Contents of the P&F.DOC file
Point and Figure Charting Program by David W. Rettger
What is Point and Figure charting?
Point and Figure (P&F) charts differ from standard bar charts
in two major respects. Instead of using verticle bars to show
stock prices over time, P&F charts use x's and o's to show price
and ignore time altogether. Rising prices are designated by a
column of x's. Falling prices are shown as a column of o's. Each
x or o represents a stock's price in a certain range. Usually one
x or o to each dollar. A stock with a very broad range (like IBM which
has traded from $70 to $175 in the last 5 years) may be better suited
to 2 to 5 dollars per x or o. This is the so-called "box size".
When a stock is rising, a column of x's is generated. No o's will be
generated until the price of the stock falls by some specified
reversal amount. Typically a three box reversal is used. If the
box size is one dollar and the high is $45, no o's will be produced
unless the stock falls to $42. If the stock does fall, a new column
is formed and o's start being entered corresponding to each new low
price encountered. A new column of x's only will form when the stock's
price rises by the reversal amount. In the above case, if the low
stock price was $35, a new upward move to $38 would be needed before
a column of x's would be started.
It can be seen that if a stock does not move up or down, no new x's
or o's will be added. The chart only grows with movement, not time.
P&F charts tend to filter out some of the chop experienced by stocks
and removes the irrelevant effects of time to price formations. Areas
of consolidation, breakouts, breakdowns, etc. all become more easily
How To Use the P&F Program
Copy the P&F.EXE program to its own subdirectory. Data should be in
a separate subdirectory. The first time you run the program, it will
ask you for the names of these subdirectories. It will store them
and not bother you again. (To change directories, type an asterisk (*)
instead of a stock ticker symbol and you will be given the opportunity
to change the defaults).
The data which is archived along with the P&F program is in ASCII format
and can be added to, changed, etc. with any word processor with a NON-
document mode or text mode. Do not use a mode which will put in special
codes for formating, etc.
The format of the data is simple. It uses date (in "MO/DA/YR" format
only),high price, low price, close price. These are sequential files.
They will be read and charted beginning at the start of the file and
continuing to the end. Add new data to the end of the files. Above all,
remember about the GIGO Monster. --->> Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Data files may use any ticker symbol desired, but in all cases must
use the extention ".DAT". When the program asks for a ticker symbol,
enter only the ticker (ex:IBM) and NOT the extention.
When you are asked by the program to set the directories, you will
also have to select either a random or ASCII file type for the
data. Unless you are using one of my other charting programs which
are based on a certain random file format, CHOOSE the ASCII format.
In the event that you wish to begin using the random file format, I
have included a program which will convert the ASCII files to random
or random to ASCII. It is called RND2ASCI.EXE. If you are editing
your data files with a word processor, you won't need it.
To run the program, select the proper directories and then tell it which
stock you want to chart (the file must be there). It will then ask for
the box size and number of boxes to reverse. Merely hitting return
for each of these will give you defaults of one dollar per box and
a three box reversal. It will then do the chart.
Scrolling The Chart
If the chart is too large to fit on the screen all at one time, use the
number pad arrow keys to scroll the chart up, down or sideways. IBM for
example, will be too tall if you select a 1 by 3 chart. You can scroll
up to see the formations at higher prices.
By default you will see the latest and lowest prices on the chart. If
there are too many vertical columns to fit on the screen, a sign indicating
<--- MORE will appear at the top of the screen. Hit the left arrow key
to veiw to the left.
To select a new chart, simply hit `/' to return to the main selection
Once you have a chart on the screen, you can draw lines on it. To
enter line mode, type `L'. A small cursor will appear up by the stock
ticker symbol. Use the number pad arrow keys to move it. Locate it
where you want the line to start and type `L' again. Move to the end
point and hit another `L'. You now have a line.
You will note that each time you hit the arrow keys, the cursor jumps
about 9 pixels. If you want it to jump only 1 pixel, type a `1' (not
on the number pad, but on the normal keyboard area). To go back to
9 pixels, type a `9'. Any number you enter will set the pixel jump
at that value.
A second way to draw a line is included. Move the cursor to the beginning
point of your line and hit the space bar. Move to the end point and hit
the space bar again. A line will be drawn. You can now move the cursor
to a new point and hit the space bar again. The old line will be erased
and a new line from your beginning point will be drawn to the new end point.
In either line mode, you can reset the beginning point simply by hitting
`R'. The beginning point is forgotten and you can move to a new
To exit the line mode, simply hit `/'. The cursor will disappear.
To select a new chart, hit another `/'.
Creating Hard Copy
If you will be wanting to make a copy of the chart produced by this
program, run the program GRAPHICS.COM which is on your DOS diskette
before running P&F.EXE. After the chart is on the screen, type
Random vs. ASCII Files
There are advantages to each method of filing, but for simplicity
I have included data files in the ASCII format. These files are
most easily viewed, edited, etc. with any word processor. Creating
your own files is easy. Just remember to use the ".dat" extension and
the "DATE", HIGH,LOW,CLOSE format. Also, the date must be in the
MO/DA/YR format. Slashes must be used and it must be enclosed in quotes.
When using the ASCII format, the P&F program will chart the entire
data file . If you want to chart only a portion of the data, create
a new file with only that portion in it.
The random files I use are set up to be compatable with a larger program
I have which tracks commodities as well as stocks. This format uses
1/1/83 as a base date (record #1). Each successive date is the next record.
A record length of 24 bytes gives room for quotes for OPEN, HIGH, LOW, CLOSE,
VOLUME, and OPEN INTEREST. The benefit of the random file system is speed.
To chart a period, 1986 to 1988, only the relevant portion of the file
needs to be read. Because the files set aside room for the data going
back to 1983, they do tend to be larger.
This Point and Figure Charting program can be very usefull in interpreting
stock price data. However, the interpretation is soley the responsiblity
of the user. The author can not assume any responsiblity for your trading
decisions. Also, the data included is intended only as sample data.
Accuracy of the data is not guaranteed. (For instance, the 12/86 month
of data for GM is missing.) Other gaps or rounding errors may exist
in that and other files. For best results, create and maintain your
This program is being released to the public on an as is basis. Revisions
may be made in the future. Please feel free to distribute this program
to others. No other individual or entity may offer this program for sale.
Questions and/or comments may be addressed to the author via the
Logicians bulletin board out of Downers Grove, Illinois.
Telephone (312) 964-0526.