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FT4Web by Investors FastTrack

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What's a Family?

Last revised 04/30/14

The funds, stocks, and indices in the FastTrack database are classified into categories of related families. Families contain related fund and stock issues. There are a good number of categories each containing many families.

The three major categories are Mutual Fund, Stock, and Personal.

Personal Families are Families that you create yourself. Personal families may contain funds, ETFS, symbols you make up yourself, and/or stocks.  You can view all the families from the Family Tree on the Family Tab.

  • Mutual fund families will usually be found in the disk folder C:\FT\FTDEF
  • Stock families will usually be found in the folder C:\FT\FT4WIN\SFTDEF
  • Personal families will be found in the folder C:\FT\USERDEF

wpe1.gif (12056 bytes)The Family Tree

  • The ALL Categories contain all issues in several very broad groups.
  • The Assorted Category is for families that don't fit elsewhere. The category also includes families that are used for tutorial and commentary purposes. The list of new funds added, and a discussion of funds classes.
  • The Mutual Fund Buying Category contains families of mutual funds managed by an investment company including ETF families like iShares and SPDR.
  • The Objective Category contains families that are defined by investment objectives. Examples of Objective families are UTILITY (utility sector funds), GROWTH (Growth-oriented funds), INTERNEQ (International equity funds).
  • Fundamental Categories contain  families that group issues by their fundamentals such as P/E ratio, earnings growth, market capitalization, and a host of other criteria.
  • The Components of Indices Category contains families made of up the Dow Jones 30 Industrial Stocks, NYSE listed Stocks, etc.
  • The Industry Category takes a narrow view of stocks grouping them in many classes.
  • The Sector Category takes a broad view of stocks grouping them in a few categories like HEALTH, HITECH, PRECIOUS (gold, silver), etc.
  • The Personal Category contains families that you create. The families in this category are not defined or maintained by FastTrack.

You cannot change or add any families except those in the Personal Category. All the other categories are maintained by FastTrack through the online update process. However, you may load FastTrack's predefined families to an Issue List, edit them, and save them as personal families.

Family Names and Files

In FT4Web, a family may have a name up to 20 characters long. Families are saved as discrete files ending in .FAM

Families and Issue Lists

FastTrack saves and maintains families on disk. To use families, load them into the Issue Lists on FastTrack's tabs. Issue Lists and Families are not the same thing. Issue Lists are not automatically saved to disk. You have to right-click on an issue list to save it to disk. If you change an issue list, it does NOT change a family saved on disk until you right-click on the list and specifically save it.

To load a family into an issue list:

  • Click on the Family Tab then drag one of the families to the Chart Tab or other tab whose Issues List is to be filled with family members.
  • Double-click on a family shown in the Family Tree. The family will be loaded in the current Tab's Issue List.
  • Right-click on any Issue List and choose Load Family from the menu.

Printing a List of All Families

The multitude of predefined families can be overwhelming. Don't deal with them all at once. Confine initial activities to a few buying and objective families. For example, the Vanguard famkily has a variety of index funds that are well-defined and not extensively overlapped. Whereas, the ALL-EQ families has hundreds of funds that are essentially duplicates of the S&P 500 Index.

To print a list of all (or a few) families First, make sure that the families you want to print are visible by expanding the Family Tree. Only the visible families are printed. Right-click on the Family Tree and choose "Print visible families".

To print a list of the members of a particular family load the family into an Issue List and print the Issue List.

We Keep the Families Straight for You

As fund companies update their offerings and new stocks come to market, FastTrack transmits the family changes to your computer. If you have a question about FastTrack families, call us. If a change is warranted, we will do it for you and transmit it to all FastTrackers in the next data download on the toll-free line.

  • Families are totally updated about 8 times/year.

  • Certain frequently used families like  FIDELITY, SELECT, VANGUARD, and HITECH are updated whenever there is a change.

  • Personal families are NEVER updated. You maintain these yourself. If you created a family with a Sieve (and saved the Sieve), then you can rebuild your personal family by rerunning the Sieve.

Families from the Internet

You can build an Issue List from an Internet page which contains stock or fund symbols, and then save the Issue List as a Family. When viewing an Internet page, click on the family_icon.gif (988 bytes) button. This will clear the Issue List and add the ticker symbols found on the Internet page. Not every Internet page, however, has symbols formatted in such a way that can be deciphered by FastTrack. Also, Internet content providers change their encoding which will cause FastTrack to fail to find the ticker symbols.

  • The "News" items that highlight links to stock and funds generally will work with the family_icon.gif (988 bytes) button.

  • The index.gif (264 bytes) ticker symbols links that produce market index component stock listings will usually work.

  • Feature articles from a variety of source like CBS market Watch will work.

  • When the preprogrammed symbol picking  fails, FT4WEB will take all fully capitalized words and check to see if they are symbols. This process takes a bit longer and may produce a few extra symbols that don't belong in the list.

The small program FT4WEB.DLL contains family parsing code. FastTrack revises this program as needed. Please call us to report Internet pages from which FastTrack is unable to extract symbols. We will review and produce a revised FT4WEB.DLL quickly.


This family is created on the fly each time it is accessed. It is a list of all the FNU files in your \FT directory. FNU files store data from sources other than FastTrack. An example of this would be Z Files. Click for more about FNU files.

The UnDo_Clear Family

This family is created on the fly each time you click an Issue List and select Clear. This means you can recover the contents of a cleared Issue List, if needed. Note: ALL Issue Lists share the UnDo_Clear family.  You can only recover the issues from the last Clear.

The UnDo_Delete Family

When a family is deleted, it is not instantly lost. The deleted family is renamed to UnDo_Delete. You can recover the issues in the family, but not the name and description, by loading UnDo_Delete. NOTE: This technique only allows you to recover the last family deleted.