What software do I use?

What software do I use?

For charts:

I learned to trade on CQG and have used it for years. The software is very expensive and the company has done a poor job of keeping up with its charting services. It is the premium charting service for professional futures traders. Since November 2009, I switched to Investor/RT (MarketDelta) using IQFeed as the data provider and have been very happy with it. I also use TradeStation for some of my charts, but it is slowly being phased out.

Click here for a comprehensive Webinar that goes over Charting

My setup for charting at the office consists of a quad-screen configuration (4 screens mounted in a grid on one stand). I also have a dual-monitor setup (2 monitors set up on top of each other) also for charts.

The charts and trading platforms are running on a secure local gigabit network running at internet bandwidth speed of 622 Megabits/second (OC3).

All miscellaneous internet applications and unsecured communication such as Tweetdeck, Skype, email and so on is run on a 17” laptop with a 23” monitor attached.

You can go here to view and use my latest templates/definitions:

For trading:

I use the S5 Trader platform provided by my brokerage. For a demo of this platform, you can sign up here.

Since I’m trading from the Chicago Board of Trade, my trading platform has a quick connection to the exchange through the fastest possible pathway. There is little to no chance of connectivity issues.

I no longer use X-Trader Pro. I have used that platform since 2002. I use Investor/RT by Linnsoft on a DTN IQFeed datafeed to generate the Volume at Price charts (Volume Profile) charts that I post on Twitter every day. The tick data is not aggregated or sent in burst mode. On IQFeed, longer term charts are equalized automatically to reflect the proper futures premium across expirations.

My trading setup consists of 1 screen mounted underneath the 5th charting screen on the dual-monitor setup. That trading screen has my Depth of Market windows for the various markets I watch.

I have voice alerts for various markets’ highs and lows. I also have alerts on key currency pairs and market internals. I use these to make me aware of what is going on in markets that I don’t necessarily watch a chart for.

I wasn’t asked by anybody, but I thought I would go over my equipment setup for those who might have the question after having read this.


Charting: Dell Precision with Core i7 16 GB RAM running Windows 7 Pro on 4 screens. Wired mouse and keyboard. Battery Backup and External backup drive. Screens driven by nVidia dual head video cards.

Trading: Hewlett Packard Z600 with Core i7 10 GB RAM running Windows 7 Pro on 2 screens. Wired Logitech MX-518 gaming mouse and keyboard. Battery backup.

All equipment is using 1 Gb/s network cards and Category 6 network cable into a network built on Juniper. For the real IT geeks out there, I have QoS set up in the switch to maintain consistent bandwidth to my trading computer. It gives me the flexibility to assign equipment and to do some network intensive things on my own.

Sounds techie, but some of you might want to know.

I hope this covers it.

  • TraderSmarts
    Posted at 12:07h, 02 October Reply

    Excellent post and description. I'm sure will help a lot of people. I use TS for charting as well (VERY CLEAN) and also esignal to run some EFS scripts that TS doesn't have. Keep up the good work & thanks for sharing!

  • B-rad
    Posted at 12:31h, 02 October Reply

    You'll never answer all the ?s the first time around, haha. When you say "4 desktop spaces w/ 2-3 workspaces each" how exactly does this work? Is this virtual + what are the advantages/what is the point?

    Also, what size monitors are you using? Any chance you'd share a couple pictures of your trading desk?


  • hi
    Posted at 12:53h, 02 October Reply

    Nice post FT71, I've certainly realized how important a pure data feed can be while comparing Zen Fire against your volume charts. Keep up the great work, you're an invaluable asset to the trading community!


  • FuturesTrader71
    Posted at 13:08h, 02 October Reply

    @B-rad: TS can give you one desktop per monitor for as many monitors as you have. The desktops are independent of each other as if TS is running a separate instance of itself on that particular monitor. Within the desktop window, you can create many workspaces on which you can put charts, quote boards or whatever. The workspaces allow me to flip back and forth to look at different information (long vs short time frame, etc) without having to load, reload or type anything. The workspace has the charts configured just how I want them and I just flip back and forth.

  • Nicholas
    Posted at 19:17h, 05 October Reply

    For those of us new to volume-by-price charts, can you reccomend a "starter" application we could get into to start viewing the markets this way when we're trading? I know you mentioned you use X-Study, but that seems to be "professiona-grade" and I dunno if that's even avail to the public. I located code to create volume-by-price layout with my current platform (thinkorswim), however it does not segregate volume data BY DAY for multi-day charts; instead it aggregates all volume at a given price, regardless of day. Hope that makes sense; appreciate any feedback you can offer volume-by-price newbies! thx

  • JimU
    Posted at 14:06h, 15 February Reply

    It’s completely irrelevant, but 622Mbit/s is OC12.
    I’d be ecstatic with OC3 at 155Mbit/s! 8^)

    On the practical side, can one find trading rooms with this sort of connection?

    Do you rent space & connections at your clearing firm?

    • FuturesTrader71
      Posted at 16:37h, 15 February Reply

      Yes, my clearing firm has a client trading room that is on the same network. You just get a desk and a chair and you bring in your own equipment.

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