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Understanding timenow in Pinescript

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Pine Script, particularly in its fifth version, has introduced several powerful features for script developers on TradingView. One such feature is timenow, a built-in variable that provides the current time in one-second increments based on the UTC time zone. This article will delve into the nuances of using timenow in Pine Script v5, offering a detailed tutorial and practical examples.

What is timenow?

timenow is a built-in variable in Pine Script v5 that returns the current UTC time as a Unix timestamp. This timestamp is expressed in milliseconds since January 1, 1970. It’s crucial to note that timenow updates every second, making it a dynamic and real-time tool for script developers.

Practical Use Cases

  • Timestamping: Create a log of when certain events occur in your script.
  • Real-time Decision Making: Make decisions based on the exact current time, such as triggering alerts.
  • Time Comparisons: Compare the current time with predetermined time values to execute specific script actions.


indicator("Timenow Alert Example", shorttitle="TAE", overlay=true)

// Define a time threshold (Unix timestamp in milliseconds)
timeThreshold = 1650000000000  // Adjust this value according to your needs

// Retrieve the current UTC time
currentUTC = timenow

// Alert Logic
// Check if the current time is just past the threshold
if (currentUTC > timeThreshold) and (currentUTC[1] <= timeThreshold)
    // Trigger an alert
    alert("The current UTC time has just surpassed the threshold!", alert.freq_once_per_bar)

// Display the current time on the chart for reference
label.new(bar_index, low, "Current UTC Time: " + str.tostring(currentUTC), color=color.blue)

Line-by-Line Walkthrough

  1. Script Initialization: We start by declaring the script version and setting the script properties like the title and overlay.
  2. Defining Sample Time: sampleTime is a variable where we store a predefined time for comparison purposes.
  3. Current Time Retrieval: currentTime is assigned the value of timenow, which gives us the current UTC.
  4. Comparison Logic: We use a if statement to compare currentTime with sampleTime. Depending on the result, different labels with messages are created on the chart.
  5. Displaying Current Time: A label is created to display the current UTC on the chart.

Key Features and Takeaways

  • Real-time Updates: timenow updates every second, providing the latest UTC.
  • Unix Timestamp Format: The time is given as a Unix timestamp in milliseconds.
  • Versatile Application: Useful for real-time decision-making, time comparisons, and logging events.
  • Script Flexibility: Can be integrated into various trading strategies and indicators for enhanced functionality.

In conclusion, timenow in Pine Script v5 is a potent tool for obtaining real-time UTC, facilitating a wide range of applications from timestamping to complex trading decisions. By incorporating it into your scripts, you can significantly enhance their functionality and adaptability to real-time market conditions.

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