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 New... below the list of available studies and strategies. This will open the thinkScript Editor where you’ll be able to script your own study. 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.