The thinkorswim trading platform has different versions: desktop, web, and mobile
All TD Ameritrade account owners can access all thinkorswim products
All thinkorswim products are interconnected, so you can access watchlists, scans, and other tools across all platforms
Trading is a passion. You can’t live without it, even when you’re on vacation. You may want to take a break from your other responsibilities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a break from trading. In fact, completely detaching yourself from trading could make you anxious. What if you have open positions but are worried the markets might tank? And what could happen to those essential retirement accounts? Such concerns could ruin your pursuit of rest and relaxation.
But as long as you at least have your smartphone or maybe even a tablet, you have access to the thinkorswim trading platform. And that’s all you really need to stay tuned in to the markets just enough for a relaxing time away.
Trading Tools: Choices Are Nice to Have
Fortunately, if you’re a TD Ameritrade client, you’ve got a few choices when it comes to trading platforms and tools.
Looking for a place to start? You can begin online at https://www.tdameritrade.com/tools-and-platforms/thinkorswim.page.
On this landing page, you’ll see the different trading applications TD Ameritrade offers. The nice thing is you don’t need a separate account for each of these products. As a retail trader, regardless of which type of TD Ameritrade account you have, your log-in information will give you access to all thinkorswim platforms. Each thinkorswim version includes a robust set of tools you can use to analyze, strategize, and place trades. The different versions are all integrated, so you can access information through the investing web platform, the thinkorswim desktop platform, thinkorswim Web, or thinkorswim Mobile.
All thinkorswim platforms allow you to trade equities, options, futures, and forex. Of course, options, futures and forex all have special risks and require separate account approval before trading. They all share the same data tools, so you’ll get the same quotes and calculations across the suite.
So which thinkorswim platform should you use? Why choose? You can use all of them. The desktop platform is great for setting up trading strategies, researching fundamentals, backtesting, and so on. But if you happen to be away from your desk, thinkorswim Mobile and thinkorswim Web are there to help you place trades on the go. You can still apply technical studies to your charts and if you want to trade options, you have access to options analytical tools that allow you to analyze single or spread trades. Plus you can place different order types.
How to Use thinkorswim
So if you’re going on vacation and taking a phone and tablet, or if you need to be away from your desk for an extended time, do a little planning.
thinkorswim Desktop. First, on the thinkorswim platform on your desktop, set up your watchlists, charts, scans, and alerts (remember to send the alerts to your phone). The scans are extremely useful because they can be viewed on other platforms as dynamic watchlists. For example, if you trade breakout patterns, you could set up a scan to identify stocks that are breaking out above a resistance level, save that scan, and access it later on thinkorswim Web and thinkorswim Mobile.
thinkorswim Web. Here’s where your tablet comes in handy. You can access thinkorswim Web from any browser with the same log-in credentials. thinkorswim Web is a technologically powerful platform, with plenty of features that appeal to equity, futures, forex, and option traders. Before leaving for your trip, check your watchlists, orders, and open positions—they’ll be the same as on your desktop version. You can also practice accessing your scans from the watchlist (see figure 1).
FIGURE 1: THINKORSWIM WEB DYNAMIC WATCHLIST. When you save a scan on the desktop version of thinkorswim, it’ll show up as a dynamic watchlist on thinkorswim Web. Chart source: the thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
thinkorswim Mobile. Now log in to the thinkorswim Mobile app on your phone. Again, take a peek at the same watchlists, orders, positions, and scans that are accessible from your smartphone. Any scans you created on the desktop version can be accessed from the watchlist. thinkorswim Mobile offers some additional features that sync with the desktop version, including alerts and charts. And any technical indicators you place on your charts are accessible from thinkorswim Mobile. Plus, you have access to options analysis tools and advanced order types. So really, you can do quite a lot with all the different versions of thinkorswim.
We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg here, but there are plenty of educational tools to help you learn all the different ways to use thinkorswim products. Access them from the Education tab on thinkorswim or from tdameritrade.com. Topics range from viewing quotes to implementing trading strategies.