comparison grid indicates which data vendors each program supports.

Some programs can automatically collect price and volume data en masse from free sources, such as Yahoo! Finance. However, Investor/RT is the only Editor’s Choice program here that allows you to download historical end-of-day data from a free data source.

Data Importing and Exporting

If you already have a database of historical price and volume data, it may be worthwhile to note the data formats that can be imported into a given program. This functionality can also save you time and money, since you do not have to start over from scratch. MetaStock and TC2000 are two industry standards when it comes to data formatting, and many programs support the importing of such data. In addition, ASCII and CSV text formats are popular.

Split, Dividend & Distribution Adjustments

Since the accuracy of charting and technical analysis is predicated on the accuracy of the underlying price and volume data, it is important that the data you are using correctly reflect certain events or, at a minimum, that you can easily adjust the data yourself. Such events include stock splits as well as dividend and distribution payments.

Programs that automatically adjust for stock splits will back-adjust any historical data you already have when a stock split occurs.

While a chart that has been adjusted for dividends or distributions does not reflect the historical prices at which you could have bought and sold the security, it does reflect the equivalent prices at which it traded. Such adjustments allow the user to more accurately track price performance over time.

All three of our top picks will automatically adjust data for stock splits, dividends and distribution payments.


Chart analysis is a cornerstone of technical analysis. In fact, many technicians rely solely on what they see on a chart when attempting to predict future price movements.

Chart Types

There are several popular chart types used by technicians, and the programs here differ in the types of charts they offer.

The most common chart types are line and bar charts, and all of the programs in this comparison offer these two chart types. Line charts plot a single price point—usually the closing price—over time. In contrast, bar charts may show up to four data points for a given period—the open, high, low and closing (OHLC) prices for a day, week, month or other period.

Some other common chart types you may run across include candlestick, equivolume, and point & figure. A proper discussion of these charts is beyond the scope of this article. However, you can find articles dealing with charting in the online Computerized Investing archive (

Chart Templates

A chart template or layout allows you to specify the characteristics of a chart, such as the time period displayed, data periodicity—such as daily, weekly or monthly—chart type, and any indicators or drawing tools you wish to be displayed. Programs that allow you to create custom templates generally allow you to save them for future use as well.

Templates are especially useful if you view multiple securities in the same manner. Instead of having to specify the chart characteristics for each security, all you need to do is specify the security and apply the template, and the program does the rest.


A technical indicator is the mathematical manipulation of price and/or volume data, the results of which are then typically displayed on a chart. The number and type of indicators built into a program are important factors to consider when selecting a technical analysis program. However, the raw number of indicators should not be the sole consideration—more is not necessarily better. Instead, the emphasis needs to be on ensuring that the program includes the indicators important to your analysis.

When available, the comparison grid has links to the websites of the various software companies where you can see a list of the technical indicators each program offers.

Beyond a set of predefined indicators with default values used in calculating them, the ability to modify indicators to fit your particular trading needs and style is a useful feature. Modifications allow you to adjust factors such as the number of time periods used in calculating a given indicator. For example, the most common time periods for a daily moving average are 50 and 200 days, but programs allowing modification of indicators give you the opportunity to adjust the period to one you are more interested in.

Some of the more advanced programs allow you to create custom indicators. While the methodology differs across programs, in general you enter a formula into a spreadsheet-like module or use a “wizard” that walks you through the creation process.

Filtering & Alerts

In generic terms, screening is the method of taking a large universe of securities and narrowing it down to a more manageable number with similar characteristics. In the context of technical screening, you are isolating securities that exhibit certain technical properties, such as price or volume behavior, moving average breakouts, or overbought or oversold conditions based on various indicators. Users are typically able to specify both the universe they wish to screen and the criteria they wish to use; the program will then generate a list of securities matching the criteria. All three of the Editor’s Choice programs in this comparison allow you to perform some type of screening or scanning based on technical indicators as well as fundamental data.

