We updated our ValueCharts(R) indicators for Thinkorswim in March of 2023. These changes are just for the Thinkorswim platform. They improve efficiencies and bring that platform's indicator results closer to other platforms while adding new helpful features. The indicators that have been updated include ValueCharts(R), ValueBars, and several other indicators that use these algorithms. They will generally have a version number of 1.4 or higher. The version number is provided as an information-only input in the new versions. The new versions may be downloaded from the BCT website using the regular Indicator download process. The following video overview and FAQs provide helpful information about what's changed and how to use the new versions.
Why were the indicators updated?
The new versions include algorithm improvements that make them more efficient and better aligned with other platforms' implementations. We also improved input naming consistency, updated default input values, provided the ability to adjust all colors, and added new, much-requested features.
How do I switch to the new versions?
Import the new indicators as you would any other indicators. The new versions begin with MQ_, so the old ones, which may not start with MQ_, may still be present. Once you confirm that you no longer need the old versions, you can remove the old ones and replace the old instances on your charts. If your current versions have the same name as the new ones, they'll immediately replace the old ones on your charts.
Can I get access to the old versions of the indicators?
We cannot provide previous versions of indicators, so if you'd like to revert to the old versions, you'll want to keep a copy of the old installation files to be able to access them.
Does this update apply to all platforms?
No. This update applies just to the thinkorswim implementations.
Does this update apply to all of BCT's thinkorswim indicators?
No. This update applies just to the thinkorswim indicators that use ValueCharts(R) technology.
What is the "Version" input for in these new versions?
The updated indicators will include a version number to tell if you're running the new version. While this number can be changed, we suggest you leave it unchanged, as it has no impact on the indicator's function. If you've mistakenly changed the Version input, you can click the Reset to factory default link on the Indicator's properties dialog and get back the original values of the Version input, as well as restore other original settings. The following image shows where this link is, which is only available after using the Save as default link to save new default values.
What happens if I change the version number input?
Changing the version input does not affect the indicator. It's merely present to indicate the version number. We suggest you do not change the Version input value, as changing it will no longer represent the correct version number of the indicator.
What are the new inputs in ValueCharts(R)?
Along with the new Version input, ValueCharts has three new inputs. Show Label determines whether a label is shown providing the text of the ValueCharts(R) state of the current bar's close. Show Bands determines whether the color bands are displayed, or just the ValueCharts(R) bars themselves are shown. Show Levels determines whether lines are provided that depict the points where the colors change. Note also that NumBars was renamed to AnalysisPeriod to match the input name on other platforms. Also, new color settings can adjust the ValueCharts(R) colors, which can be found in the indicator's properties under the Globals section of the indicator properties dialog.
What are the new colors for in ValueCharts(R)?
Since some people have difficulties in telling some colors apart, especially red and green, we have provided the ability to change the default ValueCharts(R) colors. Three groupings of colors can be changed.
- VCGreen, VCRed, VCYellow - Set the color of the ValueCharts(R) bars
- zBandGreen, zBandRed, zBandYellow - Sets the colors of the ValueCharts(R) bands, or zones. These are the regions of color displayed on the ValueCharts(R) plot. Note that these zones change in intensity depending on whether the cursor is hovering over the plots.
- zLevelRed, zLevelYellow - Sets the colors of the optional lines that separate the color zones (zone delineation lines). Though they're defaulted to gray, you may wish to make the lines red and yellow, respectively, to clarify the line's association with the zone.
- zLevelZero -Sets the color of the zero level that optionally appears in the center of the green zone.
The colors are under the Globals section of the indicator's property dialog, as shown in the following image. Click on a color swatch to change the color. Click on the Save as default link at the top of the dialog to make the colors and other settings the default for the next time the indicator is added to a chart.
Where can I set the colors of ValueCharts(R) and other related indicators that allow it?
The color swatches are in the Globals section of the indicator's property dialog, as shown in the image above. You may need to click on the arrow to the left of the word, Globals, to expand the section and see the swatches. Scroll down to find them if needed. Definitions of these colors are provided in the FAQ before this one.
How can I make ValueCharts(R) in Thinkorswim appear more like in TradeStation?
