Tradestation Review

TradeStation Securities, Inc. (Member NYSE, FINRA, SIPC, NSCC, DTC, OCC and CME) is a licensed securities broker-dealer and a registered futures commission merchant – and also a member of the Boston Options Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Chicago Stock Exchange, International Securities Exchange and NASDAQ OMX. The company was founded as Omega Research in 1982 and, in 1991, its flagship trading platform – TradeStation – was launched. Six years later, TradeStation completed its initial public offering. 

TradeStation is well-known for its robust trading platform that outperforms much of the competition with its advanced charting, large library of technical indicators, backtesting capabilities and innovative options analysis. In addition, TradeStation EasyLanguage – the company’s propriety coding language – allows users and third-party developers to design, test and automate trading ideas. The platform is used by both retail and institutional traders.

In this review, we’ll focus on TradeStation Web Trading – the company’s web-based trading solution – and its mobile application, TradeStation Mobile, and introduce some of the key features that clients can access through both, including portfolio and account management, and stock, ETF and options trading. 

Summary

tradestation's welcome page

Welcome Page - Visit www.tradestation.com and use the tabs at the top of the page to visit the TradingApp Store, a marketplace for third-party products. Use the main menu tabs to learn about Products, Trading Technology, Pricing, Education and Community (including user forums). Scroll down to view products supported by TradeStation, including stocks, ETFs, futures, options, mutual funds and bonds. To access your account, click Login (in the top right corner) and choose Web Trading (Live or Simulated). Enter your Username and Password and click the Login button to continue.  

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Portfolio & Account Management

view of account summary and balances

Client Dashboard - After logging in, you'll be directed to the Client Dashboard. By default, the dashboard is configured with one window at the top of the screen with tabs for Positions, Orders, Balances, Quotes and News. Change any tab by clicking the X to close the tab and selecting a new item for the blank tab (Positions, Balances, Chart, Orders, Option Chain, Quotes, News and Hot Lists). There’s also a charting window on the lower half of the screen. Click the Layout Manager icon at the top of the screen to change the layout; for example, to include three charts in the lower window. Hover your mouse along the edge of any window, then click and drag to resize. Click the double-arrow icon at the top right of any window to maximize the window so it fills the workspace (click it again to minimize). Click the Settings button to change from the default Dark Theme to the Light Theme.

detailed view of balances summary

Balances - From the Client Dashboard, select the Balances tab and then click the double-arrow icon to view your balances, or scroll through the list using your mouse or the scroll bar on the right side of the window. Use the dropdown menu at the top to select the account (Equities/Options, Futures or Forex). Account details appear at the top, followed by Beginning of Day balances and Real-time balances.

view of all orders on a tradestation brokerage account

All Orders - From the Client Dashboard, click the Orders tab to view your orders. Filter the orders using the dropdown menu box at the top to select All Orders, Open/Queued, Filled and Cancelled/Rejected. By default, only today’s orders are listed; click the 7 Days button to view orders from the past week. The order list includes specifics such as Symbol, Order #, Order Status, Type, Quantity, Filled Price, Commission and other details. Click on any column heading to sort by that metric. Click the gear icon to choose which columns are displayed and change the order in which they are arranged.

view of tradestation's market analysis and resources

TradeStation Labs - From the TradeStation.com homepage, hover your mouse over the Education tab and select Labs to launch market analysis from TradeStation’s team of quantitative analysts and other well-known traders and market analysts. Use the menu on the left side of the page to select Morning Market Briefing, Analysis Concepts, Traders Interviews and Events. Scroll down for related content, including the Event Center and TradingApp Store – where you can find pre-built applications from third-party developers.

view of educational resources for analysis and trading

University - From the TradeStation.com homepage, hover your mouse over the Education tab and select University to launch an online educational program designed to familiarize you with specific TradeStation features. Use the menu tabs to select Learning TradeStation, TradeStation Basics, Strategy Trading, EasyLanguage (TradeStation’s proprietary coding language) and Markets, and find related topics on the left side of each page. Note that most of the content pertains to TradeStation’s desktop trading platform (and not Web Trading). 

