Guide to TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim - Charts
Charts provide a visual depiction of the price movement of a tradable instrument. There many ways to view charts and to analyze them within thinkorswim.
Three Charting Platforms
There are three charting platforms available within thinkorswim. The first is entitled "Charts." The second charting choice is "Prophet" which is created by an affiliate of thinkorswim and provides a different look and feel. "Flexible Grid" is the third charting option, which allows the trader to see multiple charts at once - basically it is the "Charts" platform but can be split up into smaller windows.
Figure 20. Chart Choices
Charts-Charts: Clicking on any of the three available chart options will bring up a blank chart. To pull up a specific chart insert the symbol into the box in the upper left hand corner of the charting window. If the symbol is unknown, type the name you are looking for in the box; this will bring up a list of symbols corresponding to the information entered. Select the appropriate symbol from the list to bring up a chart. (For related reading, see Advantages Of Data-Based Intraday Charts.)
This will bring up a basic daily chart of the tradable selected. Changing the look of the chart can be done quickly by clicking the button. This brings up a Chart Settings window which allows the trader to change how the charts look, what features are included and also create separate chart settings for equities, options, futures and forex.
Figure 21. Start Typing Symbol or Company Name
Changing the time frame of the chart can also be done through the charting menu.
Figure 23. Choose Time Frame
The figure above also shows a Style menu. The Style menu can be used to change the look of the chart, such as changing from OHLC bars to a candle or line chart. The Style menu also provides the ability to more finely tune the time frame being viewed. (For related reading, see Candlestick Charting: What Is It?) Traders can also right-click on the chart to bring up a drop-down menu which provides access to many features and settings, including being able to trade from the charts, set alerts, change the time frame and add technical analysis tools.
Figure 24. Right-Click Chart Menu
Useful functions are also located in the in the upper right hand of the charting platform, as shown below.
Figure 25. Charting Functions
The first box provides a drop down menu which allows trades to split windows or show data other than charts. Clicking the sideways wrench produces a small pop-up on the chart where traders can choose to activate or deactivate a small sidebar on the chart (the sidebar provides quick links to news, Level II quotes and several other tools), or add or delete charts if more than one chart is open in the window. The Symbols button creates a drop down menu which supplies a list of different stocks based on different criteria, such as most volatile or biggest movers. Next, the Printer button can print the chart or take a snapshot. The Reset button resets all settings to default. The Setup button allows workspaces to be saved and provides access to the application settings of the software.
Finally, the last icon which looks like two pieces of paper separates a chart from the platform, so it can be moved around, or so that many charts can be created.
Traders may also wish to zoom in or zoom out on the chart or see previous data. This can be accomplished using the menu and scroll bar located in the bottom left-hand corner of the chart.
Figure 26. Zoom in, Zoom out and Scroll Through Price History
Charts-Flexible Grid: Are identical to the regular charting platform, except that multiple screens are provided by default. This allows for several stocks to be viewed at once.
Clicking the button brings up the boxes shown in the middle of the charts above. These boxes allow traders to add more boxes (below or beside) or delete boxes. The option to have a sidebar on each of the charts is also presented.
Figure 27. Flexible Grid Charting
All other settings are very similar to the standard Charts.
Charts-Prophet: Prophet charting offers a different look and feel than the other two charting platforms. Many functions are very similar though. All major settings can be accessed through main menus or short-cuts which are along the top of the charts.
Figure 29. Prophet Charts Menus
In order to change the chart type, from OHLC bars to candlesticks for example, the Chart Settings tab is used.
Changing the time frame and what amount of time is depicted in the charts is quickly done by using the menu bar.
Figure 30. Change Time Frame
In order to zoom in on data or scroll through past price history, the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons, along with the scroll bar, can be used. These are located near the bottom of the chart on the right.
Figure 31. Zoom In and Out and Scroll Through Price History
Traders can also right-click on the chart to bring up a drop-down menu which provides access to many features and settings, including chart settings, watchlists and access to technical analysis tools.
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