How to Use Donchian Channel Indicator – Complete Guide


The Donchian Channel is a trading indicator that allows you to visualize price ranges directly on your charts. While this indicator looks a bit complex especially for beginners, this guide will help you understand the way it works.

May 11, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – Donchian channel is a well-known indicator thanks to the infamous Turtle traders. This indicator is particularly helpful for identifying the entry and exit points in trends, especially for trending markets. In this guide, we’ll explore how you can use the Donchian channel indicator to make better trades.

What is Donchian channel indicator?

Developed in 1936 by Richard Donchian, the Donchian channel is one of the simpler technical indicators. The main purpose of this indicator is to enter the trend on a breakout and to ride the trend for as long as possible, avoiding shakeouts.

The indicator consists of mainly two bands – an upper resistance band and a lower support band.

  • The upper band is calculated as the highest high price for the selected ‘n’ period.
  • The lower band is calculated as the lowest low price for the selected ‘n’ period.
  • There is also a middle band which is the average of the two bands.

i.e, (Upper Band + Lower Band) / 2.

Usually, 20-period is the default trading setting of Donchian Channels. But this value can be tweaked depending on your trading style. The figure below shows a Donchian channel indicator.

How to Use Donchian Channel Indicator - Complete Guide

How to install the Donchian Channel Indicator on MT4 terminal

MetaTrader has a vast user base and a large set of default indicators; however, Donchian Channel Indicator is not one of them.

You can download it as a custom indicator and apply that to your MT4 platform in a few minutes. After downloading, follow the below steps to add it to your MT4 Terminal.

  • Copy the indicator file.
  • Open your MT4 Terminal.
  • Click on File (Left top corner) > Open Data Folder.
  • Open MQL4 Folder.
  • Open Indicators Folder.
  • Paste the downloaded indicator File here.
  • Now restart your MT4 Terminal.
  • Click on Insert > Indicators > Custom.
  • Find the indicator and click ‘Okay.’

The screenshot below shows how your MT4 chart should look after applying the Donchian Channel Indicator to it.

How to Use Donchian Channel Indicator - Complete Guide

Donchian channel indicator and volatility

Donchian channel indicator can be used for identifying market volatility.

  • When there are high volatility and heavy price fluctuations, Donchian channels are wider
  • When there is lower volatility and prices are relatively flat, Donchian channels are narrower.

How forex traders use Donchian channel indicator

There are clear bullish and bearish signals given by the Donchian channel indicator which are used by traders for making better trades.

Bullish Signals

  • Traders go long when price crosses the upper Donchian Channel
  • If the stock rises above the middle band of the Donchian channels, traders go long.
  • During a clear uptrend, when the price pulls back to the lower band, traders go long.

Bearish Signals

  • Traders go short when price crosses the lower Donchian Channel.
  • If the stock falls below the middle band of the Donchian channels, traders go short.
  • During a clear downtrend, when the price rises to the upper band, traders go short.

The chart below shows how to use the Donchian Channel indicator or buying and selling.

How to Use Donchian Channel Indicator - Complete Guide

Donchian channel indicator and Buy/ Sell signals using 2 sets of channels

One of the trading strategies used by professional forex traders is to use two different periods of Donchian Channels for entry and exit. For example, 20-period Donchian Channel and 15-period Donchian Channel.

  • When the price moves above the upper band of the 20-period Donchian channel, traders buy the stock. Then they exit the trade when the price moves below the lower band of the 15-period Donchian channel.
  • When the price moves below the lower band of the 20-period Donchian channel, traders short sell the stock. Then they exit the trade when the price moves above the upper band of the 15-period Donchian channel.

In addition to the above strategy, traders use Donchian Channel in combination with the MACD indicator for filtering out the false entry signals. Another strategy is to use the 25-Day/350-Day EMA (exponential moving average) as a trend filter. These traders choose long positions only if the 25-Day EMA is above the 350-Day EMA. Similarly, short positions are chosen only once the 25-day EMA is below the 350-Day EMA.

Conclusion

We hope you find this article on Donchian Channel Indicator informative. This indicator offers a unique way of spotting intraday signals as well as long term trading opportunities with good risk to reward ratios.

You can use the channels of the Donchian Channel Indicator in different ways. You can identify trading opportunities and also gauge the volume. Make sure to use proper forex money management techniques and structure your position sizing to make consistent profits.

Happy Trading!

The article was updated by Samson and originally published on 13 May 2020 and updated on 29 July 2020.

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