FX Capital Funding Logo
How to Use ADX (Average Directional Index) in Trading

How to Use ADX (Average Directional Index) in Trading

ADX, Average Directional Index, Forex Market

How to Use ADX (Average Directional Index) in Trading

How to Use ADX (Average Directional Index) in Trading

The Average Directional Index (ADX) is a technical analysis tool used by traders to determine the strength of a trend. It does not indicate the direction of the trend, but rather its strength, with higher values indicating stronger trends. This article will guide you on how to use the ADX in your trading strategy, providing valuable insights and practical examples.

Understanding the ADX

The ADX is a part of the Directional Movement System developed by J. Welles Wilder. It is calculated using the Positive Directional Indicator (+DI) and the Negative Directional Indicator (-DI), which are derived from the Directional Movement Index (DMI). The ADX ranges from 0 to 100, with values above 25 indicating a strong trend and values below 20 suggesting a weak trend or range-bound market.

How to Calculate the ADX

The ADX is calculated in several steps:

  • Calculate the True Range (TR), +DI and -DI for each period.
  • Calculate the Smoothed True Range and Smoothed +DI and -DI.
  • Calculate the Directional Movement Index (DX).
  • Smooth the DX to get the ADX.

Most trading platforms perform these calculations automatically, so traders only need to interpret the ADX value.

Interpreting the ADX

The ADX is interpreted based on its value:

  • 0-25: Weak or absent trend.
  • 25-50: Strong trend.
  • 50-75: Very strong trend.
  • 75-100: Extremely strong trend.

It’s important to note that the ADX does not indicate the direction of the trend. For that, traders use the +DI and -DI. When +DI is above -DI, the trend is up, and when -DI is above +DI, the trend is down.

Using the ADX in Trading

There are several ways to use the ADX in trading:

1. Trend Confirmation

The ADX can be used to confirm the strength of a trend. For example, if a trader identifies an uptrend using other technical analysis tools, they can use the ADX to confirm that the trend is strong. If the ADX is above 25, it confirms the strength of the trend, increasing the trader’s confidence in their analysis.

2. Identifying Range-Bound Markets

When the ADX is below 20, it indicates a weak trend or a range-bound market. In such markets, trend-following strategies are likely to be ineffective. Instead, traders might use range trading strategies, buying at support and selling at resistance.

3. Divergence

When the ADX diverges from the price, it can signal a potential reversal. For example, if the price is making higher highs but the ADX is making lower highs, it suggests that the uptrend is losing strength and a reversal might be imminent.

Case Study: Using the ADX in Forex Trading

Let’s consider a case study of using the ADX in forex trading. In the EUR/USD daily chart below, the ADX rose above 25 in early January, indicating a strong trend. The +DI was above the -DI, indicating an uptrend. A trader using the ADX could have entered a long position, riding the uptrend until the ADX fell below 25 in late February, indicating the trend was weakening.


The Average Directional Index (ADX) is a powerful tool for assessing the strength of a trend. By understanding how to calculate and interpret the ADX, traders can use it to confirm trends, identify range-bound markets, and spot potential reversals. However, like all technical analysis tools, the ADX should be used in conjunction with other indicators and analysis techniques to increase the probability of successful trades.

Share This Post

Latest Posts