Install ThinkOrSwim Indicators
ThinkOrSwim is a great platform, but let’s face it: some things are just plain confusing. Luckily, some of us have already been through the trial and error and know how to do a lot of the stuff you want to know how to do. So in this tutorial, I’ll go through a few of those things. In particular, I’m going to teach you how to install ThinkOrSwim indicators and other thinkScripts.
There are actually 4 methods for installing thinkScripts.
- Clicking the sharing links
- Copying and pasting the sharing links manually
- Importing the source files manually (files ending in STUDY.ts or STRATEGY.ts)
- Copying and pasting the code in manually
We’ll go through each on in it’s turn. I’ve also included a video below that will walk you through each and every method except the first one, since it’s pretty easy.
How to Find Your ThinkOrSwim Import Links
If you’ve just purchased an indicator on our site, all your links will in the My Account section under Orders. First, mouse over the “My Account” menu item at the top right of the page, then click “Orders” in the drop-down menu:
On the next page, you’ll see all your orders. Click the one you’re interested in viewing the links for:
When your order details page pops up, you’ll see your import links below, as well as your file downloads should you want them later:
Now that you have your import links, it’s time to go through the actual installation process.
Method 1: Clicking the ThinkOrSwim Sharing Links
This method is pretty easy and straight-forward. Or so you would think anyway. Each ThinkScript can be shared with its own unique “tos.mx” sharing link. Clicking one of these links will take you to a page on ThinkOrSwim’s website where you can confirm what the script is. The page looks like this:
Then if you approve, you can click the green confirmation button (the one that says “Scan now in thinkorswim”). The file should be automatically imported into your TOS application.
I say should because it doesn’t work on all systems. Specifically those where TOS isn’t installed for all users. For those lucky traders, the green button will ask you to reinstall TOS. But if you don’t want to do that, no problem! You’ll just need to skip to method two below.
Method 2: Copying & Pasting the TOS Sharing Links
If the automatic link method above doesn’t seem to work, don’t fret. Just go into your ThinkOrSwim application, and click the “Setup” menu in the top right corner (gear icon). In the dropdown menu that appears, click “Open shared item”.
Then a a box will pop up, and you can simply copy and paste the link into the space that says “Shared item URL”. You have to go through this process one link at a time unfortunately. After you paste in the link, click “Preview”:
The program will load the link into memory and grab the name so you’ll know for sure what you’re importing. If everything looks good, then click “Open”:
A confirmation dialog box will pop up telling you the script has been imported and given a machine-generated name. Click “Rename” to change the name to something that will be easy for you to find in an alphabetical list later:
Remember to give it an easy to remember name, but something unique as well:
Voila! You’re done. The script has been imported and saved under your chosen name. See the end of this post for instructions on how to load and use each of the scripts you’ve just imported.
Method 3: Importing a Source File Manually
You shouldn’t need to mess with source files… that’s why ThinkOrSwim created the sharing links mentioned above. The source code downloads we provide on this site are just for backup purposes in case you misplace your links. All the thinkScripts on this site can be installed automatically through the sharing links, and you probably won’t need the download file at all. But the file is there in case you lose your confirmation email or if you have trouble with the sharing links.
To import your source files directly, you may first need to UnZip them. Most of the time we have to provide them as compressed ZIP files. To open them, if you don’t already have a ZIP application installed on your computer, you might give 7Zip a try. You can also try any of a number of free ZIP applications out there by searching Google for “free unzip program” or “unzip files online”.
After you unzip the files, you should be left with files whose names end with either STUDY.ts or STRATEGY.ts. Go to ThinkOrSwim Charts and click Studies > Edit Studies. In the new window, make sure you’re on the right tab for either Studies or Strategies, then click “Import” below. In the next window, navigate to the file on your hard drive, select it, and click open:
Note: Only studies and strategies can be imported from source files. Columns and scans have to be imported with links, or the actual code text has to be selected and pasted over into TOS manually. If you received a .txt file instead of a STUDY.ts or STRATEGY.ts file, then you need to open that file up and manually copy and paste the code over using the next method.
Method 4: Copying and pasting the code in manually
And as a last resort, you can even copy and paste the code over manually. This is only really necessary for columns and scans when the sharing links don’t work. You really shouldn’t have to do it this way! But in case you want to, here is how to add a custom watchlist column:
And here is how to copy and paste code and make a custom scanner rule:
You’re done! You’re officially a nerd like me now!
Now that you’ve figured out how to get the code into ThinkOrSwim, it’s time to actually activate the code and start using it. Here’s a brief rundown of how to find and activate thinkScripts that you’ve recently imported into ThinkOrSwim…
How To Load a Chart Study, Indicator, or Strategy
If you were importing a chart study or indicator, or a strategy, then you just need to go to charts > studies > edit studies, and search for the script name in the list. Then double-click to add it to the chart (or click “Add Selected” below), and then click OK to apply the changes:
How To Load a StockHacker Scan
If the link you just imported was a scan, a window will pop up with the scanner rules ready-to-go. Just click scan and watch it work. You might have to resize and expand the window to see the results. Or you can close that popup and load the scan in your main window as well. You can access your scans at any time from the dark gray menu on the top right:
How to Load a Custom Quote or Watchlist Column
If you just imported a column thinkScript, there are a couple of ways to activate and use it. You can use columns in the MarketWatch Quotes tab, or in the StockHacker or OptionsHacker scan tabs, or on a sidebar watchlist on the left hand side of the window. In either case, you’ll first right-click anywhere on the column headers and select “Customize…”
A window pops open with a list of columns you can add. Just find the column name in the alphabetical list, and double-click to add it to the right hand side. Then click OK:
The column will now appear on your quote screen (whichever column header you had originally right-clicked on):
That should just about do it. Now you should have all your scans, strategies, columns, and studies/indicators imported and installed. Not only that, but if you went through the second part of the tutorial, you should have the thinkScripts added to your screens and ready to roll.
If you find you’re still unsure of how to do something, check out my video. I walk through almost all of these methods on the screen for you, and it should help you figure out anything you missed:
If you have any questions or issues, please post a comment below!