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Best Time Frame for Trading For ThinkOrSwim?


Staff member
New traders start out with an attraction to the lower timeframes.
They think, they will "miss out" if they do their analysis on anything higher than a 5min chart.

They are smart enough to see the issues and noise associated with trading on lower timeframes. They want the cleaner, clearer signals that higher timeframe signals provide, but their mindset is stuck on the scalper's aggregations.

The market is a tough taskmaster. To succeed. traders make a choice. They either accept that they are scalpers which means eschewing most of the indicators on this forum; in favor of pure price action.

Or they embraced their technical chartists leanings;
They create good basic strategies on their three timeframes.
1. They verify their long-term trend on their highest timeframe.
2. Then do their in-depth chart analysis with at least THREE non-collinear indicators on their trading chart which is their middle timeframe.
3. And only then, start looking at their lowest timeframe for entry using price action.

If you are having difficulty having consistent profitable trades, make sure that you are doing your analysis starting at your highest timeframe and working down to your lowest. Not the other way around.
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Join useThinkScript to post your question to a community of 21,000+ developers and traders.

Traditional stock trading theory is to trade on THREE timeframes

Why you ask? Read more here:
What time frames should I choose:

Need more?

NO! You cannot substitute MTF indicators in place of reviewing your three charts!
Your higher and lower timeframes need to be reviewed with your three non-collinear indicators in order to verify the macro and microtrends are in place.

If you don't have the screen real estate to have three time frames open, you can use the nested three aggregation grid link created for VIP members found in the first link in this post:

Change out the studies for the indicators that you prefer.
By using the arrows at the top of the chart, you can scroll through all three of your time frames without taking up any additional room:

VIP members can also try out this study:
It reviews all timeframes and highlights the optimum timeframe for trading.
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How Different Types of Traders Use The Forum To Trade Successfully

The forum applies the label:
Swing trader to those, who do not use intraday charts.
Swing trading is more about research not about buy arrows.
Forum scripts to start with include: financials, fundamentals, market news direction, investor sentiment...

"Scalper" is anyone whose 'main' charts are on timeframes of 5min and less.
While, many of the forum's technical indicators do not apply to timeframes of 5min and less.
Here is a scalper's toolbox to get you started: price action, tape reading, candle patterns
Profitable scalpers:
  1. Measure their trades in minutes. Short-lived trades reduce risk exposure. Quick closure minimizes losses.
  2. Make a high volume of frequent trades, thus capitalizing on small price movements, especially in volatile markets.
  3. Only trade extremely liquid instruments such as futures/ETFs

Daytrader is anyone that doesn't fit the above two groups.
Daytraders start with creating a chart with three non-collinear studies to build their basic strategy which is reviewed on 3 timeframes

Read completely through https://usethinkscript.com/threads/automated-trend-line-drawing.18181/ and click on the included links to understand the basics:

The essence of profitable short-term trading is giving 100% attention to these scripts: market direction, fundamental news, and investor sentiment ; as well as news events such as: economic data and announcement dates, geopolitical events.
VIP members can read more here: https://usethinkscript.com/threads/good-day-vs-bad-day-in-thinkorswim.17236/
These will provide direction as to when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

Making a livelihood in daytrading is not difficult, as long as one reduces the impact of emotional trading by setting a predetermined exit plan with a stop loss. Thus eliminating impulsive decisions and limiting losses to allow you to live to trade another day.
Review these Exiting A Trade threads

New traders are driven to trade. It takes patience to wait.
Review the market breathe and internal threads to ensure, you are on the right-side of the market before making trade entry.

Always be aware of market news and events. Use trustworthy sources! The talking heads and social media are more into shock and awe headlines that tend to be wrong more often than right and lack any substantive depth.
Accessing up-to-the-minute market driver news has a huge effect on your profit.
ToS has: Trader TV, live news, UseTheNews and Visualize Heatmap. Also, your portfolio news from the bottom of your monitor tab.

Common mistakes:
Daytraders attempting to trade on scalper timeframes.
Don't do it! The noise and the chaos of these lowest timeframes wipe out profits!
Make sure that you are doing your analysis starting at your highest timeframe and work down to your lowest. Not the other way around.

Daytraders attempting to swing because they have full-time jobs and other obligations.
But daytrading and swinging are worlds apart. Swing trades must have the financials, fundamentals, market news direction, investor sentiment required to sustain the trendline. Just a great chart / strategy won't cut it.

Swingers attempting to daytrade. Be aware that these two types of trading are worlds apart.
Swing trades, simply need a great stock and a strong bullish market.
Daytrader's focus is on price action, candle patterns, and a high volume of trades, in order to ride short but strong momentum moves.

70% of retail traders fail due to lack of knowledge. The forum was created to ensure ToS traders succeed.
All questions are welcome.
By sharing your thoughts and questions, you'll not only learn from others, but you'll also be helping others learn as well.
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MerryDay, kilo-kudos for all you (Ben-Ten too) (so generously) give to this site. You definitely are first in the flamboyance ;) ... I think it's about time I figured out how to make the best use of this invaluable resource. This thread is a great place to start! Have a terrific twenty-four and stay well. Cheers

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