Symbols are used by Motif to specify a security or derivative for an exchange or market. They are also used to specify other types of instruments on exchanges such as indices.

The structure of symbols (symbology) and how they entered and displayed is described below.

Full Format

A Motif symbol fully specified has one of the following formats:


  • <code> is the string assigned to it by the listing exchange (eg. 1015 or BHP)
  • <exchange> is the code for the exchange (eg MY or AX)
  • <market> is the code for the market (eg MYN or AXT)
  • <routing> is the routing code.

For example, following are 2 valid symbols:

  • 1015.MY@MYN

The <code> and <exchange> parts of the symbol specify the listed security. That is <exchange> is the exchange at which the security is listed.

<market> specifies a market the security can be traded or has a book. Often <market> belongs to the same organisation as the <exchange>, however they can be different organisations. For example, BHP.AX can be traded on the Chi-X Australian limit market. This security would be specified by the symbol:

BHP.AX@CAL (where CAL specifies the Chi-X Australian limit market)

Shortened Format

To make it easier to work with symbols, they can be entered and displayed in shortened formats. Shortened formats make use of the following 2 defaults:

  1. A default exchange that can be specified in Motif
  2. Each exchange has a default market

If a symbol does not specify an exchange, then it implicitly uses the default exchange specified in Motif.

If a symbol does not specify a market, then it implicitly uses the default market for the exchange specified for that symbol (either explicit exchange included in symbol or default exchange implicitly specified).

Example: default exchange and default market

For example, if the Motif default exchange is set to MYX, then 1015.MY@MYN can be shortened to:


This is because no exchange is explicitly specified in symbol, so the default exchange is used. MYN also does not need to be included as it is the MYX normal exchange which is the default market for MYX.

Example: default exchange and but not default market

If we wanted to specify 1015 on the MYX Odd lot market, this can be shortened to:


It is not necessary to specify the exchange as MYX has been set as the default for Motif. However, it is necessary to specify the odd lot market (MYO) as MYO is not the default market for MYX.

Example: not default exchange and default market

If the default exchange was set to ASX, then 1015.MY@MYN can still be shortened to:


It is necessary to specify the exchange as it is not the default now. However market MYN is the default market for the MYX exchange, so it does not need to be included.

Symbol and Market codes

Symbol Exchange codes are 2 letter codes. Some examples:

  • MY is the code for MYX exchange
  • AX is the code for ASX exchange
  • CA is the code for Chi-X Australia exchange

Symbol market codes are 3 letter codes where the first 2 letters are the code of the exchange which owns the market. Some examples:

  • MYN is the code for the Normal MYX market
  • MYO is the code for the Odd lot MYX market
  • AXT is the code for the ASX Trade Match market

The above market codes are unique to a particular market. No other market will have that code.

Shortened Market Codes

It is possible to shorten a symbol even further by shortening its market code. A full market code will consist of 3 letters as described above. The first 2 letters are the same as its exchange, with the 3rd letter effectively specifying the market in that exchange.

It is possible to shorten the market code to just its last letter if:

  • the market belongs to the exchange specified by the symbol (either explicitly or implicitly via the default exchange)

Example: default exchange (MYX) but not default market

You can shorten 1015 on the Odd lot market in the MYX exchange to:


This is similar to 1015@MYO however since the market belongs to the exchange, it can be specified with one letter (the last letter of MYO).

Example: not default exchange but default market

If the default exchange is set to ASX, then 1015 on the Odd lot market for MYX market could still be shortened to


Again, MYO can be shorted to O as the exchange is MYX and MYO is a market belonging to that exchange.

Example: not default exchange and not default market

It is not possible to shorten BHP.AX@CHA in any way if the default market set to MYX. This is because:

  • AX (ASX) is not the default exchange
  • CHA is neither owned by AX or the default for AX

Not Unique

Note that shortened market codes are not unique to a Market. Markets belonging to different exchanges could have the same shortened market code.

Symbol lookup

Many windows in Motif have symbol selects. These selects are controls that allow you to either enter a symbol or search for a symbol by matching the search term to specified symbol fields (normally code and name). The selects work in the following way:

  • The text entered into the select is called the search term.
  • When the search term is 2 or more characters long, a search is initiated for matching symbols.
  • The search will match the search term to the symbol fields specified in settings. If an exchange is explicitly specified in the search term (see below), then the fields specified by the Symbol search fields in the corresponding exchange setting will be used. If an exchange is not specified, then either the Symbol search fields setting in the default exchange will be used, or, if enabled, the fields specified in the Explicit (no exchange) search fields general setting will be used.
  • All matches will be displayed in a drop down. This will include showing symbols for all allowed exchanges and markets (unless filtered – see below). The wanted symbol can then be chosen by clicking on its listing in the drop down or selecting it with the keyboard.
  • The drop down will also display each symbol’s name. The field used for a symbol’s name is determined by the Symbol name field setting corresponding to the symbol’s exchange.
  • The search will be repeated whenever the search term is changed and is 2 or more characters long. There will be a slight pause between the search term changing and initiating the search to reduce the number of searches when typing quickly.
  • If the search term is long enough to be a valid code, then the first item in the drop down will be the symbol directly inferred from the search term. This will be used if is pressed without selecting an item from the drop down. For MYX, a search term needs to contain a code with at least 4 digits. For ASX the term must contain a code with at least 3 characters.
  • If a search term contains a . or @ character, then the following characters after are parsed as exchange or market respectively. The market and/or exchange are then used to filter the search results.
  • If you wish to search for a name which includes an . or @ character, then enable the ‘world’ icon button next to the symbol select control.

When entering symbols, it does not matter if they entered in lowercase or uppercase (or a mixture).

Displaying Symbols

When Motif displays symbols, it will shorten them according to the following 4 settings in the ‘General Settings’ window:

  • Default exchange
  • Exchange hide mode
  • Hide default market
  • Abbreviate market code

These settings can be changed at any time and will immediately take effect on all symbols currently displayed.

Symbols in the OrderPad review windows are an exception. In these windows, symbols are always displayed with the format <code>.<exchange>@<market>. Only the ‘Abbreviate market code’ has any affect on this symbol and will determine if the market code can be shortened.