Skip to content

Plotting on the same axis

Following a comment on the blog a slight addition (luckily just a few lines of code) has been made to plotting.

  • The abilitiy to plot any indicator on any other indicator

A potential use case:

  • Saving precious screen real estate by plotting some indicators together and having more room to appreciate the OHLC bars

    Example: join Stochastic and RSI plots

Of course something has to be taken into account:

  • If the scaling of the indicators is too different, some of the indicators would not be visible.

    Example: a MACD oscillating around 0.0 plus/minus 0.5 plotted over a Stochastic which moves across the 0-100 range.

The first implementation is in the development branch on commit …14252c6

A sample script (see below for the full code) let us see the effects


Because the sample strategy does nothing, the standards observers are removed unless activated via a command line switch.

First the script run with no switches.

  • A Simple Moving Average is plotted over the data

  • A MACD, Stochastic and RSI are plotted on own axis/subplots


$ ./

And the chart.


The second execution changes the panorama:

  • The Simple Moving Average is moved to a subplot

  • The MACD is hidden

  • The RSI is plotted over the Stochastic (the y-axis range is compatible: 0-100)

    This is achieved by setting the plotinfo.plotmaster value of the indicator to the other indicator to be plotted onto.

    In this case and because the local variables in __init__ are named stoc for Stochastic and rsi for RSI, it looks like:

    rsi.plotinfo.plotmaster = stoc


$ ./ --smasubplot --nomacdplot --rsioverstoc

The chart.


And to check the incompatibility of scales, let’s try plotting the rsi over the SMA:

$ ./ --rsiovermacd

The chart.


The RSI label shows up with the data and the SMA, but the scale is in the 3400-4200 range and hence … no traces of the RSI.

A further futile attempt is to place the SMA on a subplot and again plot the RSI on the SMA

$ ./ –rsiovermacd –smasubplot

The chart.


The label is clear but all that remains from the RSI is a faint blue line at the bottom of the SMA plot.


Added multi-line indicator plotted over another indicator

Going in the other direction, let’s plot a multi-line indicator on another indicator. Let’s plot the Stochastic on the RSI:

$ ./ --stocrsi


It works. The Stochastic label shows up and the 2 lines K% and D% too. But the lines are not “named” because we have got the name of the indicator.

In the code, the current setting would be:

stoc.plotinfo.plotmaster = rsi

To have the names of the Stochastic lines displayed instead of the name, we would additionally need:

stoc.plotinfo.plotlinelabels = True

This has been parametrized and a new execution shows it:

$ ./ --stocrsi --stocrsilabels

With the chart now showing the name of the Stochasti lines below the name of the RSI line.


The script usage:

$ ./ --help
usage: [-h] [--data DATA] [--fromdate FROMDATE]
                         [--todate TODATE] [--stdstats] [--smasubplot]
                         [--rsioverstoc | --rsioversma | --stocrsi]
                         [--stocrsilabels] [--numfigs NUMFIGS]

Plotting Example

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --data DATA, -d DATA  data to add to the system
  --fromdate FROMDATE, -f FROMDATE
                        Starting date in YYYY-MM-DD format
  --todate TODATE, -t TODATE
                        Starting date in YYYY-MM-DD format
  --stdstats, -st       Show standard observers
  --smasubplot, -ss     Put SMA on own subplot/axis
  --nomacdplot, -nm     Hide the indicator from the plot
  --rsioverstoc, -ros   Plot the RSI indicator on the Stochastic axis
  --rsioversma, -rom    Plot the RSI indicator on the SMA axis
  --stocrsi, -strsi     Plot the Stochastic indicator on the RSI axis
  --stocrsilabels       Plot line names instead of indicator name
  --numfigs NUMFIGS, -n NUMFIGS
                        Plot using numfigs figures

And the code.

from __future__ import (absolute_import, division, print_function,

import argparse
import datetime

# The above could be sent to an independent module
import backtrader as bt
import backtrader.feeds as btfeeds
import backtrader.indicators as btind

class PlotStrategy(bt.Strategy):
    The strategy does nothing but create indicators for plotting purposes
    params = dict(
        smasubplot=False,  # default for Moving averages

    def __init__(self):
        sma = btind.SMA(subplot=self.params.smasubplot)

        macd = btind.MACD()
        # In SMA we passed plot directly as kwarg, here the plotinfo.plot
        # attribute is changed - same effect
        macd.plotinfo.plot = not self.params.nomacdplot

        # Let's put rsi on stochastic/sma or the other way round
        stoc = btind.Stochastic()
        rsi = btind.RSI()
        if self.params.stocrsi:
            stoc.plotinfo.plotmaster = rsi
            stoc.plotinfo.plotlinelabels = self.p.stocrsilabels
        elif self.params.rsioverstoc:
            rsi.plotinfo.plotmaster = stoc
        elif self.params.rsioversma:
            rsi.plotinfo.plotmaster = sma

def runstrategy():
    args = parse_args()

    # Create a cerebro
    cerebro = bt.Cerebro()

    # Get the dates from the args
    fromdate = datetime.datetime.strptime(args.fromdate, '%Y-%m-%d')
    todate = datetime.datetime.strptime(args.todate, '%Y-%m-%d')

    # Create the 1st data
    data = btfeeds.BacktraderCSVData(,

    # Add the 1st data to cerebro

    # Add the strategy

    # And run it

    # Plot
    cerebro.plot(numfigs=args.numfigs, volume=False)

def parse_args():
    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Plotting Example')

    parser.add_argument('--data', '-d',
                        help='data to add to the system')

    parser.add_argument('--fromdate', '-f',
                        help='Starting date in YYYY-MM-DD format')

    parser.add_argument('--todate', '-t',
                        help='Starting date in YYYY-MM-DD format')

    parser.add_argument('--stdstats', '-st', action='store_true',
                        help='Show standard observers')

    parser.add_argument('--smasubplot', '-ss', action='store_true',
                        help='Put SMA on own subplot/axis')

    parser.add_argument('--nomacdplot', '-nm', action='store_true',
                        help='Hide the indicator from the plot')

    group = parser.add_mutually_exclusive_group(required=False)

    group.add_argument('--rsioverstoc', '-ros', action='store_true',
                       help='Plot the RSI indicator on the Stochastic axis')

    group.add_argument('--rsioversma', '-rom', action='store_true',
                       help='Plot the RSI indicator on the SMA axis')

    group.add_argument('--stocrsi', '-strsi', action='store_true',
                       help='Plot the Stochastic indicator on the RSI axis')

    parser.add_argument('--stocrsilabels', action='store_true',
                        help='Plot line names instead of indicator name')

    parser.add_argument('--numfigs', '-n', default=1,
                        help='Plot using numfigs figures')

    return parser.parse_args()

if __name__ == '__main__':