NASDAQ LEVEL II
TIME AND SALES
Custom Columns (QuotePages)
Custom Column Tutorial
Custom Quote Page Columns allow the Investor/RT user to harness the
power of the RTL language to display and test calculated values in quote
pages. Any scan, trading signal, or custom indicator can be added to a quote
page as a custom column. In addition, any of the built-in quote page columns
can be used to define a custom column for color coding and formatting the
data according to user preferences. Any technical indicator available for
use in the RTL language can be made into a custom column by simply creating
a custom indicator containing that sole indicator token.
Any number of custom columns may be defined. Once defined and given a name,
the custom column can be added to any number of quote pages. Custom columns
saved with a quote page will reappear in the same columnar position and
width when the quote page is opened, just like built-in columns.
Each column has a user specified column heading (title). The title may be
the same as the name of the column but this is not required. Each column can
be assigned a specific display format (e.g. 99, 99.999, 32nds, etc.), and,
for custom indicators, scans, and signals, a variety of options are provided
to control the frequency of calculation of the formula underlying the
column's displayed values.
Each column can have a list of "rules" which govern the foreground and
background colors used to display the column values. A rule can test for
TRUE or FALSE, for example, when a scan or trading signal is used. For
custom indicators, rules can test for ranges of numeric values. For each
rule, the user can specify colors and optionally, a textual message to be
displayed in the quote page cell when the rule is true for that row
(instrument) in the quote page.
The rules for a custom column can also specify sounds, charts, and schedules
that will be triggered whenever a given rule is determined to be true for a
row in the quote page. For example, a custom column may be created to
display the state of a scan that tests for RSI breaking from below 70 to
above 70. The custom column can be setup with a rule that makes a particular
sound and opens a chart named "RSI Chart" whenever the scan detects an RSI
break above 70. Further, the rule could prescribe a bright red background
and yellow lettering to be used to display the message "RSI ALERT" in the
quote page cell when the breaks occurs. If the condition is detected on say
IBM, then you would first hear the sound and note the bright red message in
IBM's quote page row, then the chart named "RSI Chart" would open, showing
the chart of the instrument that caused the alert. The chart would typically
be setup to show the same RSI indicator used in the custom column plus any
other technical indicators of interest.
Each custom column that invokes a scan, signal, or custom indicator
calculation has its own periodicity. The column's periodicity it used to do
the calculations, overriding the periodicity of the scan or signal itself,
similar to the way Scan/Signal Markers use the periodicity of the chart in
which the markers are created. This makes it possible to have say, 1-minute,
5-minute, 30-minute and daily "Stochastics" displayed side by side in a
quote page as custom columns. Using similar color coding rules in each
column makes a powerful visual indicator when two or more of the columns
take on values of interest.
Custom Column User Interface
The Custom Column Setup Window (the setup window) can be opened
using Setup: Custom Column, or by using File: New: Custom Column. Once one
more custom columns are created and saved, specific custom column setups can
be accessed using the Open: Custom Column menu showing the names of all
custom columns on file. When a custom column setup is modified and saved by
clicking either the OK or Apply button in the setup window, all open quote
pages that contain the particular column take on the new definition
immediately. Use the Apply button to leave the setup window open so you can
observe the visually effect of your changes before dismissing the setup
window. If you have a quote page open with one or more custom columns in it,
you can access the setup for the custom column by right-clicking
(control-click on Macintosh) on any custom column row in the quote page. The
setup window has a menu of all custom columns at the top so once open, you
can switch to any other custom column you wish to inspect it or make
The setup window as a four tab interface. The "Type" tab is used to define
whether the custom column is an override of a built-in data column or a
scan/signal/custom indicator. When a scan, signal, or custom indicator is
chosen, it's full formula and any comments are shown in the window. Choose
the built-in column/scan/signal/custom indicator from the list button
provided or operate the ">>" button to cycle through the items in the list.
The "Type" tab includes the periodicity to be used when a scan, signal or
custom indicator is selected source of the column's data. Convenience
buttons are provided for creating or editing scans, signals, or custom
indicators. Note that when editing a scan, signal, or custom indicator,
saving the object causes all custom columns that reference that
scan/signal/custom indicator to be updated to used the revised definition.
The "Format" tab provides a simple user interface for specifying the column
title to be used in the quote page for this custom column, and the display
format and default colors to be used. All cells will have the specified
default color scheme unless a rule ("Rules" tab) causes the color coding to
The "Rules" tab is a spreadsheet containing up to nine rules that may be
applied to the value of the custom column. The best way to explain the rules
spreadsheet is to go step by step through a simple example. Suppose we want
to create the rules for a custom column based on a custom indicator with the
100 * (CL - LO)/ (HI - LO)
This is, of course, the current bar raw stochastic (RawK). It takes on
values from 0 to 100. In our example we will add rules to color code extreme
values (over 70 and under 30), leaving those values between 30 and 70 at the
default colors. We will add a special rule with a sound and a chart when the
stochastic goes over 98.