Another useful feature is the ability to receive alerts when certain “technical” events take place. These events can include meeting a specific value for a technical indicator, generating a buy or sell signal through a technical system, or even violating a trendline. Programs may give you the option of selecting groups of securities to watch—such as those held in a portfolio or a “watchlist” of stocks—and then alert you when any of the prices move by a certain percentage (up or down), or when pre-determined price levels are met. These alerts can take the form of on-screen pop-up windows, email alerts, or messages sent to a cell phone or hand-held device.

Trading Systems

Many traders develop trading systems—sets of trading rules for when to buy, sell, short or cover—based on technical indicators, and they use a technical analysis program to indicate automatically when these rules are triggered. The rules underlying a trading system can involve a single indicator or a collection of confirming indicators matched to specific market conditions.

Generally, you tend to find trading systems in the higher-end technical analysis packages. All of our top picks offer system trading; however, TC2000 requires its StockFinder module, and with Investor/RT you must purchase the Trading System Tools add-on for an additional monthly fee. You can modify these systems to match your own trading patterns and the securities you track. Advanced traders may also want to develop their own technical trading systems. Again, our top picks allow you to build systems from scratch, although Investor/RT and MetaStock do so in a more straightforward and intuitive manner than TC2000.

When developing a new trading system, it is useful to test it using historical price and volume data to get an idea as to how it may perform going forward. To backtest a system, users specify a time period in the past, and the test provides an indication of how the trading system would have performed over that period.

It is important to implement assumptions that mimic the “real world” as closely as possible when backtesting a trading system. Programs allow users to account for such items as slippage (the amount by which a security price may move between the time you place an order and when it is actually filled) and broker commissions. Other items to consider are stop-loss methods, user-defined entry and exit points, and whether you wish to trade on long positions, short positions, or both.

The final element of system backtesting is optimization, where the program identifies the optimal variables that generate the highest gain or smallest loss for a trading system over the test period. However, be aware of the popular saying regarding optimization: You can torture the data until it tells you what you want to hear. Investor/RT and MetaStock offer system optimization, while TC2000 does not.

When analyzing the overall effectiveness of a system, it is useful to have access to system reports that provide such measures as rate of return, performance relative to buy-and-hold, maximum drawdown, and the profitability of each individual trade. These reports allow you to see the transactions you would have made if you were following the system and measure the success (profitability) and riskiness of the strategy over the testing period. The ability to rank and compare the performances of trading systems is a valuable tool for finding out how different systems perform in different market conditions.

Program Help & Support

Technical analysis programs tend to be some of the more complicated software packages you will run across. Therefore, you want to make sure you have the resources to get to know the program.

All three of our Editor’s Choice programs offer in-depth user resources to help you get the most out of your investment. Through their respective websites or online help systems, each offers multi-media tutorials or guides that help you navigate through the programs.

Long gone are the days of receiving printed manuals. Now, when you run into trouble using a software package, you can usually refer to a help system within the program. If the program’s help system isn’t as useful as you would like it to be, ideally there will be human support available through email or telephone. All of the programs in this comparison offer, at a minimum, free email support.

Some software companies have even built online user “communities” where you can interact with fellow users. At these forums, you can exchange ideas relating to trading and gain insight on how to get the most from your technical analysis package. Users of the three Editor’s Choice programs will find discussion forums that will allow you to interact with other users to exchange ideas.

