Spread Hacker

The Spread Hacker is a thinkorswim interface that enables you to scan the market for spreads that are currently available and meet your criteria. The video below will provide you with instructions on how to use it.

How to Use Spread Hacker

  1. In the Search drop-down menu, specify the spread type you would like to scan for. You can either: select a supported spread type (Vertical, Butterfly, Iron Condor, Calendar, Diagonal, or Double Diagonal) to scan for spreads of these types. Select All so the scan will be performed among all available spreads regardless of their type.
  2. In the Spreads for drop-down menu, you can specify a set of symbols you would like to perform the scan in. You can select your personal or a public watchlist, a certain category (e.g., All Stocks, All Indices, All Futures), a preset scan list, or a GICS industry list.
  3. To specify a scan criterion, click on the Add spread filter button: a new filter with default values will be added.
  4. You can use up to eight filters in a single scan. To remove a filter, click the X on its right.
  5. Adjust your scan criteria by using the controls in each filter. For example, select a different parameter to perform the scan with or edit the desirable range of parameter values. The latter can be done by either selecting the minimum and the maximum values of the range in the corresponding boxes or by dragging the brackets on the pre-scan diagram. The diagram illustrates how many results there are for each of the micro-ranges that constitute the specified range. The total number of matches is displayed live on the right.

    Note that even though each filter can display a certain number of matches in pre-scan, the actual scan may return no results, as the spread needs to match all the specified criteria.

  6. Using the controls in the bottom-right corner of the Scan Setup area, adjust your result output preferences: how many results to show, which column to sort by and in which order.
  7. Click Scan. The system will display a list of available spreads that match your criteria. To sort this list by a different column, click on that column’s header so the ascending sorting will be applied. Click on the header again to re-sort the list in the descending order.
  8. If some of the spreads found are of special interest to you, consider clicking on the lock in the Pin column. This will fix that spread on top of the table.
  9. If your scan returned too many results, consider cleaning up the table by removing some of its rows. To do so, select the spread you wish to remove by clicking it, then click on the small gear button in the top right corner of the table and then choose Clear selected. If you wish to select multiple spreads for removal, click on them while holding down the Ctrl key. To select a range of rows, click on the first and the last row in this range while holding down the Shift key.
  10. If you would like to trade some of the spreads found, right-click it and choose Create duplicate order (or Create opposite order if you wish to follow the opposite trading strategy). This will populate the Order Entry dialog with all the necessary fields.
  11. Carefully review the information in the Order Entry dialog and make changes, if necessary. Click Confirm and send.
  1. Click the Scan tab and choose Stock Hacker from the sub-tab row. Click the Sizzle Index button  on the right of the Stock Hacker header. This will load the Top 10 Sizzling Stocks scan template.
  2. By default, three stock scan filters are added in the template: minimum last price, minimum volume, and minimum market capitalization. If necessary, modify these filters. The total number of matches is displayed live on the right. Note that even though each filter may display a certain number of matches in pre-scan, the actual scan may return no results, as the stock needs to match all the specified criteria.
  3. If necessary, add more filters to the scan by clicking the buttons on above the filters area. You can use up to 25 filters in a single scan and only one pattern filter is allowed. To remove a filter, click X on its right.
  4. Click Scan. The results will be displayed in a watchlist-like form (and you can actually save them as a watchlist by clicking the Show actions menu button and selecting Save as Watchlist...). Virtually all operations available in watchlists are also available in the search results: you can add or remove columns, adjust sorting, add orders, create alerts, etc.
  5. Consider saving your scan query for further use. To save your query, click on the Show actions menu button next to Sizzle Index and select Save scan query... Enter the query name and click Save.
  6. Scan results are dynamically updated. If you would like to be notified of changes in the results, consider adding an alert on the changes. To add an alert:
    • Click on the Show actions menu button and select Alert when scan results change...
    • In the dialog window, specify which events you prefer to be notified of (e.g., when there is a new symbol that matches the criteria or a symbol that no longer matches them) and the scan query to be monitored.
    • Specify the frequency options: whether you would like the system to notify you of every change in the results or send you a list of changes on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.
    • Click Create. The alert will be added to your Alert book.