Under the rules spreadsheet is a menu of "operators". The operators can be
shown in either English or mathematical symbols only according to your
preference. Toggle between the two by checking and unchecking the box to the
left of the operator menu.
Choose "Is Less than X" and click "Add Rule" to add a rule with that
operator. Fill in the value for X in the spreadsheet, in this case 30.
Adjust the foreground and background colors for this rule by clicking in the
Next choose "Is Greater than X" and click "Add Rule" to add a second rule to
the sheet. Set X to 70 in this case and set the colors. Clicking the color
cell gives you the "native" Windows or Macintosh "color picker". If you
prefer to use the Investor/RT standard color picker, ctrl-click (Windows) or
option-click (Macintosh). A shortcut: if you wish to change every cell in a
color column to the same color, e.g. black as the foreground color, then
shift-click on any cell and when your selection is completed, the chosen
color will be set accordingly for all rules.
Finally, click "Add Rule" again to add a third ("Is Greater Than") rule
specifying X as 98. Choose a distinctive color-coding for this rule and
enter the text "NEAR HI" in the text cell for the third rule. To specify a
sound for this condition, click in the "Sound" cell for the third row and
pick from the presented list of sounds. You can add your own sounds into the
sounds directory within the Investor/RT directory if you like.
Other notes on the Rules tab: If you make a mistake or wish to eliminate a
rule click on the row to select it and click the "Delete Rule" button. The
"Move Rule" button enables the order of the rows to be arranged by moving
the selected row "down one" in the list. When a rule is at the bottom of the
list of rules, clicking "Move Rule" moves to back up to the top of the list.
Note that every rule is tested and the actions associated with the rule are
performed for every rule that tests true. With regard to color and text
values, the last true rule's color and text message will appear in the quote
page cell. This is why rule arrangement is important.
The "Schedule" column in the rules spreadsheet is used just like the "Chart"
column. Click on the cell to pick from a list of schedules. When a
particular rule is TRUE, the schedule will be run.
Once you have specified a sound, chart, or schedule for a rule, if you wish
to eliminate it, simply shift-click on the cell to reset it to "none".
The "Calculation" tab is only applicable when the custom column is
associated with a scan, a signal, or a custom indicator. Because these
formulas can be demanding on computer processing resources, options are
provided for controlling the frequency of calculation of indicators.
Investor/RT keeps separate tabs on each instrument in the quote page so it
can manage the calculation independently on each row in the quote page. The
calculation options should look familiar; they are the same ones used to
control the rate of calculation of technical indicators in charts. While
"tick by tick" is available, we recommend using every 1, or every 2 seconds
instead, especially if the quote page will contain very active instruments
like the ES and NQ futures or QQQ.
When the custom column setup is complete, click OK and you will be prompted
to provide a name for the custom column. Provide a descriptive name like
"Today's RawK", for example.
Adding Custom Columns to a Quote Page
Once one or more custom columns have been defined, you can add
them to any existing quote page by right clicking (control click on
Macintosh) on the column title row of the quote page. Choose "Add Custom
Column" from the popup menu. To remove a custom column from any quote page,
simply drag the custom column title heading off the title row and drop it
into the body of the quote page. Custom Columns that exist in a quote page
are saved with the quote page when you click the Save button on the quote
page toolbar or use File: Save to save the quote page. Custom columns can be
used with either system defined or user-define quote pages. Because system
defined quote pages can easily contain hundreds or thousands of ticker
symbols we recommend you get familiar with this powerful new feature of
Investor/RT using user-defined quote pages with a limited number of
instrument rows. It is wise to create and test your custom columns using
small quote pages until they operate as you intend before putting them in
more populous quote pages.
Modifying Custom Columns
Once you have one or more custom columns operating in a quote
page you may wish to make adjustments to the behavior of the custom column.
You can edit any custom column using the Open: Custom Column menu. If the
quote page is open, right click in any cell of the custom column to open its
setup window. You can adjust things like column title, rule colors, etc. and
press the Apply button to save the changes and see them reflected in the
open quote page(s) that contain the column. In addition, you can entirely
change the setup of the custom column if you wish by choosing a different
custom indicator, or you can edit the custom indicator itself (using the
Edit Cust Ind button in the "Type" tab). When you edit the custom indicator
associated with a custom column you can revise the formula and/or revise the
setups for technical indicators used in the custom indicator formula. When
you then click Save to save your custom indicator setup, the changes are
reflected immediately in all open quote page(s) that contain custom column(s)
that reference the revised custom indicator.
