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                       Convert ASCII or Excel data to MetaStock Format

 The Metastock Downloader is a free product by Equis International. You can download the software by clicking here (

The following outlines how to use the Metastock Downloader to convert COT Update data to the MetaStock format. This is directed toward users of Metastock, AIQ, OmniTrader and a few other applications that have poor data support and want to use the Metastock data format.

:  You are better off keeping your data in ASCII format if your charting application supports it. Most analysis software, including Excel, Omega SuperCharts and Tradestation, CandlePower, Dynamic Trader, Cycle Trends, and most others will read ASCII data directly.

Getting Started
To convert your data you will need Metastock Downloader 6.52 or higher.

General Notes
Please use this as an illustration and not necessarily as an example of the best way to set up your own data. Specific items, such as the locations where your files will reside, can be set at your discretion.  Also, keep in mind that this entire process will only take a few minutes once you understand how it works!

Set Up Your Folders

  1. From your file manager create a folder named COT Update (like this C:\COT Update).
    This is where you will save the (COT and or (COT files each week. 

  2. Create a sub folder of COT Update called unzip C:\COT Update\unzip
    This sub folder is where the unzipped files will be extracted to.

  3. Now create one last folder named COT to hold the converted Metastock files.  Make this folder wherever it is you keep the rest of your price data. C:\Equis\Data\COT

  4. Select the sample file(s) you want to below to start the FTP download:

                                       Coffee ASCII  ||  Coffee Excel

    Select save when prompted and then browse to the COT Update folder C:\COT Update.  Press save.

  5. Once the download is complete you will need to use an unzip application to extract the files (Download Winzip if you don’t already have one).  Many file managers already have this application so just go to the C:\COT Update folder and double click on it to reveal the files.  Windows XP users should see “Extract all Files” under the Folder tasks to the left.  Other file managers should prompt you at this time with an application to extract the files.
         (if nothing happens at this point you may need to download the Winzip program)

It should say something like “Extract to:” browse over to the C:\COT Update\unzip folder and double click on it.  Click on the “extract” or “next” button.  This will unzip the data to the C:\COT Update\unzip folder.  That’s it for the download process, now we will convert those extracted files to Metastock format

Convert to MetaStock

  1. Start the Metastock Downloader.

  2. From the menu bar, click on Tools, then Convert.

  3. Click on the Options button, then the Source tab.

In the Date Range section of the tab, leave the 'First Date' and 'Last Date' items alone. Leave the 'Use todays date' checkbox unchecked.

In the Periodicity section, make sure Daily is selected.

In the 'Message Limits' section, change the number for warnings and errors both to 25000.

Leave 'Traverse source folders' unchecked.

  1. Click on the Destination tab.

In the 'If file exists' section, select 'Replace existing files’.

Also check the box 'Create New Files'.

NOTE: The ‘create new files’ should only be used the first time you do this process or to add non-existing files.  The weekly update routine will be explained later.

Leave everything else unchecked then click on Okay.

  1. You should still be looking at the Convert Securities dialog.

In the Source section of the dialog, change the File Type to 'ASCII Text’ or ‘Excel’ depending on which one you want to convert. Click the Browse button and browse to the folder
C:\COT Update\unzip
. This should display the tickers you extracted previously from the .zip file. Click on one of the files to highlight it, now hold down the CTRL key and then push the ‘a’ key.  This should select all of the files in the folder.  Click Open.

In the Destination section of the dialog, make sure the File Type is set to 'Metastock.' Set the Folder to C:\Equis\Data\COT (or wherever you created your destination folder earlier).

Click Okay to convert the file(s) you selected.

At this point you should have some Metastock formatted data available to you in the folder C:\Equis\Data\COT. You can try opening these files with your charting application to make sure you're on the right track.

Updating Your Data

  1. The weekly COT Update will be available each Friday by 7pm CST.  Login to your account and click on the ASCII or Excel file to start the download.  Just like above you will select save when prompted and then browse over to C:\COT Update; click on save. 

    Assuming you did not move the file from last week, a save as box will pop up with “This file already exists… Do you want to replace it?”  Click yes to overwrite last weeks file.
    Now you will extract the .zip file as explained previously.

  2. Start the Metastock Downloader.

  3. From the menu bar, click on Tools, then Convert.

  4. Click on the Options button, then the Destination tab.

Select “Replace existing file”

Uncheck the 'Create new files' box. Leave everything else the same, click Okay.

  1. You should still be looking at the Convert Securities dialog.

In the Source section of the dialog, click on the Browse button and browse to the folder
C:\COT Update\unzip
select one of the files then hold down the CTRL key and press ‘a’ to select all.

In the Destination section make sure file type is set to MetaStock.  Click on browse and then find the destination file C:\Equis\Data\COT or the destination you specified before.

Click Okay to convert the current data to MetaStock.

Concepts to Understand

  1. When adding historical files to your database, you need to have the 'Create new files' option checked.

  2. When updating your data you do NOT want the 'Create new files' option checked.

  3. You will find that the daily routine is much simpler than it might appear because most of the settings we've adjusted are persistant - the Downloader will remember them. Just take care to have the 'Create new files' option set properly.

  4. If ever you make a mistake and corrupt the data, don’t worry, just delete all the files in the folder and start over.  This assumes that the only data you have in the folder is the COT Update data of course.  Remember, the file you download each week contains not only the current weekly data, but all of the historical data as well!