Advanced Scan Workbench

Advanced Scan Workbench

Scans are an invaluable resource for technical analysis; they allow you to envision a desirable chart and then see it in the real world. The Advanced Scan Workbench helps you achieve this goal, giving you the tools you need to build, test, and run complex scans, then save them for later reuse.

Only available to our Extra and Pro subscribers, the Advanced Scan Workbench is for users who desire complete control over the Scan Engine, allowing for virtually any form of criteria, rather than simply the most common forms that are provided in the Standard Scan Workbench. It can do all the things that the Standard Scan Workbench can do, with several important additions, such as:

  • Create conditions with multiple indicators on each side of the Comparison Operator
  • Create scans that join different conditions together with “OR” logic
  • Modify more of the scan parameters
  • Specify the sort order of results
  • Display extra fields in the scan results

This article will introduce you to the main features of the Advanced Scan Workbench, but does not cover the details of writing scans. For more information on using our scan 'language', please see our Writing Scans article in the Support Center.

Accessing the Workbench

To access the Advanced Scan Workbench from the Members Dashboard, click the “Advanced Scan Workbench” link in the Control Center, or click the “New Scan” button in the Scan Center section of the page.

You can also go to the Standard Scan Workbench and click the “Advanced Scan Workbench” button at the bottom of the page to 'import' a standard scan into the Advanced Scan Workbench.

Parts of the Workbench

  1. Scan Management
  2. Starting Date Adjuster
  3. Scan Criteria Box
  4. Run Scan Button
  5. Reset Criteria Button
  6. Check Syntax Button
  7. Scan Components Area
  8. Additional Resources

The use of each of these sections is described below.

Building a Scan

The Scan Criteria Box

The Scan Criteria Box contains the criteria used to run the scan. All scan clauses must be entered in this box in order to be part of your scan.

When you first create a new scan, there are a couple of clauses already entered in the Scan Criteria Box. These represent default filters that are often used in scans, but you are free to modify or remove these criteria from your scan. Additional scan clauses can either be typed in by hand or inserted from the Scan Components area.

Scans can be a maximum of 8000 characters long; a message below the Scan Criteria Box shows you how many characters you can still add to your scan.

If at any point you want to start over, clicking the Reset Criteria button below the Scan Criteria Box will clear all scan criteria out of the box and reset it to the default criteria.

Also below the Scan Criteria Box is the Check Syntax button. We recommend clicking this button after each scan clause you add or modify, to make sure there are no errors in the clause. If there is an error, text will appear at the bottom of the box that identifies the problem. Spotting a mistake after adding a single clause is usually much faster than trying to spot a mistake after entering twenty clauses.

Scan Components

The Scan Components area can be used to insert common clauses into the scan you are building. This is generally faster than typing them in by hand, and ensures that the clause's syntax is correct.

These clauses are broken down into several different categories, each having its own dropdown menu in the Scan Components area. Once you select a clause from one of the menus, click the 'Add' button. The clause will be appended to the scan in the Scan Criteria Box with its default settings. You can modify these default settings by hand in the Scan Criteria Box.

The Scan Components categories are listed below. For more details on the specific clauses and their syntax, please click the link to go to the appropriate section of the Scan Syntax Reference:

  • Ticker Properties - includes clauses for filtering by security type, symbol, name, country, exchange, and more.
  • Price, Volume, and SCTRs - includes clauses for standard price and volume measurements (OHLC values, all time highs, volume, liquidity, etc.). Also includes SCTR ranking clauses.
  • Technical Indicators - includes clauses for several popular technical indicators. Also includes clauses for standard arithmetic functions, such as min/max and percent change; see the Technical Functions section of the Scan Syntax Reference for details on these functions.
  • Candlestick Patterns - includes clauses for common bullish and bearish candlestick patterns, such as hammers or morning stars. Also includes Elder Bar and Ichimoku Cloud patterns. These are all true/false clauses, indicating whether the pattern is currently present for that stock.
  • Candlestick Building Blocks - includes clauses for more discrete candlestick patterns, called candlestick building blocks - everything from dojis to spinning tops. These are all true/false clauses, indicating whether the pattern is currently present for that stock.
  • P&F Patterns - includes clauses for standard bullish and bearish P&F patterns, such as bullish triangles and double bottom breakouts. These are all true/false clauses, indicating whether the pattern is currently present for that stock.
  • Predefined Scans - includes clauses for several popular bullish and bearish technical indicators that are found on our Predefined Scans page - everything from MACD crossovers to 52-week highs/lows.
  • Indexes and ETFs - includes clauses to filter stocks by membership in various indexes (e.g. limiting to stocks that are in the S&P 500). Also includes ETF clauses that allow you to limit your results to non-inverse or leveraged ETFs.
  • ChartLists - includes clauses to limit your scan results to stocks that are in a particular ChartList. In the scan clause, the ChartList will be identified by number, but there will be a comment to the right of the clause that shows the ChartList's name.
  • Sectors and Industries - includes clauses to limit your scan results to stocks that are (or are not) in a particular sector or industry. We currently offer scanning for US and Canada sectors and industries only. Be sure to select “US” or “CA” before choosing a sector or industry from the dropdown menu.

