This is something that has helped me a lot and I hope that it helps you too.
I have ADD-like tendencies and I'm fine with that because ADD isn't a real disease. It's just something the drug companies made up to sell more pills to irritated parents.
But it does mean that I tend to get distracted easily. Therefore, I need to be very conscious of removing distractions from my environment. Otherwise, I can easily go down a distraction rabbit hole that takes me 3 hours to climb back out of.
One distraction that I didn't even know was an issue was chart information overload.
In other words, I had too many colors on my charts.
In this post, will show you how I discovered black and white charts, how they have helped me, and I'll share the settings that I use.
The Side-By-Side Comparison
I have seen people using black and white charts, and I wondered if it really helped to set them up that way.
So during a round of backtesting, I gave it a try.
It was actually pretty amazing. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it's not.
I was able to backtest about 5 years of data on the 30 minute chart, in one sitting. Normally, I would find myself quitting after one year of historical data.
So I sat down and asked myself why that was the case. I put the two charts side-by-side, like this:
First the old way…
Then I removed the colors…
Then I looked at each one and took an internal inventory of how I felt. I noticed that I feel much more calm when looking at the b/w chart.
How do you feel when you look at the green/red chart?
Perhaps a little more anxious or distracted?
For me, it was both.
Why Chart Colors Matter
As we all know, the candle colors are simply a way to represent price data….if the candle closed up or down. That might not seem like a big deal, at first.
But you may not be aware that those colors can also represent other things in your subconscious. This will be different for different people, depending on your natural tendencies and life experiences.
The colors may not affect you at all.
However, if the colors do affect you, then this is extra information that your brain has to process every time you look at a chart. For example, you may subconsciously associate the following things to red and green:
- Red: danger, losing, blood, creepy clown noses
- Green: money, “go” on a traffic signal, growth, Lucky Charms
Marketers know this and have made a science out of it.
Those extra thoughts are swimming around in your head every time you want to place a trade and are eating up valuable brain processing power. If your associations are strong enough, they may also affect your trading.
An obvious example that comes to mind is: If you have a strong association between red and danger, then that may cause you to stay out of short trades (since falling candles are red).
At a very basic level, for a split second, your brain will ask the question…
Wait, what do red and green mean again?
…every time you look at a chart.
Why go through the extra stress?
If you use black/white candles, that communicates the same thing as colored candles, but without the extra baggage.
The bottom line is that I found myself less tired when I started using black and white charts.
So I changed all of my templates.
How to Get Rid of Unnecessary Chart Colors
Getting rid of the colors on your screen is not hard. But there are a few nuances that might help you.
Here's how to do it on the two most popular Forex charting platforms.
In Metatrader, if you right-click on any chart and select Properties, you will see all of your chart colors. Here is how I set mine up.
Notice that I also made the Foreground and Grid darker. I found that this also helped make my charts easier to use.
Yes, the last few items have color, but I don't use volume and stop level and I only turn on the ask line when the spread on a trade makes a big difference. Otherwise, I really like this setup and it allows me to just focus on the price action.
The setup is similar on TradingView. Right-click a chart and select Properties.
Then there are two different tabs where you need to set the colors. The first tab is the Style tab. Here is what mine looks like:
You also have to setup the Background tab.
One of the biggest things that you might disagree with me on is the background. Some traders find a white background easier to use and others (like me) prefer the black background.
For me, the main reason is that the dark chart gives off less light and cuts down on my eye strain if I am sitting in front of the screens for awhile.
You might also want to try using blue light blocking glasses when you are trading.
Final Thoughts on Black and White Charts
So give it a try and see what you think. It is one of those things that you may not have thought to try, but once you do, you will probably wonder how you did it the other way for so long.
Maybe you want to use blue and white charts because they make you feel good.
Do what works best for you.
Also consider hiding your quote screen from view until you're are ready to trade. Those flashing colors are really distracting too. 🙂
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