Active Trader: Overview

The Active Trader tab is a thinkorswim interface designed especially for futures traders who can benefit from its handy bid/ask price ladder, one-click order entering, and high level of customization. This interface can be accessed by clicking Active Trader on the Trade tab.


When opened, the interface will display, by default, two identical sets of gadgets: Chart + Active Trader. The Active Trader consists of Big Buttons and AT Ladder. To the right of each set, there is a gadget control bar, which will help you add or remove gadgets to/from each set by clicking on the corresponding buttons: Trade, Times and Sales, Active Trader, Chart1, Chart2, Chart3, Dashboard, Level II, and Live News. Note that you can also use one of our predefined layouts by clicking  (Grid presets)  in the header. To customize the entire Active Trader grid (i.e., change the number of gadget sets), click  (Grid) in the top right corner.


This gadget is a miniature version of the thinkorswim Charts interface. It has the same functionality as the interface does, however, its display is optimized to fit a smaller screen area. Use the Chart’s symbol picker to specify the instrument to be used in the Active Trader.

Big Buttons

The Big Buttons panel consists of two customizable lines of trade command buttons; however, by default, it is shown collapsed so you can only see the upper line. To make the second line visible, click Show Buttons Area in the first line. By default, the first line contains the following buttons:

  • Buy Market adds a buying order for the current symbol at the market price. By default, the order confirmation dialog will be shown.
  • Sell Market adds a selling order for the current symbol at the market price. By default, an order confirmation dialog will be shown.
  • Clicking Cancel will provide you with the following options: Cancel All, Cancel All Buy, and Cancel All Sell. These will correspondingly cancel all working orders, all buy orders, and all sell orders in the Active Trader gadget.
  • Reverse will reverse your current position on the symbol chosen in the Active Trader. Example: if you have a +1 contract long for the current symbol, clicking Reverse will have the gadget sell 2 contracts. By default, an order confirmation dialog will be shown.
  • Flatten will close any open position for the current symbol and cancel all working orders.

The second line of the Big Buttons panel provides you with the following options:

  • Quantity is the number of contracts or shares that will be in your Active Trader orders.
  • Template defines the type of order to be sent: Single, OCO (One Cancels Other), and Trigger with one, two, or three brackets. OCO and Trigger orders in Active Trader are discussed here.
  • Auto send. Checking this box will allow you to skip order confirmation and send your order directly to the market. Note: we strongly recommend that you review your orders in the order confirmation dialog before sending; avoid using auto send unless you are absolutely sure it is safe.

Both lines of the panel are customizable: click the  (gear) icon to open the Customize dialog. Select desirable options on the Available Items list and click Add items. You can also remove unnecessary buttons by selecting them on the Current Set list and then clicking Remove Items. Click OK to update the Big Buttons panel.

  • Items Buy Bid and Sell Ask will be displayed in the panel as Join the Bid and Join the Ask, correspondingly. Clicking these buttons will have Active Trader issue a limit order to buy/sell at the current bid/ask price.
  • TIF stands for Time In Force. Adding this item to the current set will provide you with a drop-down list, where you can select the time in force for your orders: day or GTC (Good Till Canceled). Note that market orders must be sent as day orders, otherwise they will be rejected.
You may also like
Active Trader Ladder
The Active Trader Ladder is a real-time data table that displays bid, ask, and volume data for ...
Trailing Stop Links preview
Trailing Stop Links
Trailing stop orders can be regarded as dynamical stop loss orders that automatically follow the ...