Flexible ASCII Compatibility
INSIDER TA allows for easy manual entry of stock data or to accept downloaded stock files from many online data providers.
An effective data downloader -- and one that we personally like -- is MLDownloader which downloads end-of-day historical stock quotes from various Internet sites. The program gives you the option of saving your data in MetaStock or ASCII format in any field format. Check out their FAQ's page for more information.
ASCII Updating via Data Merger Utility
For those who decide not to join a full service data provider or purchase an ASCII downloader such as MLDownloader (discussed above), Insider TA has a special utility called the Data-Merger.
The Internet offers many resources that you can download daily recaps of end-of-day stock price data. Insider TA's Data-Merger Utility (shown below) can read these recap files to update each of your stock files with the new data. Mind you, that this practice requires diligence on your part. Because the Data Merger only appendsrecap data, if any recap downloads are inadvertantly skipped (or forgotten) on a given day, your stock data will have a void in it's historical timeline.
The existence of fine ASCII downlaoder products like MLDownloaderhas precluded us from enhancing the Data Merger beyond it's current state (at least for the near term). But the means by which you maintain your ASCII stock portfolio is up to you!
INSIDER TA's Data-Merger Panel