Bid/Ask Charts need some love

It’s been more than four years since Bid/Ask charts received any meaningful updates. There are lot of great community indicators that allow traders to customize their charts exactly how they want whether they use candlesticks, or heikin ashi bars, or renko etc. But those of us order flow traders who use footprint charts rely less on indicators and more on the readability of each price rotation. Compared to all other trading platforms that I know of, Tradovate has very minimal customization options for its bid/ask charts.

Below on the left is my Tradovate chart and on the right is the same time on my Sierra chart:

I find the Sierra chart much more readable. The candle bodies and wicks are clearly visible. Price levels and calculations are fully colored by the dominant side. I’ve highlighted a point of interest in orange. With just a glance on the Sierra chart you can see the negative delta, green body, and long shadow followed by another divergent candle. It’s also easier to see the low volume nodes in the previous rotation where there are likely buyers still waiting. The tradovate chart is much more ambiguous. It’s very difficult to distinguish the bodies from the wicks and the way the bid/ask is shaded does not show a confident entry.

On Sierra, after the first delta divergent candle I placed a limit order at 4118.5 that I let run for 20 points. If I had been using my Tradovate chart I likely would have put my order at 4117.75 and missed the trade.

Over the past few years I’ve developed my trading strategy and I’d like to keep using it with Tradovate for convenience and cost.

With that in mind I have some suggestions:

  • Fill background based on dominant side of bid/ask
  • Normalization based on a selected number of candles… E.g. avg volume of n candles / avg range of n candles
  • Color prices by customizable % of normalization. E.g. .30, .60, 1.00, 1.30, 1.60
  • Allow spacing between candles and/or center of candles
  • Allow candle bodies to be placed on either side separately

Those are just a few suggestions. I’m sure other order flow traders have more but overall we just need more customization options than just opaque volume and constant width. I’d love to know if there are any improvements coming.

I’ve been thinking about exactly this. One other issue I’ve observed is when I zoom out and in there seems to be some sort of anti-aliasing issue or something with the font, previous rotations are all blurry but the current one developing is sharp. So I am regularly having to do a refresh of the page, not ideal at all. It’d be nice to turn off the numbers completely as well.

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This happens to TPO charts, as well. With TPOs you can align the brackets and then compress it back and sometimes that’ll clear the blurriness.

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