  Investor/RT & End-of-Day 10.4 Standard &
Professional w/Trading System Tools
MetaStock 11 End-of-Day TC2000 Version 12
Recommended Platform Windows XP, Vista, 7; Mac OS X 10.5 (Intel Mac only) Windows XP, Vista, 7 Windows XP, Vista, 7; Mac OS X 10.4+ (Cloud only)
Company Linn Software Inc. Equis International Worden Brothers Inc.
Telephone -770 761-8551 -800 508-9180; use Priority Code: AAII -800 776-4940
Investor/RT: $40/mo. Std., $60/mo. Pro; 
EOD: $20/mo. Std., $30/mo. Pro; 
Trading System Tools:$20-$40/mo; 
12% discount for 1-year prepayment
$499, end-of-day program only; $59/mo.
or $565/yr., program & end-of-day data
free software; Gold: $29.99/mo. or $299/yr.;
Platinum: $89.99/mo. or $899.90/yr
Demo Available yes yes (30-day money-back guarantee) yes (14 days free for Gold service)
AAII Discount 20% off full price with annual prepayment 10%  
Markets Followed
stocks, forex, futures, mutual funds, bonds, indexes, sectors/indus, options stocks, forex, futures, mutual funds, bonds, indexes, sectors/indus, options stocks, indexes, ETFs, mutual funds,
forex, sectors/indus
Data Data type used
streaming real-time (not w/end-of-day), intraday,
end-of-day Gold: end-of-day, BATS intraday real-time;
Platinum: intraday real-time
Historical database included yes yes yes
Compatible data vendors
DTN.IQ, DTN IQFeed, DTN Market Access,
eSignal, Interactive Brokers, Infinity Futures, Rithmic, TransAct Futures, Yahoo! Finance, Zen-Fire
Reuters DataLink Worden Brothers
Data downloader provided yes yes yes
Unattended data downloading yes yes yes
Data import formats
ASCII, MetaStock, TickerWatcher AIQ, ASCII, Excel,MetaStock, Quattro/123, TC2000  
Data export formats ASCII DIF, Excel, Quattro/123 ASCII
Automatic split/distribution adjustments yes yes yes
Security merge feature yes yes  
Charts Popular chart types
line, bar, candle, point & figure line, bar, candle, candlevolume, point & figure, equivolume line, bar, candle, point & figure
No. of predefined chart templates 14 15+ 7
User-defined chart templates yes yes yes
Scaling (linear, semi-log) linear, semi-log linear, semi-log linear, semi-log
Zoom/unzoom charts yes yes yes
Print charts yes yes yes
Indicators No. of predefined indicators/drawing tools 170+ 375+ 70+
Company list of indicators/drawing tools library.htm
Customize/modify existing indicators yes yes yes
Create new indicators yes (Pro) yes yes
Show indicator values on charts yes yes yes
Filtering Ranking based on
drawing tool, indicator/study, technical system, fundamental data drawing tool, indicator/study, technical system indicator/study, fundamental data
Screening based on
drawing tool, indicator/study, technical system, fundamental data drawing tool, indicator/study, technical system indicator/study, fundamental data
Alerts based on
drawing tool, indicator/study (Pro), technical
system (w/Trading System Tools), fundamental data
drawing tool, indicator/study, technical system indicator/study
Trading Systems/Models Number of predefined systems sample only (w/Trading System Tools) 50 70+ (StockFinder Backscanner w/Platinum)
Securities handled
stocks, futures, mutual funds, options stocks, futures, mutual funds, options stocks, ETFs
Customize/modify existing systems yes yes yes
Create new systems yes yes yes
Rank/compare multiple systems yes yes yes
System backtesting yes yes yes
System optimization yes yes yes
System performance reports yes yes  
System signals plotted on charts yes yes yes
System stop methods
trailing, max-loss, breakeven, price target trailing, max-loss, breakeven, 
profit target, inactivity
trade length, trailing stop, stop loss,
percent change
Accounts for slippage/commissions yes yes slippage
Help Tutorial yes yes yes
Online help yes yes yes
Online indicator/trading system library yes yes yes
Online users forum yes yes yes
Phone/email support yes (email only) yes yes

Editor’s Choice Picks

Investor/RT 10.4

Investor/RT by Linn Software is unique in that it comes in both Mac and Windows versions. Furthermore, the Mac version offers the same features and functionality as the Windows version, a rarity among investment analysis software. The program satisfies the needs of active technical traders, offering intraday analysis, several different chart types, custom indicator and trading systems creation, system optimization, order placement, and portfolio management functions. The program also supports one of the largest collections of data vendors of any technical analysis package.

