Charting software for Interactive Brokers

Most of traders at Interactive Brokers use third party charting software for their trading graphs. I thought that Interactive Brokers’ platform was good enough to trade but apparently traders find it easier to trade using bar or line graphs of NinjaTrader, AmiBroker or Sierra Chart. These are 3 of the most popular pieces of charting software to accompany an Interactive Brokers account. Tradestation is another popular alternative while very few are trading through Metastock, since it requires a paid third party plug-in to connect it with IB.

MetaStock Trading Platform

I have been using Metastock as my charting software while I am trading in the Greek stock market and backtesting any online stock trading system I believed would work. So, when I spent a couple of hours yesterday night to find out what is going on regarding charting software, I was surprised to find out that other programs are more popular than Metastock. I read a lot of software reviews, software comparisons and according to most of them I have reached to some conclusions.

Amibroker Trading Platform

Metastock requires a third party plug-in, which is not free. Tradestation is a well known charting software and online trading broker as well, although it is much more known for the software. However many believe it is lacking some basic stuff, although it offers plenty of features and I couldn’t find a way to download and test it without opening an online trading account with them! Esignal is another very popular charting software, which is free when connected with Interactive Brokers as the cost is waived as long as you complete a number of trades per month. That was interesting until I tried to go with that route and ended up reading that it is actually an offer not available to EU traders! Thanks for that, Esignal uninstalled.

NinjaTrader Trading Platform

I have now installed NinjaTrader (referred to usually as NT), AmiBroker and SierraChart to give them a go today. NinjaTrader worries me as I think you need to add your Interactive Brokers’ username and password in order to connect with your online trading account. AmiBroker looks good as I managed to connect it with Interactive Brokers in just 5 minutes without sharing any sensitive information and SierraChart is waiting in my desktop to have it setup.

Two more things if you are planning to use a third party charting software for your bar graphs when trading with Interactive Brokers. Most reputable traders suggest testing each application until you find out what works best for you. That is why you are better off downloading the charting software that offer some kind of trial. Second, AmiBroker and Esignal connect with your IB platform through API, ActiveX controls in particular. That means you need to run the original Interactive Brokers Trade Workstation before running those. In other words you simply use third party charts and line graphs, which get the market data feed from the IB Workstation and route your orders through IB TWS once again.

Sierra Charts Trading Platform

Of course I need to learn a lot more about these pieces of charting software other than which suits me best, like execution speed, backtesting, reliability and other features. It will surely be a long and adventurous journey in online trading!