New Release – Acme Level Bands Pack

Do you trade price levels? Do you find it kind of tedious to transfer your daily levels/trade plan onto your charts? Do you have an indicator that can do it for you?

Do you have one that can even draw it on all of your charts for a given instrument, all at the same time? If you don’t, then brother (and sister) do I have a pack for you.

Check it out. Trade ’em well.

[box type=”info”]This pack has be renamed to the “Acme Trade Planning Pack.”[/box]

Updated – Acme Volume Impression Pack 3.0.3

One small fix and one small change to 3.0.3:

  • Fix: changed the description for Style – Max Font Size setting to something that makes sense in English.
  • New Feature: For a certain member who make a good case for a size filter, your ship has come in.

Here is an example with all prints under 99 filtered out:

Acme Volume Impression - Filtered

… and the filter setting:

Acme Volume Impression - Parameters with Filter

Once again, you asked for it. You got it. You can grab it here.

Comment Poll – Bring on the Noise?

A number of the Acme indicators and studies have the ability to play sounds at important events, though I have been leaving those features out of the packs so far.

Why? Some folks are very sensitive to code reading from or writing to their hard drive. Justifiably so. Playing sounds requires directly reading sound files stored on your hard drive, and earlier I pledged to not do anything like that in the FAQs.

One good example is in the Acme Time and Sales Pack. In my private version of Time and Sales, when a “buy” block comes across the tape it plays a high cowbell sound. When a block “sell” order comes across, a low cowbell sound plays. That way I can hear when order flow pace is picking up from another room if I am not at my trading desk.

Another example is the Acme Bar Timer, also in the Time and Sales Pack. In my version it can play a sound for the RTH session opens and/or closes.

What’s more, the market internals packs I am prepping for release can also play sounds for important events. I think these are a whole lot less effective without sounds, because when things are moving fast it can be really hard to watch them and watch the instrument I am trading at the same time.

Of course, if the packs had sound features you’d be able to play whatever sound you wanted for a particular event. Edit: You’d be able to turn them on and off too.

Also, there is a way for you to protect yourself by having Windows limit the locations/folders from which files can be read. But, to be honest, it’s really complicated to explain and set up, and I can’t be supporting Windows security configurations in addition to Acme and NinjaTrader.

Lastly, at this point it’s just not practical for me, from a time management perspective, to make separate releases for those who want sounds and those who don’t. Thus it’s all or nothing, at least for now.

So what say you? Sounds or no sounds? What if anything would make you feel OK about having the Acme packs read sound files from your hard drive?

Please leave your comments below, or if you want to express something less publicly you can use support AT

Breaking Out

If you are a volume profile or market profile trader, one of the things I think you have to really understand is the so-called initial balance (IB). If you’re not sure what the IB is or you have not studied how price to reacts to the initial balance later in the day, this study is for you.

NinjaTrader Tips & Tricks, Part Three

Again In the spirit of bringing to light some of the more useful but obscure bits of NinjaTrader, this time I’ll show you how to work with indicators not just on the X and Y axes, but on the Z axis too. If you’re not sure, the Z axis is the simply front-to-back dimension.

I’ll bet most people don’t realize that NinjaTrader 7 renders everything on your charts in separate layers, and that you can move bars and plot lines between those layers. Want to see how?

Well, for example, if you have any charts where your bars or plots are over the top of something:

NinjaTrader - Bars in Frontbut you wish they were behind that same something, you can make that happen pretty easily. But it is a little bit fussy. You have to click on the bars until you see some small squares appear over the bars. If you don’t get it on the first try, click again a little to the left or right.

Once you see the squares on the bars, then press the Shift key on your keyboard. You’ll see a small hint appear which reads Level [X] of [X]. It should look something like this:

NinjaTrader - Bars Highlighted and SelectedOnce you see the level hint, scroll the wheel on your mouse to move the bars between the levels. Lift up on the Shift key when you find the level you want, and you’re done:

NinjaTrader - Bars Behind IndicatorEasy as that.

Until next time, trade ’em well…

Note: If you missed any of the previous installments you can find them here.

What’s in a Tick?

Have a look at this hot-off-the-press study which drills down into trade size and frequency for some of the most commonly traded futures instruments.

Have a look and see what you think. Will it change the way you look at price movement and volume?

NinjaTrader Tips & Tricks, Part Two

In part one, I talked about colors, transparency and showed how you can use them to get the most out of your chart real estate.This time, I’ll show you how you can use the drawing features in NinjaTrader to mark the opening swing (or any other price level) on one chart and have those horizontal lines appear on all charts automatically.

Drawing Lines & Shapes on Every Chart at Once

I typically find and mark the opening swing, OS for short, in the ES using a 2500 volume chart. Once you’ve eyed the OS range, which today was 1129.00 to 1122.50, create a horizontal line:

Line - OS HighDrag the line to your level on the chart, then double-click it to bring the line properties window up:

OS High - Line PropertiesYou can change the color and style of the line while you are there, but the setting we are really after in this example is the strangely named “Attach to” property. You’ll want to set it to [Instrument Name] (All charts), like so:

OS High - Line Attachment

Click OK. Once the properties window is closed, click on the line again to highlight it. Then on the keyboard press Control + C, then Control + V to to copy and paste the line. Now drag the just-pasted line the desired location, which in this example is 1122.50:

OS  - High And LowAnd boooooommm! It’s now auto-magically (a computer geek term) on my footprint and all other ES charts too:

OS High and Low - Boooom

By the way, this same trick works for all the NinjaTrader 7 shapes such as circles, rectangles and even text.