There are four main versions of the program—Standard and Professional versions supporting either intraday real-time data (Investor/RT) or end-of-day data (Investor/RT End-of-Day). The Standard edition offers charting, predefined technical indicators and drawing tools, custom instruments, and news monitoring. The Professional edition offers added functionality through the Investor/RT user language, called Real Time Language (RTL). With RTL, users can perform custom scans, create custom indicators and trade signals, and build advanced indicators. You can also purchase an add-on called Trading System Tools for either the Standard or Professional editions of Investor/RT; this allows you to develop, optimize and implement technical trading systems either in real-time or on an end-of-day basis.

Investor/RT offers several popular chart types—including line, bar, candlestick, and point & figure—along with a library of over 170 technical indicators. In addition, it provides candlestick pattern recognition. Users may select from any of the over 40 predefined patterns, and the program will mark each pattern’s occurrence on the display—even on an intraday basis.

Investor/RT also offers position tracking and portfolio management features not found in many trading platforms. Investor/RT can track long or short positions and gains and losses on stocks, mutual funds, futures, and equity/index options. The system also tracks transactions—such as cash, dividends, commissions and interest—in order to calculate the annualized rate of return for each open position.

Investor/RT 10.4 supports several data services, including real-time futures data from Zen-Fire, Infinity Futures and TransAct Futures. One nice feature is Investor/RT’s support of free historical quotes and fundamental data from Yahoo! Finance. However, its usefulness is limited by the fact that you are only able to download about three years of daily data per stock, definitely not enough for backtesting of a trading system, let alone analyzing long-term trends.

With Investor/RT Professional, users can create custom indicators, trading systems (using the Trading System Tools add-on), and scans with RTL. The scan function allows users to identify trading signals being generated. Scans can be based on technical indicators, fundamental data, and current or historical prices and can be run using tick or minute data as well as daily, weekly and monthly data. Once a scan is completed, the results are presented in a quote page that can be sorted on a number of data elements.

The Trading System Tools add-on provides trading system development, testing and optimization to Investor/RT. Users can organize trading signals into a set of trading rules and then backtest these rules over any desired time period. To analyze the results of backtesting, this module also offers detailed reports. The trading system optimization feature allows users to backtest ranges of values for the variables used in the trading system to find the optimal values and periodicity. Once a trading system has been developed, backtested, and optimized, trading system deployment allows for the plotting of trading systems on a chart on a real-time or end-of-day basis. With the trading system deployment module, users can set up “signal actions” that communicate trading orders when trading system rules are triggered. These orders can then be sent to simulated trading portfolios within Investor/RT or to real brokerage services. You can deploy trading systems as indicators on a chart with buy and sell signals. The Trading System Tools add-on costs $40 per month ($20 a month for Investor/RT End-of-Day users).

With version 10.4, Investor/RT offers direct-broker access for Rithmic, Zen-Fire and Interactive Brokers. This means you can place orders within Investor/RT and the program will convey them directly to one of these brokerages. Furthermore, the program will automatically update your portfolio to account for the trades you make.

Overall, Investor/RT has features and functionality that rival any high-end technical analysis package. Mac users will also appreciate having such a robust system at their disposal. A wide variety of both end-of-day and real-time data sources is an attractive feature for those wishing to “shop around” for a data provider. The ability to download free historical data from Yahoo! Finance is another welcome (and money-saving) offering. Furthermore, Linn Software has done an excellent job of producing online tools, including an array of video tutorials, to educate their users on how to get the most from the software.

MetaStock 11 End-of-Day

MetaStock—from Equis International, a Thomson Reuters company—has been a leader in the technical analysis software arena for over a quarter of a century. Offering a comprehensive collection of technical indicators, charting capabilities, and system development and optimization tools, coupled with unrivaled ease of use, MetaStock has established itself as one of the most complete end-of-day programs of its kind.

MetaStock goes beyond the standard chart offerings of most charting platforms to offer nine different charting styles—line, bar, candlestick, equivolume, point & figure, Kagi, Renko, three-line break, and candlevolume. The program’s SmartCharts feature automatically saves your charts, along with the underlying specifications, so you do not have to recreate a chart the next time you open it—a valuable time-saving feature. You can also create chart templates that allow you to apply the same set of indicators and studies to different securities. You can even create a custom default template that is always used when you open a new chart.

