Forex Indicator MT4

Parabolic SAR

What is Parabolic SAR indicator, the instructions of Parabolic SAR and how to use the Parabolic SAR indicator, the calculation of Parabolic SAR indicator and the Parabolic SAR indicator main paramete


Parabolic SAR Technical Indicator was developed for analyzing the trending markets. The indicator is constructed on the price chart. This indicator is similar to the Moving Average Technical Indicator with the only difference that Parabolic SAR moves with higher acceleration and may change its position in terms of the price. The indicator is below the prices on the bull market (Up Trend), when it’s bearish (Down Trend), it is above the prices.

If the price crosses Parabolic SAR lines, the indicator turns, and its further values are situated on the other side of the price. When such an indicator turn does take place, the maximum or the minimum price for the previous period would serve as the starting point. When the indicator makes a turn, it gives a signal of the trend end (correction stage or flat), or of its turn.

The Parabolic SAR is an outstanding indicator for providing exit points. Long positions should be closed when the price sinks below the SAR line, short positions should be closed when the price rises above the SAR line. It is often the case that the indicator serves as a trailing stop line.

If the long position is open (i.e., the price is above the SAR line), the Parabolic SAR line will go up, regardless of what direction the prices take. The length of the SAR line movement depends on the scale of the price movement.

Parabolic SAR





  • SAR(i-1) — is the value of the indicator on the previous bar;
  • ACCELERATION — is the acceleration factor;
  • EPRICE(i-1) — is the highest (lowest) price for the previous period (EPRICE=HIGH for long positions and EPRICE=LOW for short positions).

The indicator value increases if the price of the current bar is higher than previous bullish and vice versa. The acceleration factor (ACCELERATION) will double at the same time, which would cause Parabolic SAR and the price to come together. In other words, the faster the price grows or sinks, the faster the indicator approaches the price.



SAR follows price and can be considered a trend following indicator. Once a downtrend reverses and starts up, SAR follows prices like a trailing stop. The stop continuously rises as long as the uptrend remains in place. In other words, SAR never decreases in an uptrend and continuously protects profits as prices advance. The indicator acts as a guard against the propensity to lower a stop-loss. Once price stops rising and reverses below SAR, a downtrend starts and SAR is above the price. SAR follows prices lower like a trailing stop. The stop continuously falls as long as the downtrend extends. Because SAR never rises in a downtrend, it continuously protects profits on short positions.


Step Increments

The Acceleration Factor (AF), which is also referred to as the Step, dictates SAR sensitivity. SharpCharts users can set the Step and the Maximum Step. As shown in the spreadsheet example, the Step is a multiplier that influences the rate-of-change in SAR. That is why it is referred to as the Acceleration Factor. Step gradually increases as the trend extends until it hits a maximum. SAR sensitivity can be decreased by decreasing the Step. A lower step moves SAR further from price, which makes a reversal less likely.

SAR sensitivity can be increased by increasing the step. A higher step moves SAR closer to the price action, which makes a reversal more likely. The indicator will reverse too often if the step is set too high. This will produce whipsaws and fail to capture the trend.


Maximum Step

The sensitivity of the indicator can also be adjusted using the Maximum Step. While the Maximum Step can influence sensitivity, the Step carries more weight because it sets the incremental rate-of-increase as the trend develops. Also note that increasing the Step insures that the Maximum Step will be hit quicker when a trend develops.



The Parabolic SAR works best with trending securities, which occur roughly 30% of the time according to Wilder’s estimates. This means the indicator will be prone to whipsaws over 50% of the time or when a security is not trending. After all, SAR is designed to catch the trend and follow it like a trailing stop. As with most indicators, the signal quality depends on the settings and the characteristics of the underlying security. The right settings combined with decent trends can produce a great trading system. The wrong settings will result in whipsaws, losses and frustration. There is no golden rule or one-size-fits-all setting. Each security should be evaluated based on its own characteristics. Parabolic SAR should also be used in conjunction with other indicators and technical analysis techniques. For example, Wilder’s Average Directional Index can be used to estimate the strength of the trend before considering signals.


Main Parameters

  • Step: Increment, usually 0.02
  • Maximum: Maximum value, usually 0.2
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