Why You Need Historical Forex Data
The obvious use for historical data is backtesting. You can easily upload it into your backtesting software to test a manual or automated strategy.
But the raw historical data itself can be useful. There are some studies that you can do with raw data that are much easier to do in Excel, than with a full-blown software solution. You might be surprised at how easy is it to find some things in Excel that are much harder to do in backtesting software.
So in this post, I'm going to show you where to get free Forex historical data for Excel analysis and tailor it to suit your needs. This skill will give you more ways of analyzing the markets and extracting profitable trading patterns.
Where To Get Forex Data
There are a few ways to download historical Forex data. I provide my latest finds on the Resources page.
Most quality sources provide data back to about 2001. If you can find clean data sources that go back further than that, let me know in the comments below.
But for all intents and purposes, 14+ years of data is good for most testing purposes. I would list the data sources here, but blog posts do not get updated nearly as often as the Resources page, so just check that page for my latest suggestions.
Now let's get into how to do the actual Forex data mining.
Load The Data Into Your Forex Software
Before we get into the more manual methods, let's take a look at the easiest way to examine multiple timeframes. The first way of using your data is simple. Your backtesting software will take care of most of heavy lifting, so you just need to have a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file and use the upload feature.
For example, you just click a button in Forex Tester 2. The software creates the data for the different timeframes and you are all set.
If you want to make it even easier, then simply click on the Update from server button. The software will manage the download for you. In a couple of minutes, you will have the latest data and you don't have to mess around with a separate file.
Then simply change the timeframe on the chart and you instantly have the chart you need. But looking at a chart isn't always the best way to analyze data.
Now let's take a look at what it takes to work with the raw files. This may work for some people, but it isn't the easiest way to go about it.
However, I would like to show it to you so you understand how much trouble it can be to do everything 100% manual. Don't worry, I will show you an easier way after this.
Using Excel Analyze Your Data
You can use Excel to get the data you need, if you are in a pinch. And I mean if you are really in a pinch. You will see what I mean in a moment.
For example, let's say that you want to create daily candles from 4 hour candles. The more likely scenario is that you will want to create something like 1 hour candles from 1 minute candles, but this example is easier to demonstrate.
First, you can add references to the open and close. Just set the open and close to the open and close of the day. That is super simple.
Next, you can find the highest high and lowest low in the series by using the formulas:
- =Max(High Column)
- =Min(Low Column)
This will give you the high and the low for the day. Then highlight all the cells for that day, including the formula cells and drag it down to replicate the formula. You can then copy all the cells with the daily totals and sort by the date to give you a new data set.
Whew, yeah that takes a long freaking time. Especially if you are dealing with tick data. It can also take some trial and error to get it right.
That is why I prefer the hybrid data collection method.
There is a far easier method than using only Excel however. Think of it as a hybrid, taking the best of both worlds. This gives you the benefit of Excel analysis, without the pain of all the manual setup.
You can use Forex Tester 2 to create the data aggregation for you. Simply go into Data Center and make sure that the data is updated to the most recent data.
Then click on the Export button. In the next window, select where you want to export the file to and the date range. Select the currency pair, then the timeframe that you want to export.
Finally, click on the Export button (yes the other one) and you are all set. Unlike importing new data, the export is actually pretty quick.
Now you have a file that is aggregated into the timeframe that you want to analyze. How easy was that?!
This post is setting the foundation for future tutorial in which I will use Excel analysis to examine price patterns. Using Excel is not the best method in all cases. But as you will see, it is much more efficient in certain instances.
Understanding how to get this data will allow you to follow along in future posts and hopefully help you do some of your own analysis. Stay tuned as we really dig into the analysis of different common trading setups. Find out if they really work and what you can expect.
Disclosure: I do get a commission if you buy through some of the links on this page. But it does NOT cost you anything extra, it helps me create more useful trading stuff and I donate a portion to my charity partner.