MetaStock comes with over 375 technical indicators and line studies. To help gauge the direction of the overall market, MetaStock offers over 90 “broad market indicators”—monetary indicators as well as momentum indicators for both the NYSE and NASDAQ. There are also over 40 “adaptive indicators” with dynamic look-back functionality based on volatility, cycle, or a combination of both. This is in contrast to standard indicators, which use a fixed look-back period, such as a 50-day moving average. In addition, you can create your own indicators using the program’s indicator builder.

The Explorer function in Meta­Stock allows you to find, compare, filter, rank, search and list multiple indicator values for multiple securities, including stocks, currencies, options and futures. Users can view a list of securities that are generating buy or sell signals or that have broken through some predefined barrier dealing with price or indicator. MetaStock also ships with a set of predefined scans, and you can create and save custom scans with the same programming language used to create custom indicators.

One useful educational tool for novices and experts alike is Meta­Stock’s Expert Advisors. These advisors—there are currently 70—help you interpret technical analysis signals. Expert alerts provide indications of when current market conditions meet your criteria. There are also Expert highlights that color-code individual prices or significant chart patterns. You can use these Expert systems to receive text, audio or video alerts when certain conditions are met. Using the indicator builder, you can also create your own market advisors.

MetaStock ships with 50 trading systems and allows you to create your own, all of which can be backtested and optimized with the enhanced system tester. You can run one system on a single security, many systems on a single security, one system on many securities, or multiple systems on multiple securities. The program also offers features such as the ability to change and edit variables in testing—entry and exit points, commissions and slippage—to help create a more realistic picture of the trading scenario’s results.

Although MetaStock is an extremely robust analysis tool, its developers have also taken great pains to make it very user-friendly. The program offers a comprehensive on-board help system. In addition, the MetaStock and Equis websites offer user forums, free webinars (online seminars) and video tutorials, and real-time online support chat.

Users can purchase MetaStock End-of-Day and a subscription to the Reuters DataLink data service for $59 a month ($565/year), or they can purchase the MetaStock software along with The Downloader (Equis’ data downloading software) for $499. With the Downloader you can import data in a variety of formats, including ASCII text and TC2000 formats.

MetaStock offers everything a seasoned trader needs—custom indicators, trading system development, backtesting, optimization and scanning capabilities. Despite its potentially intimidating lineup of features, MetaStock is also one of the most user-friendly programs we have ever run across. Furthermore, the extensive educational resources available within the program and at the MetaStock/Equis website allow neophytes to grow into the program. When combined with Equis’ highly rated, and free, technical support, you have one of the top products for technical analysis.

TC2000 Version 12

TC2000 from Worden Brothers is our final top pick among technical analysis and charting software. The program offers a combination of solid charting and technical analysis capabilities, ease of use, and unique features, making it one of the most popular analysis tools on the market today. Add Worden’s award-winning data feed, and you have a program that suits the needs of most beginner and intermediate technicians.

Perhaps the most exciting development among all our top picks in this comparison is the release of TC2000 version 12, which is now part of “the cloud.” In a nutshell, this means that the data used by the program, as well as all your user preferences, are stored on Worden servers. This also allows you to run the program through a Web browser instead of installing it to your computer (although this option is still available for Windows users). What does being online mean? Mac users can now run TC2000 on Mac OS X.

TC2000 comes in end-of-day (Gold) and streaming real-time (Platinum) versions. Actually, the Gold version does offer “real-time” quotes, provided by the BATS system. Similar to MetaStock, TC2000 only supports a proprietary data feed for direct data updating. The Gold software and data package costs $30 per month, and Platinum costs $90 a month. The database itself contains over 5,900 U.S. common stocks, nearly 3,800 Canadian common stocks, over 16,000 mutual funds and nearly 1,300 U.S. exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The program comes with dozens of predefined watchlists, which allow you view a group of stocks such as the NASDAQ-100 index component stocks or the stocks currently held in the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index Fund ETF (TA). There are also watchlists for Morningstar industry groups and subgroups. Once you have selected a watchlist, run a slideshow of the charts for the symbols in the watchlist. You can also create and save custom watchlists.

