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Choosing Time Frames for Drawing Support and Resistance

Setting Time Frames for Support and Resistance

The market can often move quickly, performing in unexpected ways and moving counter to intuition. One of the best ways to ensure that you have an idea of the big picture, and not just react to every jump or fall in the market is by paying attention to the time frames you’re trading on. For example, let’s say that you’re a day trading looking to make a lot of trades quickly, so you may focus on a short-term chart, like a 4-hour chart.

On that chart, you may notice that an uptrend has developed, and you can clearly see support and resistance levels forming. This might indicate that you want to buy - but, what if you’re wrong? In that case, a good idea is to zoom out a bit to see the overall picture, to the 1-day chart. This can show that your instincts are on the money - the price has been rising steadily all day with no sign of a correction. Or it can show the opposite - that the 4-hour jump is in fact just touching the resistance on the 1-day chart, and that you may want to hold off on acting on your instincts.

You can also use time frames in the opposite way as well, for example, to set specific entry points. By scaling up the 4-hour chart to a 1-hour chart, you’ll have a more detailed look at what the prices are doing right now, and allow you to target the trendline specifically. But don’t focus on having a million charts open - find a few time frames you feel comfortable in, and use them to make sure that your instincts are correct before jumping into trades.

Drawing Support and Resistance Levels

When marking support and resistance levels, it’s always a good idea to start with ‘key’ levels. Key levels are levels that the market touched and then moved on from. A key level has been tested at least twice and represents a turning point. Below you can see an example of a key level on the BTC/USD daily chart.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Once you have the key levels down, you can then start identifying short-term levels. Shorter-term levels have been tested as well, usually within the ‘key’ range, but are easier to break from. Below is an example of both key and short-term levels identified - blue represent key levels, while red represents short-term levels. Remember that support and resistance do not have to be an exact value - it can also represent a fuzzier range or zone of prices that the market repeatedly tests.