We can open scripts and delete them in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor, or export them to an archive file. But how do we import scripts?

Importing scripts in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor

The PowerLanguage .NET Editor is the primary tool for creating and editing indicators, trading strategies, and functions in MultiCharts .NET (MultiCharts, 2014). While we can also edit those scripts in other programs (like Visual Studio), things like removing, exporting, and importing scripts is only possible in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor.

We import scripts in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor with a window called ‘Import Studies’. Studies is the collective term that MultiCharts .NET uses for indicators, signals (which are trading strategies), and functions (MultiCharts Wiki, 2013). These are more commonly known as scripts.

We import scripts with a PowerLanguage .NET Archive file, which is a file generated by exporting MultiCharts .NET scripts. One archive file can contain multiple scripts, and during importing we can choose which of the included scripts we want to add to the PowerLanguage .NET Editor.

By the way, those PowerLanguage .NET Archive files (with the .pln file extension) are different from the PowerLanguage Archive files that have a .pla file extension and are used by the regular MultiCharts PowerLanguage edition. Because of that, scripts from MultiCharts .NET cannot be used in regular MultiCharts, and vice versa (Henry MultiCharts, 2013).

Importing a script in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor

To import a script in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor, we first start the code editor and then click on the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Import…’ (the Ctrl + I keyboard shortcut):

File menu of the PowerLanguage .NET Editor

That brings up a window where we can browse to the script(s) that we want to import:

Import Studies window

We import scripts with a PowerLanguage .NET Archive file that can contain one or several scripts. Such a .pln file is the only type of file that we can import in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor:

File types that can be imported in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor

Let’s say that the script we want to import is in the ‘Downloads’ folder. So we navigate to this folder, select its archive file, and press ‘Open’ (or double-click on the file):

Importing a PowerLanguage .NET Archive file

This brings up the ‘Import Studies’ window that shows the contents of the .pln file:

Import Studies window with contents PowerLanguage .NET Archive file

Here we see that our archive file contains no functions or indicators, but does include one strategy. Since this strategy is already selected (visible by the icon before the script), we click on ‘OK’ to import it.

After that we get a confirmation that the script has been imported:

Trading strategy imported successfully

When a file is imported in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor, it’s compiled automatically and ready to use in the MultiCharts .NET platform. We can also open the script now with the ‘Open Studies’ window (Ctrl + O or the button on the toolbar) or open it from the ‘Studies’ panel.

For that latter, we need to expand the ‘Signals’ folder (since we’ve imported a strategy):

Expand Signals folder in Studies window

Then we look for the strategy we’ve just imported (‘Example_Strategy’):

Browse to example trading strategy

Double-clicking on the script’s name opens it in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor, ready to be edited:

Opening the MultiCharts .NET example trading strategy

Other things we can do with an imported script include deleting the script, editing and changing its settings, and exporting it.

Importing a script from within the Windows Explorer

Alternatively, we can open PowerLanguage .NET Archive files without starting the PowerLanguage .NET Editor first. In the Windows Explorer, PowerLanguage .NET Editor Archive files have the same icon as the PowerLanguage .NET Editor and a type of ‘PLEditor.NET.Document’:

PowerLanguage .NET Archive files in the Windows Explorer

To import a script from within the Windows Explorer, we navigate to the folder where the archive file is located and double-click on this file:

Importing from within Windows Explorer

That will open the PowerLanguage .NET Editor (if it’s not already running) and bring up the ‘Import Studies’ window with the archive’s contents:

Import Studies window

Importing multiple scripts from one PowerLanguage .NET archive

One PowerLanguage .NET archive file can include several scripts. When we import an archive file that includes indicators, signals (that is, trading strategies), and functions, the ‘Import Studies’ window looks like this:

Several MultiCharts .NET scripts in one archive

Each of the different scripts in the archive is preceded with its own icon. Functions have a green icon ( ), indicators a blue one ( ), and an orange icon ( ) precedes the signals (that is, trading strategies).

