As you might have guessed, TD Ameritrade wants you to trade stocks. And back when they charged commissions, it clearly helped their bottom line for you to trade as much as possible! So Thinkorswim was designed to make that happen. In this video, follow along with Steve from FloatChecker as he shows you how to buy stocks on Thinkorswim.
Thinkorswim is such a robust platform that there are likely many more ways to trade than we were able to cover. As discussed in the video, below are just a few ways to buy a stock which you may find helpful.
- Active Trader Tab. The most obvious way to start trading is by using the large buy and sell buttons in the Active Trader area. These buttons can be customized to include buying at the market price, at the bid price, or at the sell price. This area also includes buttons to cancel orders, change order quantities and adjust order types. In addition, Stocks can easily be purchased using the trading ladder. Just click on the bid size column at your desired price. The ladder will conveniently show whether you are placing a stop order or limit order depending on if you hover above or below the current price. You can also intuitively place sell-limit or sell-stop orders the same way. If you’ve ever been confused about these types of order, the ladder helps to show the differences in a visual way. Finally, if you click on the auto send feature, your order will bypass the confirmation screen and be placed immediately.
- Level II Area. You can enter buy orders by clicking on your selected price in the ask column on the right-hand side of the Level II window. Conversely, sell orders can be placed by clicking in the bid column. You will then be brought to the confirmation screen where you can adjust your order size and type – unless you have activated the auto send option. Alternatively, you can right click in the bid or ask column and a small menu will popup with options to buy or sell.
- Chart Area. Using your mouse or laptop mousepad, right click anywhere in the chart area and a small window will popup with choices to add drawings, studies, alerts, or to buy and sell. If you click buy, the number of shares will usually pre-populate with whatever quantity you have displayed in the active trader area. If auto send is disabled, you will typically be brought to the confirmation screen where you can adjust your order if necessary.
- Gadget Area. The left sidebar of Thinkorswim gives you the ability to add over 20 different gadgets to your trading layout. The Dashboard tool is probably the most straight-forward as it provides buy and sell buttons and a quantity display. But you can also buy and sell stocks using the other available gadgets, such as Market Depth, Level II, Quick Quote, Watchlist and Quick Chart. The process here is usually the same: right click on your mouse or laptop mouse pad until you see a menu with options to buy and sell. You’ll then see the order entry tools window where you can adjust your order further or delete it.
- Stock & Price Line. One final area to buy and sell is near the top left of your trading screen where you can enter the stock ticker and see the real-time price quote. There, you can simply left click on the price or the adjacent percentage change. This will activate the familiar small menu with options to buy and sell. As always, you can then make any last minute changes in the order entry tools window.
The Trade tab area isn’t the only place to trade. You should also explore the Analyze, Scan, MarketWatch and Chart tabs and get familiar with the available trading options. Fortunately, the process will usually be similar and bring you to the order entry window where you can refine your order further. Happy trading!