Adding a Moving Average to the Volume Bars on a Chart

Adding a Moving Average to the Volume Bars on a Chart

Most SharpCharts include a histogram at the bottom of the chart that represents the trading volume for each period. Sometimes it is useful to add a moving average to those bars, to see when unusual volume days occur.

In this step-by-step tutorial, we'll create a chart with a 20-day moving average on the volume bars.

Create the SharpChart

Step 1:

The Dow ($INDU) will be the main symbol on our SharpChart. There are several ways to create a new SharpChart, but the easiest is to just enter the symbol in the Create-a-Chart box at the top of the page, then click “Go”.

Step 2:

To make the chart simpler, let's remove any Indicators and Overlays on our default chart. The quickest way to do that is to click the “Clear All” link in the Overlays section, then repeat the process with the “Clear All” link in the Indicators section. Once that's done, click one of the “Update” buttons to update the chart.

The chart should now look something like this:

Note: you may want to make other changes to the chart, such as changing the size or the color scheme. We're using the “Spruce” color scheme in this example.

Change Volume to an Indicator

The Volume setting in the Chart Attributes area is really a “shortcut” way to add volume to a chart with the default configuration. If you want to adjust the Volume configuration (for example, adding a moving average to the volume bars), you can use the “Volume” indicator instead.

Step 3:

To remove the “shortcut” Volume from the chart, change the Volume dropdown in the Chart Attributes area to “Off”. Then click the “Update” button to update the chart.

Step 4:

Select “Volume” from one of the empty indicator dropdowns. Make sure the Position dropdown is set to “Behind Price”, so that the volume will appear on the main chart panel. Click the “Update” button to update the chart.

Once these changes have been made, your chart should look similar to this:

Notice that the chart looks exactly the same as before. However, now that Volume is an indicator, we have more options for configuring the volume display.

Add the Moving Average to the Volume Indicator

There are two options for adding a moving average to your volume indicator.

Using Parameters Box

If you are not a member, or if you just need a quick Exponential Moving Average (EMA), you can enter the number of periods for your moving average in the “Parameters” box for your Volume indicator, then click the “Update” button. Note that you can only enter an EMA using this option.

Using Advanced Options

The preferred method for members is to use the Advanced options to add the moving average.

Step 5:

Members who are logged in should see the green “Advanced Options” triangle located just to the right in the Indicators area (note that this is different than the one in the Overlays area).

If the Advanced Options area isn't already visible on the SharpCharts Workbench for your Volume indicator, click the green triangle to make it appear.

Step 6:

Find the “Overlay” dropdown menu next to your Volume indicator, and select the kind of moving average you want to add to your volume bars (either “Simple Moving Avg” or “Exp. Moving Avg”). Enter the number of periods you want for your moving average in the Parameters box to the right of the Overlay dropdown. Click the “Update” button when you are done.

The Final Product

The finished chart will look similar to this one:

Click here to see a live version of this chart.

Additional Resources