Trade Flash

Trade Flash is a thinkorswim gadget that displays trade-related events (a.k.a. flashes) as they happen. These flashes include third-party analyst up/downgrades, block trades, trade imbalances, events on the trading floor, and more.  Like all other gadgets, Trade Flash can be displayed as a section of the left sidebar or a separate window (see the Left Sidebar article for details).

How to use Trade Flash:

1. Add the Trade Flash gadget to your left sidebar. To do so, click on the 'plus' button  below the left sidebar and choose Trade Flash from the menu. Alternatively, you can replace an already active gadget with Trade Flash by clicking its Show actions menu button  and choosing Switch gadget in the menu.

2. You can choose a symbol or a watchlist to view the flashes for. To pick a symbol, use the symbol selector. To pick a watchlist, click on the 'gear' button  next to it.

3. In the main gadget area, Trade Flash displays a feed of events sorted by time, newest first. Symbols that appear in the feed are highlighted: clicking on any of them will re-direct you to the Trade tab so that you can take action on a flash. Right-clicking on a symbol will open the Symbol Actions menu that enables you to send orders, create alerts, and view more in-depth info.

4. You can select the kinds of flashes you would like to be displayed. To do so, click on the Select categories icon  and activate the desirable categories.

5. Consider linking Trade Flash to a watch list using the color-coded clipboard available from the 'clip icon' menu . If Trade Flash is linked to a watchlist with the same color code, clicking through the watchlist will immediately display the corresponding symbols in Trade Flash.

6. Flashes are displayed in the gadget throughout the U.S. trading day and disappear shortly thereafter.

The left sidebar is an area in the thinkorswim interface where you keep gadgets necessary for your work. These gadgets allow you to view some trading information immediately, watch news or even distract yourself by playing a couple of built-in games without needing to leave the main window of the platform. The content of the left sidebar is completely customizable. It is up to you to decide which gadgets to keep there; refer to pages in this section, to learn more about each of them.

To add a gadget, click the 'plus' button  at the bottom of the sidebar. The Select gadget dialog will appear. Click on the name of the gadget you would like to display; it will be immediately added. Note that you can have up to 15 gadgets at a time on the left sidebar, however only a subset of these will be onscreen at any given time depending on their heights. The sidebar can be scrolled using the arrow buttons   at the bottom. You can also resize the sidebar by dragging its right border to the width you like. 

If you don't need a previously added gadget anymore, you can remove it from the left sidebar. In order to do that, click the Show actions  button in its top right corner and choose Delete gadget from the menu; the gadget will be removed. If you've added many gadgets and like to quickly delete several of them, consider using the Customize gadgets dialog (accessible via the 'gear' button     at the bottom). This dialog displays a compact list of currently added gadgets; clicking the 'x' button  next to a gadget name will delete the gadget from the sidebar. This menu also allows you to rearrange the order of your gadgets by clicking and dragging their names into a new order. 

The Show actions menu (accessible from the button  at the top-right corner of each gadget) also allows you to detach or switch the gadget. Detaching means displaying the gadget in a separate window with an option to keep it above all other windows (for this purpose, click the 'pin'  button on top of the detached gadget). Switching means replacing a gadget with another: after clicking Switch gadget, you will see the Select gadget dialog where you can choose a gadget to replace the current one.

If you don't need any of the gadgets at the moment, you can hide the whole sidebar. In order to do that, click the Hide gadgets button  in the bottom left corner of the sidebar; the sidebar will be hidden. The button itself, however, will be kept where it belongs so that you can quickly unhide the sidebar once you need it again.

 

*tastytrade is no longer affiliated with TD Ameritrade. 

Level II is a thinkorswim gadget that displays best ask and bid prices for each of the exchanges making markets in stocks, options, and futures. It is essentially a real-time ordered list of best bids and asks of an underlying that allows instant order placement. Like all other gadgets, Level II can be displayed as a section of the left sidebar or a separate window (see the Left Sidebar article for details).

In the gadget header you will see the following elements: the symbol selector, the 'clip' icon , the full name of the symbol, the current market price of the selected symbol, and its percentage and absolute change since midnight. The clip icon brings up a color-and-number selection menu; choosing a color in this menu will link Level II to all thinkorswim components with similar color. Consider linking Level II to a watch list so that clicking through the latter will immediately display the corresponding symbols in Level II.

For stocks and options, Level II is a color-coded display of best bid and ask prices from a given set of exchanges. Use the toggle in the upper right corner of the working area to switch between the pre-defined sets (books): Level II, NASDAQ Full Book, and BATS/EDGE Full Book. For futures, since they each trade on a single exchange, Level II displays first several layers of that exchange's book.

When you specify the symbol in the symbol selector, you will see the real-time quotes in the working area. The working area is divided into two sets of columns: bid-related (to the left) and ask-related (to the right). These columns identify the marketplace or market maker at the given bid or ask price with respective number of shares to be bought or sold (ask/bid size). In both ask and bid size columns, the numbers represent hundreds of available shares or contracts: for example, 3 in the bid size column means that there are 300 shares or contracts ready to be bought at the respective bid price at the respective exchange.

Since the purpose of Level II is providing you with best bid ask prices, the columns are sorted accordingly. By default, the bid area of the gadget is sorted in descending order by the bid price column, so that highest prices are on top. As it might be expected, the ask side is sorted vice versa: the default sorting displays lowest prices on top. You can re-sort the columns in the reverse order by clicking on the Bid or Ask title, or sort the set by exchange name or bid/ask price by clicking the title of respective column.

Level II enables you to add orders instantly. Click on a bid price in Level II to add a sell order; clicking on an ask price will prompt you to add a buy order.