TC2000 offers the basic chart types—bar, candlestick and line—along with an expanded library of over 70 technical indicators, including some proprietary indicators that are exclusive to the program. If you wish to go beyond the provided indicators, you can program your own. Personally, I feel that creating custom indicators with TC2000 is a bit clunky; it is not nearly as easy or intuitive as it is with MetaStock.

With TC2000’s scanning functionality, you can locate symbols meeting custom search criteria. You can run scans against the entire Worden universe or against subsets, such as industries or personal watchlists. Simultaneously, you can scan for long-term technical and fundamental conditions, as well as intraday conditions. The software comes with a dozen predefined scans, and users can save custom scans. Users will find predefined lists of index and industry components.

The level of customization TC2000 offers makes it extremely appealing. Users can design workspaces to suit their needs, with watchlists, charts, alerts, scans and more. You can link watchlists and charts so that you only need to select a symbol from the watchlist, and the respective charts in your workspace will reflect that symbol. Your options are almost limitless.

For advanced stock screening and charting, you can upgrade your Gold subscription to Platinum ($90 a month) to access StockFinder. StockFinder offers a broader library of over 130 technical indicators along with company fundamental data, earnings estimates and analyst ratings. You can create your own indicators and backtest any indicator-based trading rule, but optimizing capabilities are not offered. Lastly, Platinum subscribers can connect to their TD Ameritrade, optionsXpress or Interactive Brokers account. StockFinder is not as intuitive as the rest of TC2000, but a collection of free webinars and other resources can help you fully understand the functionality offered.

One of the more interesting Platinum features is that the software allows users to interact with each other. Platinum subscribers can join more than 100 public and private chat rooms or create their own. Platinum subscribers can also upload files to the Platinum community as well as download files from other Platinum users.

As TC2000’s capabilities have expanded, so too have the resources available to users to learn about them. There are hours of webinars and video tutorials available online, with new events being offered all the time. There are also a variety of discussion forums where you can post questions regarding the program.

Other Offerings

In the future we will publish an expanded comparison grid online at that will include other top programs in the area of technical analysis and charting. Subscribers to the weekly CI Email will be notified when this grid has been published. To sign up for this email, log onto, select “Update My AAII Emails” in the “My Account” area, and subscribe to the CI Email.

Ease of Use
Software Cost (AAII Discount)
Charting Indicators/ Drawing Tools Trading Systems   Screening/ Sorting Documentation/ Tutorials Cons
Investor/RT 10.4 End of Day Std 5 4 4* 3 4 4 $20/mo. +Extensive portfolio mgmt capabilities –Trading Tools add-on only offers sample trading systems
Investor/RT 10.4 End of Day Pro 5 5 4* 5 4 4 $30/mo. +Runs on Windows & Mac –Ability to create indicators only in Pro
Investor/RT 10.4 Standard 5 4 4* 3 4 4 $40/mo. +Direct downloading from free historical data providers  
Investor/RT 10.4 Professional 5 5 4* 5 4 4 $60/mo.             add’l $20-$40/mo. for Trading Tools    
*with Trading Tools                  
MetaStock 11 End-of-Day 5 5 5 3 5 5 $499, software; $59/mo. or $565/yr., +Free online classes & user groups –New Fundamental Analyzer only available in Pro version             software & end-of-day data +Expert Advisors –OptionScope offers limited options analysis
              -10% +Nine chart types  

              +Data usable in numerous programs  
TC2000 Version 12 4 4 3* 4 5 4 free software; $29.99/mo. +New cloud version Windows & Mac compatible –Fixed amount of data             or $299/yr., Gold; $89.99/mo. Or +Extensive training resources  
*with StockFinder BackScanner w/Platinum subscription             $899.90/yr., Platinum +Highly customizable work spaces  


M from FL posted over 6 years ago:

Mr Thorp:
Thank you for your unbiased critique of the 3 leaders in Technical Analysis Trading systems. In fact it is a brilliant and magnificent presentation.
I only have experience with Worden's output I being their subscriber since 1965, when there were no online services. They, like the others have evolved into a necessity since the personal computer was invented. Yet, as statistics are extrapolations into the future based on a small sample of a big universe, Virtual Reality can never catch up with Real future Reality. Thus,we investor and traders rely on you as an experienced observer to keep us updated.