Trade ’em well…

NinjaTrader Tips and Tricks, Part One

I am starting a series of mini tutorials on Ninjatrader 7. Not how to create a chart, or anything like that. More like how to tweak it to really make it your own, and overall make NT as useful as possible.

Basically, the series will be things you didn’t know you needed to know about NT7. Well, maybe you didn’t need to know them, but along the way I’ve discovered some things which are extremely useful but not very obvious. Hidden gems, if you will. It’s part of NT’s inimitable charm, methinks.  So, here we go.

Did you know you can make colors in NT partially or completely transparent?

I love to use transparency because I typically have a lot of drawings and lines on my charts, and when they are not fully opaque nothing is ever really hidden. So how do you do it? The geek term for it is the “alpha channel.” In computer graphics, all colors are represented by some combination or red, green and blue, and each of those colors are in turn represented with numbers in the range of 0 to 255. 0 being very dark and 255 being very bright. 

Now, most don’t realize that there is a 4th piece of the color puzzle. Yup, you guessed it, the alpha. The range of possible values for the “alpha” or opacity part of the color is also 0 to 255. 0 being completely transparent and 255 being totally opaque.

All the color sequences in the NT parameter windows (for indicators and bar data series) are described either by name, or with a series of 4 numbers separated by commas. Each of these numbers can be in the range of, you guessed it, 0 to 255. The sequences are arranged as follows:

A, R, G, B

for alpha, red, green and blue.

For example, if I wanted to make my green up candles mostly transparent and my red down candles also mostly transparent, I’d enter the following unto the parameters window:

64, 255, 0, 0 (red)
64, 0, 255, 0 (green)

which for red color, in plain English, translates to 3/4 transparent, completely red, not green at all and not blue at all either. Same idea for green. So if I start with a chart that looks like this:

Before - No Transparency

I can end up with a chart that looks like this, where I can actually read the text inside the circle:

After - 3/4 Transparency

Here is the data series parameter window, with the appropriate settings highlighted:

After - Parameters with Transparency

Until next time… trade ’em well.

Update: in part two I show you how to draw shapes all charts for a given instrument at the same time.

Monday Bonus Pack – Acme Time and Sales

Folks, if you are as bad at reading the DOM as I am this one may be for you. It’s the Acme Time and Sales Pack which features the debut of the Acme Magic Tape study.

Yes, it is in fact named after 3M’s cellophane tape. Har-dee-har. It just sort of rolled out of my fingers when I was naming it, and it seemed kind of funny, so it stuck. Get it? Stuck? But it is a real space-saver and fills a vital if peripheral role. I use it on my soon-to-be released Acme Volume Footprint chart.

Check it out… and trade ’em well.

P.S. My plan is for this one to remain part of the freely downloadable Standard packs, in case you are curious.

Can a Half Make You Whole?


If we are talking about a phone number, a maple-bacon doughnut (don’t knock it ’til you try it) or having only 50 cents in your pocket at the Dollar Store… probably not. In any of those cases, you’re gonna need the entire thing.

On the other hand, if we are talking about the ES or the NQ it’s quite possible that a half may be even better than a whole. Half a gap, that is. The half-gap’s simplicity is really a beautiful thing and it sets up some very frequent and consistent trades. So what is a half-gap, exactly? It’s just half the distance between the previous RTH closing price and the current RTH opening price. You’re dubious. Seems too easy, right? Read on…

Both of these instruments love to tag, roll around on and (dare I say it) caress the half-gap (HG) line. Many traders focus manically on the gap fill, and in doing so they fail to notice how important the half-gap level is intraday. The HG level is very frequently in confluence with another important level, such as a IB, range midpoint, daily pivot or Fibonacci level. When evaluating a potential level, I look for confluence. Said another way, when the half-gap lines up with market structure I’m often lining up to trade it.

The HG line is something I’ve been drawing manually on my charts for quite a while now, and it’s been on my list of features to add to the Acme Volume Profile for some time. Well, it’s finally available in the Deluxe Edition.

Unsure? Want more? Here are several recent examples from both the ES and the NQ.

Let’s start with the ES on 8/19. Often the levels price conspicuously rocket through are just as important the levels at which it bounces or pauses. Notice how price behaved in the morning, and then returned to probe and then back-test the HG line:

ES Half-Gap 8/19

Again the ES, but on 8/16 and 8/17. Notice the clean bounces on 8/16 at the start and end of the day. Then on 8/17, the ES reversed 2 ticks shy of the HG level but then came back later to pause and back-test on the way down to the LOD:

ES Half-Gap 8/16 + 8/17Final ES example, this time from 8/5. This is the kind of caressing or “flirtation” I was referring to. Several probes of the HG from underneath, then a failure and race down to the VPOC. But not before a back-testing the level… twice!

ES Half-Gap - 8/5“What about  the NQ?”, you ask. I’m glad you did because I have some examples for it too. On 8/19 again, we see a similar behavior to the ES with a race-through early in the day and a followed by a double-tap in the middle of the session:

NQ Half-Gap - 8/19Then on 8/11 and 8/12 we have a nice clean reversal on the morning of the 11th, and follow up on the 12th with the shoulders of an ugly inverted H & S pattern resting right on the HG level:

NQ Half-Gap - 8/11 + 8/12And our final NQ example from 8/9. Here we have another very deliberate-looking morning bounce off the HG followed by a pierce, then pause then headfake-backtest:

NQ  Half Gap - 8/9

Draw it yourself or let the Acme Volume Profile Pack (Deluxe Edition) do it for you. But don’t reject the half-gap. It can give you a “Whole Lotta Love.”

Trade ’em well… should be an exciting week.