Using Studies and Strategies

The thinkorswim platform provides you with hundreds of predefined technical indicators and a built-in study editor so you can create your own. Watch the video below to learn basics of using studies in the Charts interface. Continue reading if you need more in-depth information.

Basically speaking, there are two types of technical indicators in thinkorswim: studies and strategies (for now, we’re not taking into account the multitude of the pre-defined patterns, as there is a separate section in the manual dedicated to this kind of analysis technique). Studies are technical indicators that calculate certain values for each bar on chart. Strategies, on the other hand, will also provide you with historical trade signals: time and price points on chart where a certain price-based condition was satisfied. Strategies can also be back-tested: you can view a report that calculates the hypothetical profit/loss value that would have been actual if the signals given by the strategy were real buy and sell orders.

Operations with Studies and Strategies

1. To add a study, click Studies in the Charts header. Click Add Study or Quick Study, find the group the study belongs to and select it from the list.

2. Another way of adding studies, which will also provide you with a number of advanced options, is choosing Edit studies... in this menu. This will open the Edit Studies and Strategies dialog.

3. In this dialog, you will see three tabs: Studies, Strategies, and Sets. The latter will be empty if you don’t have any study sets yet (see details below).

4. Double click a study or strategy name in the list. It will be immediately displayed in the Added studies and strategies section. You can also select several and then click Add selected. Note: the system automatically assigns subgraphs to studies based on their calculation mechanism, however you’re free to place your studies on any subgraphs (see Arrangement and Superimposition below).

5. To delete a study or a strategy from the list, hover your mouse over its name in the Added studies and strategies list and click . To remove all studies and strategies from the list, click Remove all.

6. To edit input parameters, plots, and visibility options of a study or a strategy click the 'gear' button   at the end of the line. This will bring up the study customization dialog. Refer to the Studies Setup and Strategies Setup pages to learn more about setting in this dialog.

7. To create a new study based on thinkScript programming language, click Create... below the list of available studies. To create a strategy, do the same on the Strategies tab. This will open the thinkScript Editor where you’ll be able to script your own study or strategy. For those who are new to thinkScript or would like to refresh their knowledge, we have a set of tutorials. Note that you can also import a thinkScript based study file (*.ts) from your computer. To do so, click Import..., navigate to the file location, select the file, and click OK.

8. You can also view and edit the source code of almost all available studies. To do so, right-click the study name in the Added studies and strategies list and choose View sources... Note: we do not recommend changing the source code of pre-defined studies; instead, consider choosing Copy sources... in the dialog (this will create a new study with the same source code).

9. Finally, you can save your studies in a set. To do so, click Save as set... below the Added studies and strategies list, type the desirable name, and click Save. You set will be available on the Sets tab.

Arrangement and Superimposition

Once you have added all desired studies to chart, they are distributed automatically between subgraphs (Price, Volume, or Lower), based on the values they produce. However, you can change the subgraph on which the study should be displayed or display several studies on a single subgraph (superimposition).

To display a study on a different subgraph, click the up and down arrows at the end of the study pane. This will move the study one level up or down in the Added studies and strategies list.

Alternatively, you can drag and drop the pane onto any of the available subgraph boxes. In order to superimpose several studies, drag and drop their panes on a single subgraph. Note that in this case, system will automatically enable the percentage mode so that all studies will display their values on the percentage scale. Consider using the Left Axis feature in order to display values of a certain study on an independent scale.

After you add and arrange desirable studies and strategies on the list, click Apply. This will display your studies and strategies on chart without closing the Edit Studies and Strategies dialog; clicking OK will also close the dialog. Click Cancel to close the dialog without saving.

The Social Sentiment feature can be enabled in the Charts Settings dialog:

  1. Click the “gear” button  above the chart. The Chart Settings dialog will open.
  2. Go to the Equities tab.
  3. Activate the Show Social Sentiment checkbox and click OK. The Social Sentiment will be displayed on a lower subgraph.

Note that Social Sentiment is not available for some symbols. You can view a watchlist of all symbols for which it is available: to do so, choose Social Sentiment in the watchlist selector.

In Social Sentiment, the mentions are displayed as a stacked area which uses the same time interval and aggregation period as the chart itself (limited to daily and hourly aggregations in a standard mode). By default, there are three parts in this area: the bottom part represents the number of negative mentions of all divisions affiliated with the company, the middle part visualizes the positive mentions count, and the top part is reserved for the neutral ones. All of these values and the total number of mentions are displayed also in the status string. The area is accompanied with the Sentiment plot which visualizes the rate of approval of the company: it is calculated as the ratio of positive mentions count to the sum of positive and negative counts (neutral mentions are excluded from the calculation).

The stacked area is customizable: you can turn off and on some of its parts, change their colors, and also edit the list of divisions for which it will be plotted. To do so, right-click anywhere on the subgraph and choose Customize... or just double-click anywhere on the stacked area. In the dialog window, de-select components and/or company divisions that are of little importance to you at the moment; click OK. The stacked area will be updated according to your preferences. Note that the list of divisions can be also customized instantly from a menu that opens when you right-click anywhere on the Social Sentiment subgraph.