Follow Us

A Guide To Using The ZigZag Indicator For Crypto Trading

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Try using the ZigZag indicator if you want to be ahead of the curve in the cryptocurrency market. The ZigZag indicator is a simple tool that helps traders identify swing highs and lows in cryptocurrency trading. Other trend-following technical analysis indicators include the Moving Average Convergence Divergence and the Parabolic SAR.

This comprehensive guide delves into the ZigZag indicator, explaining its mechanics, trading strategies it empowers, and best practices for its application in the dynamic realm of crypto trading.

What Is The Zig Zag Indicator?

The Zig Zag indicator is a tool traders use to identify essential trends within a price chart. It marks points on the chart whenever prices reverse by a more significant percentage than a predetermined threshold, connecting these points with straight lines to visualize price action. 

Its primary function is to smooth out fluctuations below a set threshold, clearly representing market movements and helping traders focus on significant price changes.

Key Points About The Zig Zag Indicator:

* Trend Identification: It helps highlight trend direction and reduce noise levels in strong, trending markets.

* Swing Highs and Lows: It identifies and plots swing highs and lows but doesn’t predict future trends.

* Dynamic Lines: Zig Zag lines are not permanent; they are replaced with new lines when there is a price reversal. If the new line doesn’t meet the indicator’s defined percentage setting and the price changes direction, the chart replaces the line with an extended Zig Zag line aligned with the original trend.

* Limitations: While helpful for confirming trend direction and assessing strength or weakness, the indicator’s readings are only sometimes accurate. Traders often use it alongside other trend-following indicators for more precise trading outcomes.

The Purpose Of The Zig Zag Indicator

The Zig Zag indicator is primarily helpful for analyzing historical data to identify past patterns and trends rather than predicting future market movements. While it cannot forecast upcoming swing highs and lows, it serves various valuable purposes.

Despite its non-predictive nature, the Zig Zag indicator finds utility in several ways. It aids in counting Elliott waves, assisting in determining the positioning of each wave within a broader cycle. 

Additionally, it highlights significant historical highs and lows, facilitating the drawing of lines for Fibonacci projections and retracements. Furthermore, it simplifies the identification of chart patterns such as double bottoms, double tops, and head and shoulders formations.

The Zig Zag indicator is crucial in filtering out insignificant price swings within an overall trend, enabling analysts to focus on essential market movements. Generating swing lines on a chart helps spot price trends and identify changes by removing random fluctuations. Its function is precious across various time frames.

The indicator aims to help traders hold profitable market positions across extended trends. Only large price movements between swing highs and lows—usually more than a predetermined percentage threshold, usually 5%—will result in the appearance of zigzag lines. This threshold aids traders in staying alert to broad patterns and prevents them from being duped by tiny price movements.

Combining the Zig Zag indicator with other technical indicators, such as the stochastic oscillator and the relative strength index (RSI), can help traders make it more effective. When the Zig Zag line changes direction, this combination helps determine whether an investment is overbought or oversold, offering additional insights into market circumstances.

How Does The ZigZag Indicator Work?

The ZigZag indicator is a fundamental tool for analysts to recognize trend reversals in securities. By pinpointing support and resistance zones, it identifies significant price swings while disregarding short-term fluctuations and reducing the impact of daily market volatility.

To effectively utilize the ZigZag indicator in trading, determining the appropriate settings for the percentage of price movement is essential. The default setting is typically 5%; however, traders may adjust it based on their strategy. 

Some opt for lower percentages, such as 4%, to capture more frequent reversals, while others choose higher values, like 9 or 10%, to filter out noise and focus on more significant price movements. For instance, a setting of 10% means that only price fluctuations exceeding 10% will be considered, ignoring more minor changes and providing a clearer perspective of market trends.

The indicator marks points on the chart where reversals are calculated to occur. These points are then connected by lines, forming a zigzag pattern visually representing the detected trend shifts.

The Three Zig Zag Indicator Settings

With three changeable settings—depth, deviation, and backstep—traders may customize the Zig Zag indicator to suit their requirements and trading style. The trend line may vary by changing these parameters, offering vital information for wise trading selections.

The secret is identifying the information level that facilitates profitable trading; there is no one-size-fits-all strategy or set of parameters. It’s critical to understand the ramifications of each setting before making any alterations.

Depth: This setting determines the minimum number of candlesticks analyzed before identifying a low, high, or pivot point on the chart. Typically set to 12 by default, depth helps smooth out chart noise. Setting it too low may result in premature peak and trough identification, while setting it too high could overlook meaningful trends. 

Adjusting this setting allows the indicator to focus on significant movements and mark reliable trends. Experimenting with different depths can provide insights into how trend lines change for specific assets.

Deviation: Expressed as a percentage, deviation establishes the minimum price fluctuation required to draw a trend line. The default value is often 5%, meaning any price movement below 5% is disregarded. Volatility varies among stocks, so it’s essential to consider this when adjusting the deviation setting. 

A low threshold may generate numerous short trends, while a high threshold may result in imprecise trend lines. Finding the right balance ensures the trend line accurately reflects significant price movements.

Backstep: This setting determines the minimum number of price bars (or candlesticks) between significant tops and bottoms. Typically set to three by default, backstep helps filter out chart noise by ignoring minor price reversals. 

Setting a higher backstep requires more price movements to confirm new highs or lows, potentially reducing false signals. Finding the optimal backstep ensures the trend line aligns with overall movement and disregards minor fluctuations.

How The Zig Zag Indicator Calculates Trends

Here’s a step-by-step example of how to use the Zig Zag indicator to calculate trends for a given asset:

* Determine the starting point: Choose a significant high or low price on the chart and designate it as the starting point for the Zig Zag indicator. Use the depth parameter as a reference.

* Identify significant moves: Progress forward from the starting point until you encounter a price shift that surpasses your deviation percentage. The direction of this shift (upward or downward) indicates whether you’re identifying a high or low pivot point.

* Apply the depth parameter: Once you identify a significant move, ensure it represents the highest high or lowest low within the specified number of candlesticks defined by the depth setting.

* Apply the backstep parameter: Verify that the newly identified pivot point aligns with the backstep setting. Examine the backstep range and focus on the most significant price point, disregarding others if necessary.

* Draw the Zig Zag line: Connect the pivot points (highs and lows) with straight lines. These lines depict the significant trends according to the parameters set for the Zig Zag indicator.

* Repeat the process: Continue moving forward through the chart, bar by bar, and repeat the same criteria to identify new pivot points and draw new lines.

Following this manual process, you can understand how the Zig Zag indicator constructs trend lines. It provides insight into the indicator’s operation when applied automatically to a chart. Additionally, the Zig Zag indicator can locate waves and trends in the market, enhancing your analysis and decision-making in trading scenarios.


The ZigZag indicator may be a valuable and simple tool for removing noise from the market and visualizing the actual movement of a financial asset from point A to point B. However, trading with the ZigZag indicator does not guarantee 100% correct signals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Download our App for getting faster updates at your fingertips.


We Recommend

Top Rated Cryptocurrency Exchange

Update Required Flash plugin