M from FL posted over 6 years ago:

Mr Thorp:
Thank you for your unbiased critique of the 3 leaders in Technical Analysis Trading systems. In fact it is a brilliant and magnificent presentation.
I only have experience with Worden's output I being their subscriber since 1965, when there were no online services. They, like the others have evolved into a necessity since the personal computer was invented. Yet, as statistics are extrapolations into the future based on a small sample of a big universe, Virtual Reality can never catch up with Real future Reality. Thus,we investor and traders rely on you as an experienced observer to keep us updated.

Anthony Humpage from AZ posted over 6 years ago:

I have never used Investor RT. I have used the current version of Metastock EOD and TC2000 V12.
I am quite computer literate but just could not get along with Metastock -- which I owned for a couple of years. My use was confined to basic charting because of it and I never found anything easy about it. Also, the data costs get to be tedious on top of the software cost. I bought the Gold version of TC2000 and have since thrown Metastock away. TC2000 was easy to learn and is relatively inexpensive. I have many different screens set up to monitor different watchlists specifically. The sorting and filtering facility is great too. One use I like a lot is determining leading and lagging S&P Sector ETFs in various timeframes.
TC2000 has many excellent free tutorials on the Worden website which anyone can view. They will give you a great feel for how the software works in addition to being a great educational resource.
I also use TC2000 to illustrate points in my personal blog.
For me, the choice is TC2000 hands down.
Anthony Humpage
Scottsdale AZ

Dave from WA posted over 6 years ago:

Mr. Thorp, excellent comparison. We need more of these. I was an early user of TC but fell away. Long ago I tried Vector Vest, Invester Pro, Omni, and recently visual trader. I have not found a system that works for me. I like some of the recent upgrades to Vector so I may try again. Any comments or suggestions from you or fellow members?

Gregory Silvis from MN posted over 5 years ago:

For the last 3 months I have been working with MetaStock, Worden Brothers tc2000 v12.1, Stock Investor Pro and Fidelity's Active Trader. All of the programs are tightly locked to prevent pirating -- too tightly I would say. All of them have been buggy initially and required multiple uninstall/reinstall cycles.

I agree with Mr. Humpage's "just could not get along with Metastock" even though I too am quite computer literate. It also seemed sometimes to be akin to adware, anything of interest required an upgraded subscription. Sorting the universe of equities was also p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y slow.
I just finished another unsuccessful clean install -- the 5th, 8th, 13th I don't know how many, but definitely some Fibonacci number though I'm done trying.

Worden Bros is my favorite. It is fast, fast, fast in sorting and charting stocks. The charts are very colorful and the colors are customizable allowing the color to convey important data. With some poking around I have highly adapted it to "speak to me". I have Platinum service which gives realtime data feed (but not the Stock Finder module) One strategic intraday entry paid for a year's subscription to the realtime data.

Stock Investor Pro has an unbelievably rich database of fundamental data. It is an essential complement to all of these tech analytic programs and could clearly stand on its own for longer term investors.

The fidelity program is also buggy. But the integration of order entry and the very rich fidelity research makes it a program that I will work to get tuned.

I have been checking out some intermediate to advanced books on tech analysis and TradeStation seems to be the standard: much code and even software CDs. I'm going to check it out as well as the tc2000 stock selector module before settling.


Ian Craig from CA posted over 5 years ago:

Mr. Thorp , Thank you.
Any opinions on " Chart Lab Pro" I trade SPY & SDS


murty from NY posted over 2 years ago:

TC2000 does NOT adjust data / charts for dividends! Only splits.

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