Watch Lists

Watch Lists are one of the key thinkorswim features, and are virtually omnipresent in the platform. A watch list is a collection of symbols grouped together along with market data of respective instruments. Sometimes, watch lists include or even completely consist of companies or derivatives that might be interesting to traders. They can also be constituents of an index like NASDAQ 100, the Dow Jones Industrials, or the S&P 500, to name a few. It is also possible to have symbols that are indicators of certain economic trends or industry groups which are not directly tradeable, but have an impact on products that are.

Being a very important functionality, Watch Lists have found application in many of thinkorswim features: Scanner, FX Global Currency Map, Stock Hacker, Use The News, and several others. You are also offered to view the full-scale Watch Lists interface available from MarketWatch -> Quotes. In this article, we are going to discuss the functionality of the Watch Lists gadget, however, it is similar for other tools where watch lists are present.

In the gadget title, you can find four controls: the watch list selector, the up/down arrow control , the 'clip' icon , and the Show actions button :

- Arrows allow you to easily switch between watch lists in a group: the up arrow will take you to the previous watch list in the set, and down arrow will take you to the next.  

- Clip icon  allows you to use the thinkorswim color-coded clipboard; it is a shortcut to link a component to another one. Clicking on the icon brings up a color-and-number selection menu. In this menu, you can click on a color so that your watch lists will be linked to all other thinkorswim components having the same color code. For example, choosing a green box will link all components that use green, even if they are in a different window. Tip: consider linking Watch Lists to the symbol selector and the Dashboard. This way, clicking through the watch list will automatically display corresponding symbols in the symbol selector and the Dashboard.

- The watchlist selector allows you to configure your watch lists. It is in the configuration menu that you can create, delete, and switch between the watch lists. Beside your personal watch lists, you can switch to any of the public, Lovers and losers, Top 10, and industry-based ones. In the same menu, you can also view your portfolio watch list, i.e., the watch list of symbols that have positions in the currently selected account.

After configuring your watch lists, you can customize every single one of them. The customization may include any of the following:

- Reordering the columns. To reorder, left-click on the column header and drag it to the position desired.

- Sorting by a column. To re-sort a watch list, click on the header of the column by which you would like to perform the sorting. An up arrow  will appear, which indicates the ascending sort. Clicking again will give the column a descending sort (indicated by a down arrow ). To return to the unsorted state, left click on the header a third time or right click on the header and choose No sorting.

- Changing the column set. To add or delete columns, right-click on the header and choose Customize... In the dialog window, you will see two areas: Available items and Current set. To add columns to your watch list, drag the desired ones to the Current set. If you need to delete a column from your watch list, find its title in the Current set, select it, and click Remove items. Click OK; your column set will be immediately updated. 

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.