Even if you’re new to Forex trading, you may have noticed that following the price charts of currency pairs is extremely important. Charts show the movements of currencies in a graphically appealing way, and traders use these charts to apply various technical tools in order to anticipate future price movements.
Being such an important tool in Forex trading, we compiled a list of the best Forex charting apps which you can use to analyse the market. In addition, we’ll explain the difference between trading platforms and charting software, and discuss why Forex charting is so important for traders.
What is a Forex charting platform?
A Forex charting platform uses price ticks from one or more brokers in order to plot a price chart, and features various tools which can be used to analyse those price charts. Unlike some trading platforms which don’t offer charts and charting tools and are only used to open market tickets, proper Forex charting software features a range of charting tools, various timeframes, and different types of charts to help you in making the best trading decisions.
While many brokers do offer trading platforms for their clients, some of these platforms are very limited in their functionality and don’t offer the complete set of tools needed to trade the market. This is especially true for experienced traders, who have already developed their trading strategies which may rely on specific technical indicators or timeframes. Before you open a trading account with a broker, make sure that the broker features a trading platform which suits all your needs.
There are complete trading platforms on the market which offer everything a trader needs, such as charting tools, different types of charts, technical indicators, and the ability to directly open orders on the market. Good examples of complete trading platforms are the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms, which have found their place in our list of the best free pieces of Forex charting software. Many respectable brokers offer MetaTrader as a free Forex charting software download for their clients.
Besides free charting software, there are also premium versions of these programs which offer certain additional benefits for traders. However, before you decide to invest in a paid version, make sure that the additional features are worth the money. For most traders, MetaTrader will do just fine.
Why is Forex charting software important?
Forex charting software is a vital tool for technical traders. Technical analysis relies on the analysis of price charts, chart patterns, technical indicators, or price action trading, which makes stable and reliable charting software extremely important for these types of traders. Even if you trade using fundamental analysis, chances are that you will use charts to identify entry and exit points for your trades.
Scalpers, day traders, swing traders, and position traders can all benefit from Forex charting software to make well-informed trading decisions.
An important consideration when choosing charting software is its availability on different platforms. For example, if you’re a Mac user, you can use free charting software for Mac such as the MetaTrader platform. However, bear in mind that in order to install MetaTrader on a Mac computer, you’ll have to use Wine, which allows you to open programs written for the Windows platform on an Apple computer.
In addition, if you’re often on the road, you may want to find charting software which can be run on a smartphone or tablet. Fortunately, there are many charting programs which can be installed on iOS or Android-based devices, so you can trade the market even if you’re on the go.
Best Forex charting software
The list below showcases some of the best examples of Forex charting software with tons of features. However, bear in mind that there is no single best program for this purpose, as it all depends on your personal preferences and needs.
MetaTrader 4 is still the undisputed king of retail traders. The platform features advanced charting tools, different types of price charts, dozens of built-in technical indicators, and a range of timeframes from the 1-minute TF to the monthly TF. Since MetaTrader 4 has been around for quite some time, there is a large online community which you can ask for help any time you have a question. In addition, you can easily customise the look of your charts and you can have a large number of charts simultaneously open in multiple tabs. This is a welcome feature, as you can switch between currency pairs and their respective price charts quite quickly when using MetaTrader.
Charts on MetaTrader 4 can be easily resized and you can also add various technical tools in a single click, such as trend lines, channels, Fibonacci retracements, or horizontal support and resistance lines. There are also thousands of plugins available for this platform, many of which are free, so you can rest assured that all your charting needs will be fulfilled.
If you want to trade on the go, there is a mobile version of MetaTrader available for iOS and Android-based devices. The functionality is quite limited, but you can still check price charts, add indicators, draw trend lines and other graphical objects, execute trades, and manage and close existing trades.
MetaTrader 5 is the successor of the extremely popular MetaTrader 4 platform. The new version features tons of upgrades, such as improved charting tools, more types of pending orders, additional timeframes, and a larger number of technical indicators.
With MetaTrader 5, you can now trade on the H2, H8, and H12 timeframes, and place new types of pending orders such as Stop Limit orders, which are a combination of stop orders and limit orders.
Just like with MetaTrader 4, there is a mobile version of MetaTrader 5 available for iOS and Android-based smartphones and tablets. While the functionality of these mobile versions is lower compared to their desktop-based counterparts, you can still look up the charts of your favourite currency pairs, add technical indicators and other graphical tools, and open, manage, and close existing trades.
The next charting software on our list is cTrader, which is not as widespread as MetaTrader. This trading platform also offers advanced charting tools and a user-friendly interface, but the number of available plugins is quite limited since not many brokers offer this trading platform. However, if for some reason you don’t like MetaTrader, I've added cTrader to this list to expand your available options.
Finally, TradingView is an extremely powerful web-based charting program which offers a tremendous range of functionalities such as technical indicators, charting tools, graphical objects, and price alerts. Since many traders use TradingView to analyse the market, the platform has evolved into a complete social platform in which traders can share their trading ideas for free. You’ll find thousands of trade setups published by other traders who use TradingView, allowing you to get market insight from other successful traders.
While TradingView has the ability to connect the platform with your brokerage account, the platform is still mainly used for charting purposes. However, this should not be a major concern, as you can use a different trading platform to execute the trades charted on TradingView. You can use TradingView free of charge, but if you want additional tools and features, you need to pay a monthly fee which makes this charting platform not 100% free. While TradingView has no live Forex charting app available for smartphones, traders can access TradingView’s website directly from their smartphone’s web browser and enjoy many of the capabilities on the desktop version.
Forex charting software is an extremely important tool in Forex trading, especially if your trading is based on technical analysis tools to predict future price movements. In general, not all trading platforms feature charting tools, with some of them only offering rudimentary charts without additional tools. That’s why many traders choose a trading platform which combines both charting tools and offers the ability to place market orders directly on the platform.
The best platforms for this are both MetaTrader 4 and its successor, MetaTrader 5. If you’re trading with a respectable broker, you’ll likely have the option to download MetaTrader directly from the broker’s website.
Besides MetaTrader, cTrader is also a trusted platform for retail Forex traders. However, being less popular than MetaTrader, there is a smaller number of available plugins and a smaller online community which supports cTrader.
Finally, TradingView is one of the best pieces of free live Forex charting software available for Forex traders, which can be directly accessed through your web browser. Aside from its charting capabilities, TradingView is also well known for its social trading aspect with thousands of trade ideas published on the site on a daily basis. However, bear in mind that some of TradingView’s functionalities are not completely free, and there are monthly packages offered to traders who need advanced tools in their trading. Nevertheless, the free version of TradingView does a great job for beginners and experienced traders alike.