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April 14, 2021

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Exporting CSI database to ASCII or Metastock format.

The following instructions show you how to export CSI data from the CSI database. Basically, it involves a one-time preparation of a "Portfolio" in CSI's Unfair Advantage (UA) program.

Here, we will show you how to exported to either of the following formats, both of which are compatible with Insider TA Standard or Professional versions:

  • Metastock format (with a limit of 255 symbols per folder), referred to in UA as "CSIM" or "CSI Metastock" format. You'll need to know how Insider TA loads Metastock files.

    Tip: You might prefer this method if you use Insider TA Professional. The reason being that when you see the data listed in the File Entry Panel, each security will have it's full name shown (e.g., "Cotton #2-NYCE"), in contrast to the symbol reference (e.g., "CT_0_I0B.csv"). The latter is what you see listed in the File Entry Panel when exporting to ASCII format.

  • ASCII format (i.e., pure text files), in a comma-delimited Date|Open|High|Low|Close|Volume field order.

    If you are using Insider TA Standard edition, then exporting CSI data to ASCII format is your only option (only Insider TA Professional can read Metastock data).

Here are the step-by-step instructions:

1) From top menu in UA, select Portfolio, then "Create new portfolio". This pops up the "Edit Portfolio" button. In that window, do the following:

  • In the top field, enter the Name of your new portfolio. Observe how this will automatically generate a folder of the same name within the UA directory area. You can keep that Directory name, or enter a new folder of your choosing. Remember the folder you choose for later configuration into Insider TA.

  • If you desire ASCII output, then...
    • Click the ASCII Field Layout tab, and select layout as: "DOHLCV". This directs UA to output field data in the order "Date, Open, High, Low, Close, Volume". This is the preferred field order, because that way Insider TA won't pop up the ASCII Field Formatter panel (a window in Insider TA) for further instructions.
    • Uncheck "Form Columns"
  • If you desire Metastock output, then...
    • Click the CSIM/MS Format Settings tab, and select the desired volume and open interest modes.
    • Regarding the "When directory is full" choices, the choice is also yours. Unfair Advantage's Metastock capability (denoted as "CSIM" in their world) follows the vintage 255-symbols-per-folder limit. Therefore, if your exporting exceeds that limit, the additional files will obviously have to cascade to another folder. These options provide the various means of doing this. Take your pick!
  • If you are exporting commodities data, then click the "Back Adjusting" tab. Click the "Add a fixed amount to make non-negative". Keep "Use only the C++ Back Adjuster" checked on as well.

  • Click OK to exit the Edit Portfolio window. This will bring you back to the "Selecting Data Series - Press F1 for More Information" window

    Note: As you can see, there are over a dozen tabs in the Edit Portfolio window. As you become more familiar with UA's exporting, you can venture into these other tabs to provide further customizations.

2) In the window titled "Selecting Data Series - Press F1 for More Information", configure the following:

  • For Market Type, select desired entity (Futures, Stock/Mutual/Indices, etc.).
  • Symbols: click on "Mkts" button to add all the desired symbols for this portfolio.
  • In the "Periodicity" box, ensure the "D" checkbox is checked. Leave the others in this area blank.
  • Select the desired output format using the checkboxes in the "File Format" group. For Insider TA, use either ASCII and/or CSIM format:
    • For ASCII output, put a checkmark in the "ASCII" checkbox. This will enable the "Preferences" button. Click that button to bring up "File Specific Format Preferences" window. In that window, do the following:
      • Keep "Ascii Separator" set to comma.
      • Put a checkmark in the "Include century" checkbox.
      • Click OK to exit the window.
    • For Metastock output, put a checkmark in the "CSIM" checkbox.

    Note: You can include both ASCII and CSIM (Metastock) formats in the same portfolio. The exported files will all be put into the output folder that you chose above.

5) You'll wind up back to UA's main screen. You'll be prompted with "Would you care to build these hard disk files?". Answer Yes. You'll then be prompted "Would you like to add some more". You can answer No.

6) Once the portfolio is created, perform UA's daily updates as usual. If you are exporting commodities, then keep in mind that commodities data updates are usually done around 7:30 pm ET. Therefore, when you're about to download data (either by clicking the EZDownloader, or by selecting "Database / Update Database" in UA, it is suggested you change the "Download Now" pulldown option to "Wait for CBOT and CME".

7) In Insider TA, the following one-time preparations are in order:

  • If you exported ASCII files, then make sure your default date format can accomodate the date structures in the exported files. Dates will be in the format "20020102", so make sure the data format is configured as "YMD" in the Config Options Panel | Miscellaneous | Data Loading section.
  • If you exported Metastock (CSIM) data, then no preparation is needed! Insider TA reads the industry-wide Metastock format.

8) In Insider TA, open the File Entry Panel and configure a path entry to your exported directory:

  • If you exported ASCII files, then the data files generated by UA will have a ".CSV" extension, so add the path "C:\UA\FILES\FExports\*.CSV".
  • If you exported Metastock (CSIM) data, then add a path that points to the "MASTER" file that UA created in the exported folder. If using the example folder provided above, this will be "C:\UA\FILES\FExports\MASTER".

    Note: There may be additional Metastock output folders if your exporting resulted in more than 255 symbols. The folder option you chose in step (1) above will govern where to look for the additional "MASTER" files (one MASTER file is always in every Metastock folder).


See any discrepancies or errors in the preceding instructions? Please let us now!

Q: Can I change the time interval of the exported data after a Portfolio has been created? For instance, if they were originally set to a daily interval, how do I change it to weekly?:

A: Yes you can. In Unfair Advantage's main screen, pull down the "Select Portfolio" pulldown, and select the portfolio that you created. This will fill the list underneath with all the commodities in that portfolio. You simply highlight the commodity you want to change (for multiple selections, hold the Shift key down and click the first and last items in the range of items you wish to highlight), and then click the "Edit" button. This brings you back to the "Selecting Data Series - Press F1 ...." window, wherein you can change the periodicity to anything you like.

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