Algorithm Reference

Importing Custom Data


LEAN supports backtesting almost any external custom data source. To use this feature you need to add the data during initialize using AddData<T>()self.AddData() and instruct your algorithm how to read your data. We provide helpers for popular data sources like Quandl and Intrino, but if you are using your own format or server you'll need to create a custom type.

Initializing Custom Data

During initialize your algorithm must use AddData<T>(string ticker, Resolution resolution = Resolution.Daily). This gives LEAN the T-type factory to create the objects, the name of the data and the resolution at which to poll the data to check for updates. self.AddData(Type class, string ticker, Resolution resolution = Resolution.Daily). This gives LEAN the type factory to create the data objects and the resolution to poll the remote datasource for updates.

The framework checks for new data as instructed by the Resolution period; i.e. Resolution.Tick polls constantly, Resolution.Second polls every second, and Resolution.Minute every minute. Hourly and Daily Resolutions are polled every 30 minutes.

// In Initialize method:
AddData<Weather>("KNYC", Resolution.Daily);
# In Initialize method:
self.AddData(Weather, "KNYC", Resolution.Minute)

Creating and Reading Custom Data

You must create a custom type to instruct LEAN where to get your data, and how to read it. We support many different data types and formats. You can even change source locations for backtesting and live modes. All data must extend from BaseData and override the Reader and GetSource methods.

GetSource instructs LEAN where to find your data. It must return a SubscriptionDataSource object containing the string Url to find your data, and the format of the data (SubscriptionTransportMedium RemoteFile or Rest). When the source returned changes URL the data is downloaded again. This allows LEAN to cache large files and only download new data when requested. This also allows you to break up large intraday data into smaller daily files, speeding up the backtest.

When using SubscriptionTransportMedium.Rest the url provided is polled at each Resolution time step and is assumed to be sufficient for 1-data point. This is generally intended for live data sources.

Reader takes one line of data provided by the source, and parses it into one of your custom objects (e.g. Weather in the code snippet). In addition to setting your custom type properties, you should also take care to set three required properties:

  • Symbol - Should always be set to config.Symbol
  • Time - Required synchronization of custom data
  • Value - Required for purchasing and portfolio calculations

When there is no usable data in a line, your type should return null.

public class Weather : BaseData
    public decimal MaxC = 0;
    public decimal MinC = 0;
    public string errString = "";

    public override SubscriptionDataSource GetSource(
        SubscriptionDataConfig config,
        DateTime date,
        bool isLive)
        var source = string.Format(
                config.Symbol, date.Year);

          return new SubscriptionDataSource(source,

    public override BaseData Reader(
        SubscriptionDataConfig config,
        string line,
        DateTime date,
        bool isLive)
        if (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(line) ||
            return null;

        var data = line.Split(',');

        return new Weather()
            // Make sure we only get this data AFTER trading day - don't want forward bias.
            Time = DateTime.Parse(data[0]).AddHours(20),
            Symbol = config.Symbol,
            MaxC = Convert.ToDecimal(data[1]),
            Value = Convert.ToDecimal(data[2]),
            MinC = Convert.ToDecimal(data[3]),
class Weather(PythonData):
    ''' Weather based rebalancing'''

    def GetSource(self, config, date, isLive):
        source = "{0}/{1}/1/1/CustomHistory.html?dayend=31&monthend=12&yearend={1}&format=1".format(config.Symbol, date.year);
        return SubscriptionDataSource(source, SubscriptionTransportMedium.RemoteFile);

    def Reader(self, config, line, date, isLive):
        # If first character is not digit, pass
        if not (line.strip() and line[0].isdigit()): return None

        data = line.split(',')
        weather = Weather()
        weather.Symbol = config.Symbol
        weather.Time = datetime.strptime(data[0], '%Y-%m-%d') + timedelta(hours=20) # Make sure we only get this data AFTER trading day - don't want forward bias.
        weather.Value = decimal.Decimal(data[2])
        weather["MaxC"] = float(data[1])
        weather["MinC"] = float(data[3])

        return weather

Loading Reference Data

You may want to import a single static reference file - such as loading a daily symbol list, or an AI-training file. This is possible with the Download() method. The Download method downloads a URL and returns it as a string. It can take header settings for authentication, and a username and password for basic authentication.

// If using dropbox remember to add the &dl=1 to trigger a download
var file = Download("");
# If using dropbox remember to add the &dl=1 to trigger a download
file = self.Download("")

It is a common request to download data from a public Dropbox file. In this case you should ensure you're downloading the direct file link - not the HTML page of the download. You can specify this by adding &dl=1 to the end of the Dropbox download URL.

Intrinio Custom Data

Intrino is a third party aggregator platform like Quandl which is able to serve paid datasets. They provide a large library of financial datasets which might be useful for your algorithm. To assist using Intrino data in your algorithm we've created an IntrinioEconomicData implementation which grants access to their repository of economic data from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED).

We've built helpers of the most requested symbols on the IntrinioEconomicDataSources class; but if you like you can get the full list of economic data series is available here.

// In Initialize method:
 AddData<IntrinioEconomicData>(IntrinioEconomicDataSources.Commodities.CrudeOilWTI, Resolution.Daily);
# In Initialize method:
self.AddData(IntrinioEconomicData, "$DCOILWTICO", Resolution.Daily)

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