Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Basic Navigation
  1. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Introduction
  2. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Basic Navigation
  3. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Charts
  4. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Chart Analysis Tools
  5. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Trade Management
  6. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Help And Training Resources

Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Basic Navigation

Each time the application launches (after the user name and password have been typed in) a "home page" will pop up. This window serves to provide quick access to market information and certain aspects of the program. For example, traders are able to quickly tune into CNBC, see which markets are being discussed most actively in forums and get the snapshot of the news which is coming out shortly.

Figure 5. thinkorswim Platform Home Page

Along the bottom are links to popular features for specific types of traders, such as launching the Forex Trader tab, stock market Heat Map or the Pairs Trader tab. All these features are discussed in future sections.

This page can be closed by clicking the "X" in the upper right hand corner of the page.

Closing this page will expose the platform, which is very customizable and has lots of features. To re-open the home page click the "Home" button in the very upper left hand corner of the platform. (For related reading, see Mastering Short-Term Trading.)

Windows and Tabs

Traders are presented with a sidebar and main window upon entering the main platform, as shown in the figure below.

Figure 6. Sidebar and Main Window

The sidebar is customizable and can contain whatever information the trader chooses from available features. Gadgets are the main feature of the sidebar, and they can provide market snapshots based on a number of a criteria.

Traders can choose which information will be shown by clicking on the "Gadget" button which will bring up a drop-down menu. From the menu, select the desired tool.

Figure 7. Available Gadgets

To minimize a Gadget click on the arrow next to gadget button: . There are also several features to the right of the Gadgets button as shown in the figure below.

Figure 9. Gadget Options

Click on the "gear" to choose settings for the gadget. Use the left and right arrows to quickly cycle through all the available gadgets. The colored boxes are seen throughout the thinkorswim platform and allow different features to be linked together by color. The "print" icon can print the screen or take a screenshot. The last icon, which looks like two pieces of paper, allows the widget to be opened in a separate window.

Gadgets can be deleted via the drop down menu shown in Figure 7. The "wrench" button, at the top of the sidebar, will allow more gadgets to be added or deleted (and in some cased edited). (For related reading, see Day Trading: An Introduction.)

Figure 10. Add, Delete and Edit Gadget with the "wrench"

Main Menus and Shortcut Buttons
Next to the sidebar is the main window. This is where trades are made and analysis is conducted. Along the top of the window are several tabs, each of which is used for different functions. There are also features within these main tabs, which we will go through below.

Figure 11. Main Window Tabs
Monitor Tab: Provides account and position information including the ability to pull up statements. From this tab traders can view their account balances and current exposure to the market.

Monitor-Activity and Positions: See current positions and recent trade activity.

Monitor-Account Statement: Run account statements and see summary account information.

Monitor-FX Statements: Use this tab to view a forex trading statement.

Figure 12. Monitor Tab Options

Trade Tab: Provides traders with a way to make trades while also being able to view relevant market information. Trade-All Products: Allows trader to customize which tradables they want to view and be able to trade all from one spot.

Trade-Forex Trader: Provides a way for forex traders to simultaneously look at multiple forex charts and quotes. Trades can be made directly from the page and charts can be customized as outlined in the Charts section.

Trade-Futures Trader: Provides a way for traders to simultaneously look at multiple futures charts and quotes. Trades can be made directly from the page and charts can be customized as outlined in the Charts section. (For related reading, see An Introduction To Managed Futures.)

Trade-Active Trader: Provides a way for traders to simultaneously look at multiple futures charts and quotes. Quotes in this tab are more detailed though, and the windows can be customized to greater specificity. Charts can be viewed and adjusted as outlined in the Charts section, and trades can be made directly from the page.

Figure 13. Trade Tab Options
Analyze Tab: Provides tools for simulating trades, creating risk profiles, probability analysis and being able to see potential profits or losses on backdated trades (thinkBack).

Analyze-Add Simulated Trades: Provides a way to create trades without actually buying the underlying security; in other words, high-tech paper-trading.

Analyze-Risk Profile: Provides a way to monitor risk and create scenarios for options trading.

Analyze-Probability Analysis: Can create a statistical model of the likelihood an event will occur, such as a price being hit or an option becoming "in the money" or "out of the money." (For related reading, see The Importance Of Time Value In Options Trading.)

Analyze-thinkBack: Similar to paper trading but allows the trader to go back in time and place trades, basically letting them see how a position would have worked out if it was taken at a certain time or price in the past.

Figure 14. Analyze Tab Options

Scan Tab: Used for finding stock and option trades that match certain criteria of the traders choosing via Stock Hacker, Spread Hacker and Spread Book.

Scan-Stock Hacker: An advanced stock screener which allows precise customization so a specific type of stock(s) can be found.

Scan-Spread Hacker: Provides a way to screen for option spread trades, such as Butterflies or Iron Condors.

Scan-Spread Book: Allows trader to see which option spreads other traders are looking to fill. They can then duplicate the trade, create an opposite trade or choose to analyze the option spread trade to see if it is right for them.

Figure 15. Scan Tab Options

MarketWatch Tab:Provides snapshots of market information such as a list of quotes, alerts, watch lists, heat maps, rollover rates and a trading/economic calendar.

Figure 16. MarketWatch
MarketWatch-Quotes: Create lists to get a quick snapshot of different symbols.This is very similar to the quote widget available on the sidebar.

MarketWatch-Alerts: Lets traders input criteria so they receive an email or pop-up when certain market conditions are met.

MarketWatch- Watch: Shows information such as dividends, earnings, conference calls or stock splits. Each tab is closed by default so click on the arrow next to it to view the data and click "refresh." (For related reading, see Understanding Stock Splits.)

MarketWatch-Heat Map: Provides a way to view individual stock performance of the whole stock market, indices or personal lists of stocks in a highly visual way.

MarketWatch-Rollover Rates: Shows the credit or debt applied to forex positions held overnight.

MarketWatch-Calendar: Shows economic and trading events occurring on a particular day.

Figure 17. MarketWatch Tab Options
Charts Tab: Using charts, traders can focus on technical analysis and view the price history of a tradable. There are three main charting platforms: Charts, Prophet and Flexible Grid. Each offers slightly different functionality. Charts are covered in detail in the Charts section.

Figure 18. Charts Tab Options

Tools Tab: Provides several additional tools for trading. Tools-My Trade and Trade Feeds:Allows users to interact with one another and share trade ideas.

Tools-ThinkLog: A simple tool for keeping notes, similar to an online journal.

Tools-CNBC: Provides a streaming feed from the popular financial news network.

Tools- Widget 360: A useful tool for option and stock traders. When a stock symbol is inputted it will show the options activity within that stock in several highly visual chart formats. This allows the trader to see the most popular options, as well call and put volumes and if options are trading greatly in or out of the money. (For related reading, see Put-Call Parity And Arbitrage Opportunity.)

Figure 19. Tools Tab Options
Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Charts

  1. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Introduction
  2. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Basic Navigation
  3. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Charts
  4. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Chart Analysis Tools
  5. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Trade Management
  6. Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Help And Training Resources
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