Product Review: thinkorswim by Dennis D. Peterson
Thinkorswim (Tos) by TD Ameritrade is software (downloadable or web-based) you can use with a number of handheld devices such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, or an Android, as well as a personal computer to trade stocks, stock options, futures, currency, spread orders, or futures options. You can trade these via a number of order types, such as trailing stops, one cancels other (Oco), and one triggers all. It covers a broad spectrum of trading activities. It is also free if you use delayed quotes; all you have to do is go to the website, fill out a brief registration form, and download the software.
In addition to this trading capability, you can have a paper trading account, which is the approach used for this review. Learning all of the features is daunting, only because there are so many. The main screen (Figure 1) is loaded with tabs and buttons. They recommend a 1024x768 resolution, but you can get by with 800x600. For the tutorials, however, I recommend a 24-inch diagonal screen monitor.
The main screen is basically broken into two pieces, the left-hand side one-third with account information and what are referred to as “gadgets,” and the right-hand side two-thirds with tabs for viewing and analyzing stocks, options, futures, and currency. Gadgets include the ability to watch Cnbc and view market depth (similar to Level 2), watchlists, and live news (Reuters) — 14 items in all.