preview of tradestation's live webcasts, events, and courses

Live Webcasts - From the TradeStation.com homepage, hover your mouse over the Education tab and select Events to learn about special LiveOnTheWeb events hosted by TradeStation Labs and TradeStation University. Click the Live Webcast Event Schedule button to view upcoming and recorded events.

view of tradestation's community platform with discussions and resources

TradeStation Community - From the TradeStation.com homepage, click the Community tab to access TradeStation’s online knowledge base and user forums. TradeStation Wiki is a continuously and collaboratively maintained online knowledge base of how-to information, tips and tricks. Join the Discussion Forums to learn about new trading ideas, ask a question or find a library of third-party add-on products.

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Stock Trading & Investing

view of tradestation's market news

Stock News - From the Client Dashboard, click the News tab to view recent headlines. Enter a symbol in the search box at the top of the screen to find company-specific stories. Click on any headline to read the story and view related videos, if any. Use the arrow buttons at the top of the screen to scroll through headlines, and click the “Aa” buttons to change the font size.  

example of stock chart on tradestation's trading platform

Stock Charts - By default, a price chart appears in the lower window of the Client Dashboard. If desired, click and drag any edge of the chart to resize, or click the double-arrow icon to make it full screen. To customize the chart, click the gear icon and choose Indicators, Drawing (e.g., to add a trend line), Chart Type, Sessions, Orders, Chart Config or Account (note that most menu items also have sub-menus from which to make a selection). For example, hover your mouse over Chart Type to open the sub-menu, where you can choose OHLC, Area, Line or Candlestick. To change the symbol, click anywhere on the chart, input a new symbol and click enter on your keyboard. Use the dropdown menu on the chart’s tab to change the charting interval. Add another chart by clicking on a blank tab at the top of the chart and selecting Chart. To adjust the chart spacing, click anywhere on the chart and scroll your mouse wheel.

view of available technical indicators for charting on tradestation

Technical Indicators - From any chart, click the gear icon and select Indicators to launch the Indicator Manager. Use the search box at the top of the Indicator Manager window, or scroll through the list to view available indicators. Double-click any indicator to apply it to your chart and click the arrow button to change the default inputs. Click the OK button to add the indicators (with your custom inputs) to the chart. To remove an indicator, click the gear icon, select Indicators and click the X next to the indicator you wish to remove.

view of a stock order entry on tradestation

Order Entry - From the Client Dashboard, click the green Trade button at the top of the screen to launch the order entry bar. Fill in the order ticket, including symbol, quantity, order type, route, duration and account (note that the symbol for your active chart will automatically appear in the order ticket). To place an advanced order, use the OCO/OSO dropdown menu to select the desired trade type, such as a bracket order. Click the appropriate action button (e.g., Buy or Sell Short) when you’re ready to place the order.  

view of a stock order confirmation on tradestation

Order Confirmation - After you click Buy or Sell Short, you’ll be directed to the Confirm Order window. Review the order and click the Cancel or Send button. Click the box next to Disable Order Confirmations if you don’t want to receive confirmations in the future (recommended for experienced traders only).

view of overall positions on a tradestation brokerage account

Current Positions - From the Client Dashboard, click the Positions tab to view a list of your positions, including details such as Symbol, Position (e.g., Short or Long), Quantity, Market Value and other metrics. Use the dropdown menu at the top to sort by All Accounts or to view a specific account. Click the gear icon to choose which columns are displayed and change the order in which they are arranged.

