Working with External Data Fields – Part 1

by Oct 18, 2018All Articles, Technical Analysis, Education

External Data Fields (EDFs) have long been available in Optuma to clients with a subscription to Enterprise Services (our institutional service). What’s great about EDFs is they allow you to import or input custom values on a code-by-code basis, which can then be referenced throughout Optuma.

With the recent release of the new Professional Services for Optuma, EDFs are now accessible to more traders, and that’s great news if you’re wanting to expand your trading strategies.

Examples of EDFs

EDF values can be entered manually into an Optuma Watchlist, or they can be imported via CSV or Excel spreadsheets. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

External Ranking System

If you have a ranking system that is calculated and tracked outside of Optuma (let’s say a weekly report you subscribe to for example), with EDFs you can now input these custom rank values into your Watchlists and reference them in scans or include them in reports.

The first step is to open a Watchlist containing the codes to which you want to apply the external ranking value.

Click on the + icon along the top right corner of the Watchlist and select New External Data Field from the menu displayed.

A new window will open where you can setup the details of the new EDF.

Click the New button, and from the menu displayed select User-Defined Field.

Enter a name for the new EDF, (in this example I called it “My Rank” but you can use any label as long as it’s unique), then set the type to Number with zero decimals.

Click the Add Field button to complete the setup of the new EDF, and a new column called My Rank will be added to your Watchlist (it will be blank to begin with). From here you can begin to input the values of your custom rank value.

Left-click on the first row under the My Rank heading and it will become editable. Enter in a numerical value (in this example I used numbers between 1 and 10, but EDFs can be anything – Dates, Text, Numbers, etc), pressing Enter will take you to the next row, allowing you to quickly fill in the details for each code in the Watchlist.

Once all rows have been setup with a value, you can begin to reference that value via scripting using the DataField() function. In the example below I added a second row to the Watchlist to indicate whether the custom rank is greater than 5, however you can use the script anywhere – scans, alerts, chart headers, etc.

The script I used in this example was:


As a side note, if you have not already done so, I would highly recommend you check out the free scripting courses here.  Darren has done a fantastic job at demystifying the Optuma scripting language for those who are new to Optuma or scripting in general, and perhaps find the area somewhat daunting (remember: it’s been designed for non-programmers!).

Notes from a 3rd party

I want to show you how EDFs can be used to import 3rd party notes or recommendations for various symbols, and display that information as a column on your Watchlist. For the information to be imported you need a code/exchange reference, and at least one value you want to import as an EDF.

The example above shows an Excel sheet, with the first column referencing both the security code and the exchange. This is done to prevent the wrong code being selected in the event multiple matches are found across several exchanges. You don’t “have to” include the exchange part, but if you don’t, and you have data from multiple exchanges, you cannot be 100% sure which security your note is getting linked to.

With this information saved in an Excel file you can import the data into Optuma’s EDF system (note: the column headings used in the Excel file will be used as the data field names in Optuma.

You can view the instructions on how to import EDFs via Excel files here.

Once it has been imported, the EDF value can now be added to your watchlists. Any code which has been associated with that EDF will display the information in the column (text, date, number, etc).

Additionally, any changes made to the Excel document will be automatically updated in your Watchlists each time Optuma is restarted.

Displaying EDFs on Charts

Once you have set up your EDFs in Optuma, they can be referenced in several areas. We’ve seen how to use them in Watchlists, however you can also use them in scanning, chart headers, or display them on charts directly using the Chart Element tool.

In the above image I’ve applied two Chart Element tools, both referencing different EDFs that have been imported in to Optuma (for more information on the Chart Element tool see this KnowledgeBase article).

These are just some of the ways in which EDFs can be used. In my next blog article I will show you how you can use EDFs to build your own Portfolio Manager in Optuma. As always, any questions please get in touch!

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Matthew Humphreys

Matthew Humphreys

Client Services & Product Director

Matt Humphreys is the Product Manager at Optuma. Starting out in the Customer Service section with 1st level support, he now has over 10 year's experience in assisting traders with technical issues. This has given him a unique perspective on what is needed to streamline computer systems to maximise the benefits that technology can provide.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Thanks! Look forward to the portfolio management posting; specifically how to multiply price changes by weights (EDF) to get to a daily portfolio change%.


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