To only import the three indicators, we click the ‘Clear All’ button and then click on each indicator’s checkbox to select them again:

Only MultiCharts .NET indicators selected

We then click on the ‘OK’ button to import those scripts in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor:

Successfuly importing a selection of MultiCharts .NET scripts

Importing scripts from multiple PowerLanguage .NET archives

Besides importing an archive with multiple scripts, we can also import several scripts from different archives at once. To do so, we select multiple .pln files in the file browser window:

Importing multiple PowerLanguage .NET Archive files

Once we click ‘Open’, the scripts from the different archives are displayed in the ‘Import Studies’ window. In the ‘Archive File’ column we can see each script’s archive location:

Contents of multiple PowerLanguage .NET Archive files

We can then select and open the different scripts that we want to import, just like we’d do with a single archive file.

Helpful features of the ‘Import Studies’ window

The PowerLanguage .NET Editor’s ‘Import Studies’ window has several features that allows us to easily locate a specific script. The first are the options below the ‘Study Type’ heading:

Filtering on type of MultiCharts .NET script

With those three checkboxes we can filter on the study type and, for example, only display indicators:

Only showing MultiCharts .NET indicators
Tip: Filtering scripts does not change which scripts are actually selected. If we, for example, use the ‘Study Type’ checkboxes to display functions and signals, the selected count is still 11 even though there are only 8 scripts in the current view (see next image).
Script count in Import Studies window doesn't change

This is also visible in the numbers after each script type below the ‘Study Type’ heading: the first number are the amount of scripts of that type in the current archive(s). The second number (between parentheses) is the number of script that we’ve selected. For example, only the strategy files are selected for import here:

Only importing the MultiCharts .NET trading strategies

Another feature of the ‘Import Studies’ window is sorting. We do that by clicking on the ‘Name’, ‘Type’, or ‘Archive File’ column to sort the scripts ascending or descending. This works in the same way as sorting the ‘Open Studies’ window. And so we can, for example, sort on name:

Sort on MultiCharts .NET script name

Or we can sort on the archive file that holds the scripts:

Sort on PowerLanguage .NET Archive file

We can also select a specific script in the ‘Import Studies’ window by typing the first letter(s) of its name. For example, by pressing ’D’ the row selector jumps to the first script that starts with that letter:

Selecting a script by tying a letter

Likewise, typing ‘Bol’ causes the Bollinger_Bands indicator to be selected:

Selecting a script by typing several letters

When we’ve selected one or multiple scripts (like Bollinger_Bands in the image above), we can include ( ) or exclude ( ) them from importing by pressing Space.

Importing existing scripts in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor

We can also import scripts with the same name as scripts that are already in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor. Like these four standard strategies:

Importing existing MultiCharts .NET scripts

A warning message then appears for each duplicate script that we try to import:

Importing a MultiCharts .NET script that's already there

This presents us with several options. The ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes to All’ buttons will overwrite the existing script(s) in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor, while ‘No’ and ‘No to All’ will skip importing the duplicate script(s). With the ‘Cancel’ button we cancel the import operation.

Tip: Importing a script with the same name as an existing script overwrites the script that’s already there. Since this action cannot be undone, rename the existing script or backup the MultiCharts .NET scripts before importing a duplicate script.

Importing a script with the same name as an existing script is also tricky because we cannot see the contents of the script that we’re importing. We also cannot do that with another program, since the PowerLanguage .NET Editor is the only program that can open .pln files (MultiCharts Support, personal communication, March 31, 2015).

To learn more about the PowerLanguage .NET Editor, see exporting scripts, removing scripts, and opening scripts.

Summary

We import scripts in the PowerLanguage .NET Editor with the ‘Import Studies’ window. That window shows the contents of a PowerLanguage .NET Archive file (.pln) before importing the indicators, trading strategies, or functions. When we import a script with the same name as an existing script, the script that’s already there is overwritten and cannot be recovered.


References

Henry MultiCharts (2013, December 30). MultiCharts .NET FAQ. Retrieved on July 20, 2015, from http://www.multicharts.com/discussion/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=45848#p101142

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

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