Ever wondered why some stock charts look so different? 

The secret’s in the scale: linear or logarithmic. Linear charts show equal price changes the same, great for day traders focusing on short-term moves. Logarithmic charts show percentage changes, ideal for long-term investors or volatile assets like crypto.

Understanding this isn’t just about looks, it’s about making smarter decisions. This article breaks down the key differences and when to use each type, so you can become a better trader or investor.

Exploring the Logarithmic Price Scale

A logarithmic price scale, frequently employed in financial charting, characterizes price levels as percentages rather than absolute values. This kind of scale alters according to the percentage of alteration: minor price shifts are visually compressed, but bigger ones get stretched out on the graph – this aids in examining how well an asset has done proportionally over a period.

Logarithmic scaling is helpful when we assess securities or markets that have gone through big price ranges. For example, a stock which rises in value from $10 to $20 shows on the chart with equal vertical distance as a move from $100 to $200 because both reflect an increase of 100%. This proportional depiction assists traders and analysts in understanding the genuine importance of price shifts, particularly over longer durations.

Traders use logarithmic price scales to better understand long-term trends and phases of exponential growth. In these situations, the speed at which change happens becomes more important than how much absolute difference there is in price value. Viewing historical data on a logarithmic scale is helpful for assets such as equities or cryptocurrencies that have experienced exponential growth or significant historical volatility. This type of scale assists in spotting patterns and trends which remain consistent when expressed as a percentage; insights that might otherwise be hidden because on a linear scale, emphasis given to absolute changes 

To sum it up, a logarithmic price scale provides an alternative viewpoint by evening out the analytical field, emphasizing on comparative performance and becoming an essential resource for people participating in markets with wide-ranging price variations or trying to comprehend how financial instruments change over different time periods.

Deep Dive into Logarithmic Price Scales

Price scales that use logarithms are usually preferred for making financial charts because they work well when a stock or an asset grows very quickly. This way of scaling figures out the scale by using the logarithm of price numbers, instead of just straight or linear numbers. On the scale, every mark stands for a change in percentage instead of a constant-step change. This is very important to accurately show what happens during exponential growth.

On a logarithmic scale, how far apart price levels are is set by the change ratio, not by how much they differ. Like, the space you see between $1 and $10 looks equal to that between $10 and $100 because in both gaps prices grow ten times or there is a 900% rise in value. This way of showing things works very well for studying assets that increase quickly in value because it makes it easier to see the changes in percentages and how trends move as time passes.

Traders often choose logarithmic scales for stocks that have quickly risen in price over time because this scale can handle big changes in price without making the chart look wrong. Because of this, traders can judge the speed and strength of price changes better, which makes it simpler to notice trends, direction changes, and shapes that could be harder to see on a straight scale.

Moreover, when using a logarithmic scale on graphs, it stops very high values from taking over and makes it hard to see the changes in prices that are smaller. This kind of scale levels out movements by percentage, so people who analyze can keep their attention even throughout all kinds of data – this includes shares with small value just beginning to grow as well as those big-value shares that have already increased a lot. This function is very important for traders because it helps them to study and look at the performance of different stocks or assets across similar or long time frames.

Visualizing Data: Logarithmic Price Scale Example

Scales with logarithmic prices are very helpful in studying high-growth stock prices and when there is much market instability. For example, big tech companies like Amazon (AMZN) and important market happenings such as the dot-com bubble show how useful these scales can be.

The IPO of Amazon was $18 per share in 1997. If we see the history of its stock, it shows a very big increase on a linear chart from that time. The current price that is over $3,000 per share makes the changes in early prices look small and unimportant. But when we use a logarithmic scale for displaying data on price axes as percentage changes instead of absolute values – this helps show how important those early gains were too! This provides a clearer visualization of the stock’s growth over decades.

Logarithmic scales are also useful for examining the cryptocurrency market, famous for its rapid price fluctuations and ambitious predictions, with some even talking about Bitcoin reaching $100,000!  Bitcoin’s ascent from a few cents to thousands of dollars is more accurately represented on a logarithmic scale, as it highlights relative growth and market volatility rather than just absolute price changes.

In the dot-com bubble, logarithmic scales aided analysts in identifying changes not only during price peaks but also growth rates over time. If we study the NASDAQ Composite index with a logarithmic scale, we can observe that the growth rates prior to and following the bubble were rising quickly and then went down suddenly – this gives us more insight into how market dynamics were behaving.

The given instances show how logarithmic scales help investors and analysts comprehend price movements more precisely. They can perceive not only the direction but also relative alterations in trends, which is crucial for making knowledgeable trading choices especially when dealing with quick-paced or unstable markets.

Introduction to the Linear Price Scale

The linear price scale, commonly applied in charting and technical analysis, shows the price against a set axis that has equal steps. Each unit on this vertical axis indicates an even change in value, no matter what level of cost the asset holds. Such a clear presentation allows us to easily imagine total price variations as differences between prices stay uniform across the chart.