Managing Your Scans

Once you've built your scan, saving the scan criteria allows you to reuse your custom scan any time you want, without having to reenter all the filters. Extra users can save up to 200 custom scans on their account, and Pro members can save up to 300. The number of scans you have available will be displayed at the top of the Advanced Scan Workbench.

The Scan Management area of the Advanced Scan Workbench allows you to add, modify, delete, and view your saved scans.

When you first create a new scan, you can save it by clicking the “Save As” icon in the Scan Management area. You will be prompted to enter a name for your scan. Choose a name that will help you find it again later. Your scans will be listed alphabetically by name, so you may want to add a prefix to each scan name, to group your scans by the main indicator used, or by bullish vs. bearish scans. Use whatever form of organization is most useful to you.

To load a saved scan in the Advanced Scan Workbench later, click the “Your Favorite Scans” dropdown menu in the Scan Management area and find your scan on the list. They are arranged alphabetically by scan name. You can tell which saved scan is loaded in the Scan Criteria Box, because the name of the currently-loaded scan will be displayed in this dropdown box.

If you make changes to your saved scan, you can save the changes by clicking the Save icon in the Scan Management area. If you want to save a copy of the scan, you can click the “Save As” icon and specify a different name for the new copy of the scan. To rename your scan without creating a new copy, click the “Rename” icon and specify a new name for the existing scan.

In the event that you no longer need a scan, you can delete it by loading it in the Scan Criteria Box, and then clicking the Delete icon in the Scan Management area.

To view all your saved scans on a single page, click the “View All” icon in the Scan Management area. This page will display the scan name and syntax for each of your saved scans. If you wish to remove one or more scans from this view, you can check the box to the left of the scan's name and click the red “Delete Selected Scans” button to easily delete them from your account.

Using Your Scan

Once your scan has been built, running it is pretty simple. There are a couple of steps you might want to take before pressing the Run Scan button.

The Starting Date Adjuster

Before running your scan, you can use the Starting Date Adjuster to specify which day of data the scan is run against. This can be used to “backtest” a scan - i.e., see what results it would have returned at some point in the past.

The default setting is 0 days before the Last Intraday Update (during market hours) or Last Market Close (outside of market hours). Most of the time, you'll want to find stocks that meet the criteria right now, so the default settings will be just fine.

If you need to change the settings, you can specify that your scan start up to 3000 trading days (roughly 12 years) in the past. Keep in mind that, depending on your scan criteria, the further back you go, the less accurate your results will be. Specifically, exponential moving average calculations require a larger number of data points to be accurate. EMAs with large offsets are prone to inaccuracies.

When you click in the “Starting” box, a popup calendar will display the associated date for that offset value. Alternately, if you click on a date in the calendar, that offset will be put into the “Starting” box.

The offset will be relative to either the latest intraday update or the last close, based on the selection in the dropdown menu.

Note: the Scan Engine will only run the scan on one date at a time. That is to say, the Scan Engine cannot run a single scan over a date range. For example, one may wish to run a scan for 52-week highs on the dates within the range of September 4th through 7th. Currently, this requires four separate scans using the appropriate date offsets.

Checking Syntax

It's always a good idea to check the syntax one last time before running your scan, to make sure there are no errors in your scan. To do this, just click the Check Syntax button below the Scan Criteria Box.

If there is a syntax error, text will appear at the bottom of the box that identifies the problem.

If you see this message:



Your scan syntax is correct. Click "Run Scan" to view the results.

Then you are ready to run the scan.

Running the Scan

To run the scan, simply click the green “Run Scan” button below the Scan Criteria Box.

The scan results will launch in a new tab or window for you to view. Be sure to check out the Working with Scan Results article in the Support Center for more information on getting the most out of your scan results.

Conclusions

The Advanced Scan Workbench is a powerful tool for creating, managing, and running your scans. While it takes some time and effort to learn how to write effective scans, the Scan Components area and other features of the Advanced Scan Workbench can significantly lower the learning curve.

Additional Resources

Videos