Creating charts with Lotus
by John O'Donahue
Those who have used a personal computer for technical analysis of the markets probably are familiar
with Lotus 1-2-3, and recognize what a powerful tool it can be. It is particularly good for evaluating new
indicators or working out how to apply an idea to a given problem.
One of the most useful functions of Lotus is its graphics package. I frequently use it as a general purpose
utility to graph the results of other programs written in languages which are more efficient at processing
data, but poor at plotting the results. After all, where else can you get a color graphics package that offers
user-scaled output to plotters or printers and has such a nice spreadsheet thrown in?
The key to coaxing a bit more from Lotus 1-2-3 lies in viewing it as a family of useful programs, rather
than a single package. By adding a few extra members to that family, the overall capabilities of Lotus can
easily be extended. For example, I use a simple little BASIC routine to reformat price data so that I can
draw high, low and close bars instead of the usual line graph of a stock price. This is useful when using
stops, because the high and low are much more significant than the close. A BASIC program for this is
given in the sidebar "Using BASIC Programs to Message Data".