The clarity and simplicity of a linear scale is its biggest advantage. It can be understood easily, which makes it very effective for assets that do not have much fluctuation or when trading happens in short time periods. Linear scales are most useful when the price range isn’t too big and significant percentage changes aren’t concentrated at one end of the spectrum. For instance, if a stock trades between $10 and $12, then viewing this on a linear scale would mean seeing how moving from $10 to $11 has the same visual effect as moving from $11 to $12.

Linear scales are also liked due to their straightforwardness. They help in comparative examination over numerous assets, or pinpointing particular price levels such as stop losses and target amounts. Traders and analysts make use of linear scales when they want to understand actual dollar values or study price movements in markets that show relatively less volatility.

But, if we need to do a long-term analysis or we have assets that show big price growths, linear scales are not as good. You can’t see the relative changes well because proportional differences aren’t emphasized. So, it is possible that important early price movements might seem less effective compared to recent movements of the same numerical value.

Mechanics of Linear Price Scales

Linear price scales are crucial for financial charting. They give a simple way to show changes in prices over time. Every unit shift on the up and down axis shows a constant value change, allowing clear understanding of absolute differences in price.

This scale is very beneficial for traders who need to evaluate exact dollar values of price shifts, as it shows money variations without any bias. Linear scales are usually applied in situations having restricted price spans and demanding high accuracy, like short-term trading or dealing with stocks or commodities that show less volatility.

The clear, linear plotting method of linear scales is useful for marking price levels such as support and resistance points or other important trading signals. This helps traders in setting precise price targets and stop-loss orders on exact price positions that aids with managing risks and planning strategies.

But there are restrictions to linear price scales. They might not be the best choice for assets that have a big range in values, or when the market sees significant changes in prices over time. The linear way of showing can make big percentage shifts look less important at lower price levels and more important at higher ones. Although it is easy to understand, sometimes the visual representation may not be visually effective for every trading situation or market analysis with these scales.

Charting with Logarithmic Price Scales

Logarithmic price scales are important in trading programs because they help investors and analysts see market behavior. Different from straight line scales, these logarithmic ones track price changes by percent, which is suitable for assets that have big differences in their prices.

In trading platforms, people can choose logarithmic scales for looking at charts. This function is very important to study long-term trends because exponential growth or decrease might change the way value changes look. A stock rising from $10 to $100 is a 900% growth, and if it goes up again from $100 to $200, that’s another 100% rise. But on a log scale, these two changes look the same distance because this way of showing numbers keeps market shifts in proportion.

Logarithmic scales help to plot data that covers a big range of values. People who invest often apply these scales when they follow stocks with fast growth or areas such as technology, because even if the early changes in price are small by actual numbers, they matter a lot when looking at them as percentages. It lets the people who analyze stocks concentrate on changes in value compared to each other, without worrying about how much the stocks cost.

Logarithmic scales work together with tools for analysis such as trend lines and Fibonacci retracements to improve the technical analysis. They assist in finding patterns and levels of support or resistance that might not be clear when using a linear scale.

Using logarithmic scaling in trading programs gives a better instrument for technical examination, especially when the market is unstable or when dealing with assets that grow very fast. It helps traders to decide wisely by looking at how strong the changes in the market are, which allows for more thoughtful and strategic thinking about their trades.

Practical Application: Linear Price Scale Example

Tesla’s stock price (TSLA) is often used to show the contrast between linear and logarithmic price scales because it has high volatility. Therefore, we will examine Tesla’s performance in 2022.

Tesla’s 2022 Rollercoaster:

In 2022 TSLA went up to almost $400 per share by November, and then crashed down to about $108 in January 2023.

Check out TSLA’s wild ride back in 2022: 

Graph of Tesla's stock price in 2022, depicting a sharp rise followed by a fairly steep decline

Tesla’s stock price on its way down in 2022.

Linear Scale Perspective:

In a price scale chart that is linear, this drop looks very steep–the line of stock price goes down sharply. This visual impact could make investors feel scared and take actions quickly.

Logarithmic Scale Perspective:

In a logarithmic scale chart, we see it in a different manner. The fall is still big but looks less sharp and more gentle. This is because logarithmic scales concentrate on percentage drops, making the 73% decrease from $400 to $108 appear more balanced.

Why This Matters:

Emotional Impact: The linear scales emphasize the absolute drops in prices, which can possibly evoke emotional reactions, influencing market psychology. On the other hand, logarithmic scales concentrate on proportional changes and provide a more analytical viewpoint.

Technical Analysis: For technical analysis, it is really important to select the correct scale. On a linear chart, horizontal lines or support levels may seem broken which could cause sell signs too early. In comparison, a logarithmic chart with its proportional emphasis can give you a better understanding of the general trend.


The decision regarding linear or logarithmic scales relies on your investment plan, how long you expect to keep investments, and how much variation you can handle. Insight into the way these scales work aids in making knowledgeable decisions about investments and correctly reading charts. Moreover, stock alerts are a good method for keeping track of important price changes and acting promptly.

