Besides changing the font and code highlighting settings and organising scripts into folders, we can also change the script’s settings themselves. How to do that and what do the different settings mean?

Editing script settings in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor

The PowerLanguage .NET Editor is the primary tool for creating and editing MultiCharts .NET indicators, trading strategies, and functions. We can also edit scripts in other programs (like Visual Studio), but actions like importing, exporting, removing scripts, and changing a script’s properties is only possible in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor.

Before we can change a script’s name, it needs to be removed from charts, Scanner/Watchlist windows, and the Portfolio Trader. Otherwise, MultiCharts .NET gives the following error message:

'Remove study first'-error message

When changing other properties it’s also a good idea to remove instances of the script in MultiCharts .NET first. Otherwise, the script will keep the settings it had when it was added to the chart, Scanner/Watchlist, or Portfolio Trader.

After changing a script’s properties it needs to be recompiled with the ‘Compile changed studies’ command ( toolbar button or the F7 keyboard shortcut) before we can add it again in MultiCharts .NET.

Opening a script’s properties window

We change a script’s settings in its properties window, and there are two ways in which we can open this window. The first approach is with the ‘Open Study’ window ( toolbar button or the Ctrl + O keyboard shortcut). We then navigate to the script, right-click it, and select ‘Edit’:

Edit a script from the Open Study window

The second approach is when the script is already opened in the code editing window. Then we can right-click anywhere and select ‘Properties…’:

Right-click code editor menu

Both approaches open, depending on the type of script, the ‘Indicator Properties’, ‘Signal Properties’, or ‘Function Properties’ window. Let’s take a closer look at those windows below.

Changing the settings of a MultiCharts .NET indicator

The ‘Indicator Properties’ window has these settings:

Indicator Properties window

With the Name field we can change the name of indicator. The second option is Max number of bars study will reference, which can be set to ‘Auto-detect’ or ‘User specified’. This option specifies how many bars the indicator uses for its calculations, and the indicator will only begin plotting when the current bar is 1 more that the amount of bars it needs for its calculations (MultiCharts Wiki, 2015a). For example, a 10-bar moving average needs data from 10 bars before it can calculate and plot its value.

When we set ‘Max number of bars study will reference’ to ‘Auto-detect’, MultiCharts .NET will increase this value automatically until it’s high enough that the script can perform all of its calculations (MultiCharts Wiki, 2015a). With the ‘User specified’ option we can manually set this number of bars, but when set too low the indicator won’t calculate properly.

The next option in the ‘Indicator properties’ window is Axis Type that can be set to ‘Linear’ or ‘Semi-log’. Linear scaling will plot the indicator on the conventional, absolute scale: a 10 point price difference is displayed with the same distance on the price axis (MultiCharts Wiki, 2012). Semi-log scaling, on the other hand, is a percentage-based scale: it displays a 10% difference with the same distance on the price axis (MultiCharts Wiki, 2012).

In other words, with semi-log scaling a price increase from 50 to 55 (+10%) is plotted as large as a price movement from 200 to 220 (+10%). With a linear scale, however, those 10% price swings look different: a 20 point movement will be plotted a lot bigger than a 5 point movement. Generally speaking, on longer term charts a semi-log scale gives a more accurate picture of historical price movements. For example, consider the market crash of 1987 on both scales:

Linear versus semi-log scaling in MultiCharts .NET

The next option in the ‘Indicator Properties’ window is Same As Symbol which, when enabled, displays the indicator on the data series it’s applied to. With this option turned off, the indicator is displayed in a separate subchart (MultiCharts, 2014).

The Update on every tick option affects how the indicator is calculated on real-time data. With this option turned on, the indicator also calculates on intra-bar ticks; when it’s turned off the indicator only calculates on bar close (MultiCharts Wiki, 2014). This allows for an efficient indicator when we don’t need its calculations to happen on every real-time tick.

