FAQs (General)


ATSXL is a Microsoft Excel Add-in that performs the following tasks with unlimited flexibility:

  • Speed up order entries;
  • Manage trades and positions;
  • Automate trading strategies.

Some documents call it ATSXL Add-in as well.

(ATS stands for Automated Trading System, or Automated Trading Strategy. XL is known as a short for Excel.)

What Is ATSXL's User Interface (UI)?

ATSXL will be loaded into Excel, then Excel itself becomes your primary User Interface (UI).

All your existing knowledge and experience with Excel will instantly become an edge!

  • The following screen shows that ATSXL is loaded and running in Excel 2003:
ATSXL runs in Excel 2003
  • The following screen shows that ATSXL is loaded and running in Excel 2010:
ATSXL runs in Excel 2010

How Does ATSXL Speed Up Order Entry?

Although ATSXL can run complex trading strategy in automatic or semi-automatic mode, it supports easy yet fast order entry that helps you rapidly place, modify or cancel multiple orders by one click! You simply pick one or more order entries and click PlaceModify button or Cancel button. In addition you can leverage Excel's full capabilities on many calculations, such as position sizing, risk control and so on, to control these orders.

The following screen shows that six order entries out of seven on the Orders Worksheet were selected and sent to IB's Trade Server in a few seconds, simply by one click of PlaceModify button. You can later modify the rates and submit any changes, or cancel some of them with another click!


QuickStart Guide has steps to conduct manual trading, after all, easy and rapid order entry is an integral part of the trading activities.

How Does ATSXL Automate Trading Strategy?

Put it in a simple way, ATSXL automates a trading strategy by repeatedly do the following three steps:

  • Retrieve messages (or signals) from an external file, and update them on the MSG Worksheet;

    You can use almost any technical analysis software (or quantitative environment) to generate these messages (or signals).
  • There are four worksheets (CFG, MSG, CORE, Orders) in the Excel spreadsheet that keep ever changing data, states and other information;

    The trading strategy or trading plans are kept on the CORE Worksheet.
  • Orders kept on the Orders Worksheet will be sent out according to the trading plan;

    Interface for different broker can be integrated on this layer.

You will spend more time on these four Excel worksheets when you start using ATSXL. Please refer to the specific chapter in the User Guide: How Does It Make Automated Trading.

How Is The Trading Strategy Developed and Deployed?

ATSXL enables you to develop and deploy the trading strategy (or trading plan) on the Excel spreadsheets, leveraging the flexibilities and capabilities powered by Excel's proven calculation engine, numerous third party Excel Add-ins, and VBA programing interface. More importantly, the strategy is completely separated from the trading platform and the broker's back end server, hence providing the great security and the minimum dependency on the certain brokerage.

What Are The Benefits of Using ATSXL?

ATSXL's open architecture allows you to develop and backtest trading idea with almost any technical analysis software or quantitative environment, and then automate the strategy to trade with the broker of your choice. With ATSXL, you and your trading strategy are not locked in with certain analysis software, trading platform nor any brokerage.

ATSXL Features Summary?

You will be able to do a lot of things with ATSXL easily, which could be very time consuming, coding intensive, or even not feasible in traditional way. Please find ATSXL Features Summary here and samples in the QuickStart Guide.

Is Programming Experience A Must?

The part of your trading strategy (or trading plans) deployed within ATSXL (actually on Excel spreadsheets) do not require you to write any code.

The more complex your trading strategy is, the more chance you will write some code at certain stage. However, the code is mainly developed to generate signals from your technical analysis software or quantitative environment of your choice.

You will see it in the QuickStart Guide on how ATSXL helps you to minimize the coding in many ways.

Is There Any QuickStart Guide?

For those impatient, there are some QuickStart Guides that help you walk through the step-by-step setup and start using ATSXL. However, we suggest you spend a few minutes on the these FAQs before going ahead for details.

You can get help from User Guide, Knowledge Base, and the Forum when needed.