Comparative Analysis: Logarithmic vs. Linear Price Scales

Price scales, logarithmic and linear, are beneficial for various analyses in financial markets. They aid a trader to understand market details better.

In a logarithmic price scale, the measurement of price movements is done in percentage terms. This type of scale becomes helpful when looking at securities that have big changes in their prices. Log scales are mainly used for long-term analysis because they make big changes look normal, keeping proportional relationships constant no matter how much the change is. Logarithmic scales are crucial when you want to evaluate the past performance of stocks with exponential growth or those which had substantial price adjustments over time.

On the other hand, a linear price scale has equal price increases on the vertical axis. Every change unit is distributed evenly. This method is good for immediate trading analysis that concentrates on absolute price shifts. It gives traders a fast and clear way to gauge modifications in prices without needing to understand percentage changes. Linear scales are usually the first choice for day traders or when working with assets that don’t show significant volatility.

The selection of logarithmic or linear scales relies on market situations and analysis objectives. Logarithmic scales are more suitable for comprehending the speed at which markets that grow or decrease rapidly change. In contrast, linear scales work well in keeping precise watch over price alterations in stable or low-volatility markets.

Both scales have their own benefits and can be useful, but they work best when they are matched correctly with what the trader needs and how the market is behaving.

Evaluating Scales: Advantages and Disadvantages

Selecting the correct price scale, logarithmic or linear, holds great importance in market study as it impacts how financial charts are understood and strategic choices are made.

Logarithmic Price Scales:

Logarithmic scales show changes in prices as percentages, so they are good for studying securities that have big price swings or trends lasting many years. These scales give a better understanding of how prices move compared to one another over time, particularly helpful when dealing with exponential growth or comparing the performance of various stocks during the same period. Yet, logarithmic scales might confuse people who are not used to their nonlinear portrayal and lead to wrong interpretations. Furthermore, logarithmic scales could make the analysis complicated in markets that have less dramatic changes or focus on short-term movements.

Linear Price Scales:

Linear scales give a straightforward picture because they show each unit of price change as an identical vertical distance on the chart. The plainness is helpful for precise study of little price shifts and fast choices in trading. Yet, linear scales are not ideal for dealing with assets that have big changes in prices over time because they can hide important initial price movements when the cost was much lower.

Choosing the Right Scale:

The selection of scales relies on what a trader requires. For the study of long-term investments or assets that show big percentage movements, a logarithmic scale offers superior understanding. When it comes to day trading or situations where the focus is on exact price changes rather than percentage ones, a linear scale works better.


Both scales are crucial for financial analysis, but their usefulness is situation-dependent. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of each helps traders adjust their analysis to accomplish strategic objectives and respond to market changes. Additionally, you can always use investment alerts to help monitor significant price movements and make timely decisions. 


The decision of using either logarithmic or linear price scales in financial market analysis is based on strategic considerations. The logarithmic scales, which express price movements as percentages, are very good for studying long-term trends and exponential growth. They are especially important for investors who concentrate on assets that aim at growth. On the other hand, linear scales with their equal interval presentations fit better when doing short-term price action analysis because they show change in a fixed way. This can be useful for day traders who have to react fast to market shifts.

The effectiveness of every type of scale depends on the needs for analysis and state of the market. Traders and analysts must think about their goals, type of data, and how long they plan to invest in order to select an appropriate scale. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both scales allows market participants to adjust their data analysis method accordingly so that they get accurate understanding from charts.

Comparing the Logarithmic Price Scale vs. Linear Price Scale: FAQs

How Does a Logarithmic Price Scale Enhance the Analysis of Volatile Stocks?

A logarithmic price scale shows movements in percentages, which helps to analyze stocks that have big price changes more easily over a period of time. This is useful for identifying trends and stock chart patterns that may not be clear on a straight line scale, particularly when looking at things in the long term.

Can Linear Price Scales Be Effective for Short-Term Trading?

Yes, linear price scales are useful for scalping and swing trading. They show price changes in equal steps, which helps to understand absolute changes in prices. This clear vision is beneficial for fast decisions centered around exact price movements in the context of short-term trading situations.

What are the Common Pitfalls When Using Logarithmic Scales in Technical Analysis?

Mistakes often happen because people don’t understand how to interpret percentage-based representation, causing wrong market evaluations. Logarithmic scales might not show big movements in low-priced stocks as much, which can lessen the impact of percentage changes at higher price levels.

Why Might a Trader Choose a Linear Scale over a Logarithmic One for Certain Analyses?

A trader may select a linear scale for short periods of time or assets that do not display exponential growth. Linear scales reveal absolute changes, which are beneficial for day trading and evaluating movements within a small range.

How Do Logarithmic and Linear Price Scales Impact the Interpretation of Technical Indicators like Moving Averages?

Logarithmic scales work with percentage changes, making them better at showing trends in markets that are highly volatile. Linear scales react to absolute price changes, more suitable for exact short-term trading strategies. The scale chosen for a chart will impact how indicators are plotted and understood.