The last setting is Skip Identical Ticks. When enabled, the indicator skips real-time calculations when the latest tick has the same price as the preceding tick (MultiCharts Wiki, 2015b). This makes the indicator run more efficient since a lot of ticks are identical to the previous. This option should be turned off when an indicator uses volume or tick count data in its calculations so that its calculations are correct (MultiCharts Wiki, 2015b).

Changing a strategy’s settings in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor

Changing a strategy’s settings is done in the ‘Signal Properties’ window. A signal is MultiCharts .NET’s term for a trading strategy (see MultiCharts Wiki, 2013). This window has several tabs, starting with the ‘Entries’ tab:

Signal properties window - entries

Here we can set the colour, style, and size of the sell (enter short) and buy (enter long) entries. The Arrow setting is the arrow that’s placed above the entry bar, while Tick is the little arrow to the side of the bar that highlights the entry price. Signal label sets the order name while # of contracts is the order’s position size, both of which are plotted on the chart.

With the standard settings, a strategy’s long entry, long exit, short entry, and short exit orders look like:

Exits and entries of a trading strategy

The second tab of the ‘Signal Properties’ window is the ‘Exits’ tab:

Signal properties window - exits

Here we can specify how sell exit (exit long) and buy exit (exit short) orders are displayed on the chart. The available options are the same as we saw in the ‘Entries’ tab.

The third tab of the ‘Signal Properties’ window is the ‘Connecting Line’ tab:

Signal properties window - connecting line

The ‘Connecting Line’ is a line that’s drawn between the entry and exit orders of a position (see chart image above). Its default colour depends on the result of the position: orders of a losing position are connected with a red line while profitable positions have their orders connected with a green line.

In the last tab of the ‘Signal Properties’ window, the ‘Properties’ tab, we can change the name of the strategy:

Signal properties window - properties tab

Changing the settings of MultiCharts .NET function

The ‘Function Properties’ window has the following options:

Function Properties window

Changing the function’s name is possible in this window. The other settings cannot be changed and just show the function’s current properties. See creating a function in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor for what these mean.

Script settings can also be changed when creating an indicator or when programming a trading strategy in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor. Changing the editor itself is possible by arranging the window panels, organising scripts into folders, and changing the code highlighting.

Summary

To change script settings in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor we right-click in the ‘Open Study’ window and choose ‘Edit’ or right-click in the code editor and select ‘Properties…’. To ensure that the script is used in MultiCharts .NET with the new settings, it’s best to remove the script from any chart, Scanner/Watchlist window, or Portfolio Trader in which it’s used before changing its properties. This is required when renaming a script, which cannot be done when the script is in use. A script needs to be recompiled after changing it.


References

MultiCharts (2014). MultiCharts .NET Programming Guide (version 1.1). Retrieved from http://www.multicharts.com/downloads/MultiCharts.NET-ProgrammingGuide-v1.1.pdf

MultiCharts Wiki (2012, March 5). Scale Type. Retrieved on August 3, 2015, from https://www.multicharts.com/trading-software/index.php/Scale_Type

MultiCharts Wiki (2013, May 6). Using Studies (PowerLanguage Editor). Retrieved on July 16, 2015, from https://www.multicharts.com/trading-software/index.php/Using_Studies_%28PowerLanguage_Editor%29

MultiCharts Wiki (2014, September 15). Indicator Settings - Update on Every Tick. Retrieved on August 3, 2015, from http://www.multicharts.com/trading-software/index.php/Indicator_Settings#Update_on_Every_Tick

MultiCharts Wiki (2015a, May 4). How Scripts Work. Retrieved on August 3, 2015, from http://www.multicharts.com/trading-software/index.php/How_Scripts_Work

MultiCharts Wiki (2015b, January 29). Skip Identical Ticks. Retrieved on August 3, 2015, from https://www.multicharts.com/trading-software/index.php/Skip_Identical_Ticks