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Watchlist

preview of watchlist management options and features

Watchlist Management - From the Client Dashboard, click the Quotes tab to manage your watch lists. Use the dropdown menu to view, create, rename or delete a current quotes list, or the rearrange symbols. To create a new watch list, click Create New Quotes List, name your list and then enter symbols to populate the list. Click on any column heading to sort by that metric.

example of customized stocks quotes list

My Quotes List - To edit a watch list, choose the appropriate list from the dropdown menu and click the X on the left side of a symbol to remove it from the list, or enter a new symbol to add it to the list. Click the gear icon to choose which columns are displayed and change the order in which they are arranged. Click on any column heading to sort by that metric.

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ETF Investing

preview of ETF news offered on a tradestation brokerage account

ETF News - To read ETF-related news, click the News tab from the Client Dashboard and enter any ETF name in the symbol search box. Select the appropriate ETF from the list and click "enter" on your keyboard to launch related news. Click on any headline to read the story and scroll down to watch video coverage, if any.

view of an ETF order entry on tradestation

ETF Order Entry - From the Client Dashboard, click the green Trade button at the top of the screen to launch the order entry bar. Fill in the order ticket, including symbol, quantity, order type, route, duration and account (note that the symbol for your active chart will automatically appear in the order ticket). To place an advanced order, use the OCO/OSO dropdown menu to select the desired trade type, such as a bracket order. Click the appropriate action button (e.g., Buy or Sell) when you’re ready to place the order. 

view of an ETF order confirmation on tradestation

ETF Order Confirmation - After you click Buy or Sell, you’ll be directed to the Confirm Order window. Review the order and click the Cancel or Send button. Click the box next to Disable Order Confirmations if you don’t want to receive confirmations in the future.

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Trading Options

view of options chain quotes on a tradestation brokerage account

Option Chain - To view an option chain, click a blank tab at the top of any window and select Option Chain. Enter a symbol and choose values for spread type (e.g., single, butterfly, collar, etc.), expiration date and strike proximity. Click the gear icon to choose which columns are displayed – such as implied volatility, Theta, Gamma and Delta – and change the order in which they are arranged.  

view of an option order on a tradestation brokerage account

Option Order - Click on any bid or ask price in the option chain to place a trade. Note that the Spread Type you selected when you created the option chain will be the type of order that appears in the order ticket. Fill out the order ticket, including quantity, order type, route and duration, and click the Send Orders button.

view of a option order confirmation on tradestation

Option Confirmation - After you click the Send Orders button, you’ll be directed to the Confirm Order window. Review the order and click the Cancel or Send button. Click the box next to Disable Order Confirmations if you don’t want to receive confirmations in the future (recommended for experienced traders only).

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Money Management

view of tradestation's account and funds management

Manage Funds - To manage your funds, log into the Client Center on TradeStation.com and click the Accounts tab. From there, choose the account that you want to manage and follow the prompts. If you have a simulated account, you can choose to add funds or reset balances and remove all trades (essentially giving you a clean slate in your practice account).

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Customer Support

view of tradestation's support page

Support - From the Client Center on TradeStation.com, click the Support tab for customer service options. The left side of the page is filled with links to Frequently Asked Questions, Education & Training, Community Discussion Forums and Trader Wiki, plus the TradingApp Store – an online marketplace of trading products created by third-party developers. Customer support phone numbers – for client services, technical support and the trade desks – are listed on the right side of the page under the Contact Us heading.

view of tradestation's feedback platform

Platform Feedback - From the Client Dashboard, click the text balloon icon on the top of the screen to suggest a feature or report a problem. Enter your email and message in the boxes provided, and click the Submit button to send the message to TradeStation. Note that the feedback channel does not provide any customer service, acknowledgement of complaints or help with financial transactions. For account support, please call one of the listed customer support numbers.

conversation with a tradestation customer representative via online chat

Live Chat - To access TradeStation’s Live Chat feature, click on the Support tab in the Client Center on TradeStation.com and click the Start Chart button under the Contact Us heading. If prompted, review the Chat Disclaimer and click the I Accept button to proceed or the I Do Not Accept button to cancel your request. Use the chat box to enter your questions and comments.

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