Deleting Custom Columns
Custom Columns, just like charts, quote pages, scans, and other
Investor/RT "objects" can be deleted (or renamed) using the Delete/Rename
feature. When you delete a custom column using this facility, Investor/RT
will automatically remove the column for any open quote pages in which it
Technical Indicator Custom Columns
Custom Columns can be created directly for all RTL technical
indicators. Prior to this enhancement it was necessary to create a custom
indicator that referenced a technical indicator to accomplish this. In the
"Type" tab of the Custom Column setup window, check the "Technical
Indicator" radio button. Choose an indicator from the list provided. The
preferences for the selected indicator will initially be the default
settings (as set in Setup: Preferences: Charts: Technical Indicators).
Change the preferences for the indicator by clicking the Setup button. If
there are any "presets" defined for the chosen indicator you can change the
settings to a preset by clicking the "Use Preset" button. A list of presets
for the indicator will appear when you click this button.
Candlestick Pattern Custom Columns
You can create a custom column that will report whether certain
candlestick patterns are true for the instruments in a quote page. Setup the
custom column as a "technical indicator" column. Choose "CPR: Candlestick
Pattern Recognition" as the indicator. Click Setup and choose one more
patterns to test. Setup an "Is True" rule using the "Rules" tab to display
TRUE or your own text message when the indicator is true. For example, if
you were looking for Doji's, you could create a custom column to test this
one pattern and have the custom column display "DOJI" whenever that pattern
occurs for the instrument. Each custom column can have its own periodicity,
so you can easily create multiple columns looking for candlestick pattern(s)
in various periodicities.
Testing Multiple Custom Column Conditions
Each custom column, whether it references a built-in column, a
scan or signal, a custom indicator or a technical indicator has a value for
each instrument that changes over time. Scans and trading signals are
true/false expressions that have a numeric value of 1.0 (true) or 0.0
(false). If you want to make the calculated value of some custom column
available to other scans/signals/custom indicators (and hence to other
custom columns) then you can specify a V# user variable for the custom
column using the "Calculation" tab of the Custom Column setup window.
Suppose, for example you had three custom columns each showing some moving
average. You could use, say V#10 for one moving average column, V#11 for
another, and V#12 for the third one. The values for V#10, V#11, and V#12
will change dynamically as the custom columns are recalculated. Thus, you
can rely on these value to create a custom indicator such as:
(CL > V#10) + (CL > V#11) + (CL > V#12)
Make another custom column to show the value of this custom indicator. The
formula will evaluate to 3 if an instrument's last price is above all three
moving averages, 2 if above only two moving averages. A zero value indicates
the last price is below all three moving averages. Rules for each value
0,1,2, and 3 can then color code the custom column. Notice there is very
little processing involved in evaluating this custom column since all of the
moving averages are pre-calculated and available via the V# user variables.
This is a very powerful mechanism. Any custom column calculation can
essentially pass its results using a user variable to any other column,
which in turn considers the V# variable in it's own formula. Note that the
calculation order of cells for each row in a quote page is left to right,
thus the custom columns should be arranged in such a way that any dependent
columns be to the right of the column(s) that produce the V# results it
needs. Note also that any custom indicator or scan/signal can also include
SET statements in their formulas. User variables set in this fashion are
similarly available to other calculations going on in other custom columns
within any open quote pages.
Deleting Custom Columns and Presets
The Delete/Rename window now supports view/renaming/deleting of
both custom columns and technical indicator presets. When a custom column is
deleted, it will be removed from all quote pages in which it resides,
including all open quote pages. To access the Delete Rename window, click
the Delete/Rename button (green trash can) on the main toolbar and click the
"Rename" button if prompted. The window is also accessible using the Control
Menu under the Data Management submenu.
Quote Pages, Formats, and Custom Columns
You can create quote page formats containing one or more "custom
columns". Such formats can be created using Setup: Preferences: Formats.
Notice that all custom columns are listed in the list of "Available Items"
that can be added to any format. All custom columns are listed prefixed with
$CC: followed by the name of the custom column to distinguish them from the
built-in data columns.
If you already have a quote page setup with custom columns and you wish to
save that page's list of columns as a format, simply right-click on any
column title in the quote page and choose "Save Formatů". Macintosh users
with a one button mouse use control-click. You will be prompted for a name
for the format and the Setup: Preferences: Format window will then show the
newly saved format.
Right-clicking on any column title in a quote page now offers a change
format command in the resulting popup menu. A list of format names appears.
You can pick any format name and click Apply or OK to change to the selected
format. The Change Format button on the quote page toolbar can also be used
for this purpose.
One of the interesting side-benefits of being able to include custom columns
in formats is that the resulting format can be used as the output format for
any scan's output quote page. For example, if you run a scan that includes
RSI criteria, you could specify an output format that includes an RSI custom
column that color codes various RSI levels appropriately in the resulting