With this new version, we've provided ValueCharts(R) the ability to appear in Thinkorswim as it does in TradeStation. The bars are already colored now to identify the ValueCharts(R) color on the bar itself, so the colored bands are no longer required. The bands are enabled by default but can be disabled by setting ShowBands to No, leaving just the colored bars. This will make it appear similar to how it appears in TradeStation.
How do I make the zero level appear in ValueCharts(R)?
The zero-level plot is disabled by default. To enable it, make sure that Show Levels is set to Yes, and then make sure the plot is enabled by assuring that Show Plot is checked for the ZeroLevel plot, as shown in the following image:
How do I hide the Zero Level?
The ZeroLevel will only appear if the Show Levels input is set to yes, and its plot is enabled. With ShowLevels enabled, you can hide the Zero Level by unchecking its ShowPlot option, as pointed to by the red arrows in the above image.
How do I show just the zero and not the other levels?
The zero plot requires that the ShowLevels input is set to Yes, which also turns on the zone delineation plots. You can hide the non-zero levels by unchecking the Show Plot selection for each line plot. See the instructions on enabling the zero line plot, and then use the same approach to uncheck the plots for the levels you do not wish to see. The zone delineation line plots are named FVP, _FVP, SOP, and _SOP.
Do the indicators work on both dark and light backgrounds?
Our room hosts typically use a darker background in their charts, but the indicators can work on either a light or dark background. A dark background is preferred, as it will be easy to discern the various colors without modification. If you select a light background, such as white, you may have difficulty seeing the yellow as it's close to the white color. Select a darker yellow or something closer to orange or brown to make the yellow stand out better. These new versions allow you to select colors for any ValueCharts(R) colors. You could even use a completely different color, such as blue if it makes it easier to see. We will continue to use colors to identify ValueCharts status and attributes like "Moderately Overvalued." Unfortunately, there's no way to increase the thickness of the bars in Thinkorswim, which would have made it easier to see. When using a light background, you find it easier to use darker versions of the colors for the bars while turning on higher-contrast versions of the color zone bands. Experiment with what works best for your needs. If you struggle with getting the colors to be easy to see, you might find that a light gray background may be easier to use than a fully-white background.
Why are the plots different in the new versions of the ValueCharts(R) indicators?
Improvements in the algorithms to calculate the values makes slight modifications to the placement of the bars, so they will plot slightly differently from previous versions.
Why is the AnalysisPeriod (formerly NumBars) changed to 5?
In the original version, the first input was set to 14. We almost exclusively use 5 for this input, so we've changed the default value to 5.
How do I change the colors in MQ_ValueBars?
You can change the colors of the Red, Yellow, and Green indications by modifying the color swatches under the Globals section of the indicator properties dialog. Please refer to changing colors for ValueCharts(R) above for a description of how to do this.
Why is the indicator name / title a different color?
We're not sure why thinkorswim changes the color of the heading for the indicator once it's added to a chart. If a darker color is used on a dark background, it may appear similar to what's shown in the image, below. Our experimentation shows that it's linked to the zLevelYellow Global color input: whatever color that Global color is set to determine the subgraph title color. This is why it's defaulted to light gray so that the indicator title will appear in light gray. You may want to set it to another color if the title is hard to see on a light background.
How do I change the colors in MQ_ValueLevels?
You can change the colors of the plots in MQ_ValueLevels by selecting the plot you want to change in the Plots section, and clicking on the color swatch for that plot. You can identify each plot by its name. The negative ValueCharts(R) value plots begin with an underscore. For example, Plots VCLevel12 and _VCLevel12 represent the ValueCharts(R) +/- 12 plots, defaulting to red.
Can I selectively show only certain levels in MQ_ValueLevels?
Yes, you can selectively uncheck the Show Plot option for each plot within the Plots section of the indicator properties dialog. Uncheck the plots you want to disable.
What other indicators were updated with the new algorithm?
The following TOS indicators are now using the new algorithm:
- MQ SuperMomentum
Does MQ SuperMomentum need to be updated along with the other indicators?
No. MQ SuperMomentum already has the new algorithm in the current version, Version 2.