How to Use the Trade Tab in ThinkOrSwim

theelderwand

Active member
2019 Donor
VIP
Today, I want to spend time covering the Trade tab in ThinkorSwim. Perhaps the most important and the most confusing tab in the TOS platform. The idea is to take the most visited sub tab (i.e) the “All Products” tab.

Once you fold all the sub sections inside this tab, you should see the following structure in this tab.

MMiYVob.png


I have chosen SPY as a sample symbol for exploring this tab. Let’s look at the various sections we have in this tab.

Underlying

This section contains the key information about the chosen symbol itself, it could be a stock, ETF, index, Future, Currency etc.

This is also the section where we can buy or sell the underlying directly. As always, we sell at the Bid price and buy at the Ask price. Let’s click on the Ask for SPY to get to the following screen.

gNbmepX.png


Click on Confirm and Send would let us buy the SPY ETF. You can also adjust quantity as needed here.

Trade Grid

This section is similar to the Underlying tab where you can buy and sell but also contains additional data around Level II information. These are advanced lessons and we won’t be covering this in this tutorial.

Option Chain

The Option Chain section allows us to buy and sell options, place spreads, iron condors and strangles and so on. On expanding this section, the screen should look like the following.

ZYHgz8K.png


Adjust the following settings for a better trading experience:
  • Filter to Off
This allows us to view at several expiration types, filter by days to expiry and other variety of parameters. It’s best to see all the expiration option chains for an informed trading decision
  • Spread to Single
The spread filter allows the ability to choose predefined spreads, iron condors and other option strategies in a single click. I prefer to keep the spread as single as it offers the best flexibility to choose the trades and adjust them into a strategy as I see fit.
  • Layout to Position, Delta
  • Strikes: ALL
Adjust this depending on how many strikes of options you want to see in the option chain. I set it to All.

This subsection is arranged into smaller pivots by the expiration period. Expanding open an expiration, shows us two panes split in the middle by the strike price. The options on the left are the calls and on the right are the puts.

As we discussed in the previous tutorials, we know how to place orders from here on.

Buying Single Options

We always sell at the Bid and buy at the Ask. Now go ahead and open any of the expirations for SPX and click on the Ask on the left hand column for a strike, let’s say 3040. You should see the following:

TeyiFz2.png


Click on “Confirm and Send”, you should see a confirmation screen, click on “Send” to execute your order. You have successfully purchased a single call option on SPX.

For puts the idea is pretty similar, on the right hand side columns click on the Ask for your desired strike price, let’s say 2980. The following is how your screen would look like:

sQO8qVv.png


Click on “Confirm and Send”, you should see a confirmation screen, click on “Send” to execute your order. You have successfully purchased a single put option on SPX.

Charting Single Options

TOS platform also allows you to chart individual options symbols just like any other stock, index or ETF and visualize them. To get to a sample go to the Charts -> Chart and type in the following in the symbol bar “.SPY191101C305” and click on enter, you should see something like this.

o6Ov5d1.png


This is the chart for a single option. Let’s look at what this option is by breaking down the name,
  • . : The dot indicates that this is an option
  • SPY : The next few letter indicate the underlying, in this case SPY ETF
  • 191101 : This is the expiry period on yymmdd format. This is the November 1st 2019
  • C : This represents C(all). It will P for P(ut)
  • 305 : Finally the strike price of the option.

Today’s Option Statistics & Options Time and Sales

These two sections are advanced sections in the TOS platform. They typically look like the following when expanded

2LnUNPU.png


And the following:

wKjylIk.png


The following are the information that we can obtain from these two tabs,
  • Unusually large blocks of trade
  • Last minute options trade which are quite insightful during earnings calls
  • Options that are being traded at Ask or Bid letting us know if the bet is bearish or bullish.
There are other sections in the screen which we won’t be covering in this tutorial and save it for future articles.

That brings us to the end of the first section in the Trade tab. There are a lot of other advanced trading sections in the Trade tab which are saved for future articles.

Happy Trading!!!
 

pranaman

New member
Very interesting, thank you. I tried to recreate this with a future date, and entered .SPY200901C305. It didn't work.
How can I create an entry like the ".SPY191101C305" above?
 

rad14733

Well-known member
VIP
@pranaman
There is no .SPY200901C305 option in the SPY option chain which is why you aren't finding one... Try .SPY200902C305 or .SPY200904C305 or .SPY200908C305 or .SPY200909C305, etc... SPY options expire on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays... Other securities options only expire once or twice a week... And some options don't have expirations every month... They can take some getting used to...
 

SoopaHot

New member
Hello,

I am trying to find a way to filter out large block trades. Is there a way to identify options trades with large individual orders? i.e >500 Qty within the time and sales. Similar to how paid services like FlowAlgo do but for ToS.

thanks in advance!
 

rad14733

Well-known member
VIP
@SoopaHot We don't have access to Time & Sales data other than what is available at the bottom of the Trade tab under Options Time & Sales... That panel has limited filtering capabilities but may be what you're looking for...
 

SoopaHot

New member
@SoopaHot We don't have access to Time & Sales data other than what is available at the bottom of the Trade tab under Options Time & Sales... That panel has limited filtering capabilities but may be what you're looking for...
yea ive been looking at the time and sales portion to find large block trades, just wanted to see if anyone had found a way to alert when those came accross the tape, thanks!
 

wildeye

New member
Say i have a list of options in my option scanner for example ABC - $20 Calls - May 21, 2021. Is there a quicker way to check out the chart of ABC - $25 Calls - May 21, 2021 without having to go to the trade tab -> type in the ticker -> scroll through the options chain -> then pull up the chart?

** I think i just solved this myself but if someone has a better solution feel free to share! Basically you right click and copy the option (Ex: ABC210416C17.5 and then change it to ABC210416C20

I was just thinking but is there a possibility to create something where when you Send ABC210416C17.5 to Yellow (2) chart, then Blue (3) chart automatically changes ABC210416C17.5 to ABC210416P20?
 
Last edited:

rad14733

Well-known member
VIP
@wildeye No, we can't send data to a Chart via link using Thinkscript... That feature is only available from within the Thinkorswim platform itself... I use the Copy & Paste method, by Right-Clicking on the Option Chain entry, and also use the bottom Send <OptionCode>To feature to send the option to the appropriately color-linked Chart and Active Trader panels... Due to the number of trading windows I keep open I lean more towards Copy & Paste, however, aside from my primary trading window...

I should also note that you can select an option from within the symbol input on your charts... Click on the drop-down, Select the Options tab, Enter the underlying symbol in the input box, and select the desired option symbol from the Option Chain... The downside of this method is that we cannot customize the columns displayed in this condensed Option Chain...

5iANEZA.png


Which then results in something similar to the following on my system...

AK5scBv.png
 

wildeye

New member
@wildeye No, we can't send data to a Chart via link using Thinkscript... That feature is only available from within the Thinkorswim platform itself... I use the Copy & Paste method, by Right-Clicking on the Option Chain entry, and also use the bottom Send <OptionCode>To feature to send the option to the appropriately color-linked Chart and Active Trader panels... Due to the number of trading windows I keep open I lean more towards Copy & Paste, however, aside from my primary trading window...

I should also note that you can select an option from within the symbol input on your charts... Click on the drop-down, Select the Options tab, Enter the underlying symbol in the input box, and select the desired option symbol from the Option Chain... The downside of this method is that we cannot customize the columns displayed in this condensed Option Chain...

5iANEZA.png


Which then results in something similar to the following on my system...

AK5scBv.png
Thanks! i agree the send to chart works really well. I have two grids of charts so i've typed in other option codes manually sometimes too
 
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