ThinkOrSwim is a professional multi-market trading platform from TD Ameritrade.
To login to thinkorswim, download the software from https://easycators.com/download
After running the installer, launch the platform. A window will appear that says “Checking for updates…” After it makes sure there are no updates to install, the log in screen will appear with a field for username and password.
There is a settings icon in the lower left that you can click to adjust the look and feel of the platform, from light themes to dark themes. You can also adjust the system’s font size to make it easier to read.
The settings screen also shows you login options such as how much memory to devote to the platform, and whether or not to connect through a proxy server.
After you save your settings, you’ll be back out on the log in screen. There is also a “?” icon that, if clicked, shows the 800 number to call for technical support for the platform. If you forget your used ID, you can call this number, or visit https://easycators.com/loginhelp to contact TD Ameritrade.
If you forget your password, you can visit that same page to reset it and have a new password emailed to you.
Once you know your username and password, you can click the lock icon in the user ID field to save it so you don’t have to type it in every single time you launch the TOS platform.
After you do that, type in your password and hit enter, and the platform will launch.
Once the platform is done opening, a “Home Screen” may appear. By default the platform shows the home screen every time you open it, but if you want to turn off the home screen popup, here’s how:
Click the gear icon / Setup menu at the top right of the platform screen. Select Application Settings from the menu that appears. Then select Startup on the left side of the popup window. Uncheck the selection that tells it to show the home screen on every start up, and click OK.
That’s it! You’ve logged in to the thinkorswim platform!
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This article tells you exactly how to find your way around the ThinkOrSwim login screen. If you’re new to TD Ameritrade’s think or swim platform, read on for more information on getting started and logging in to trade.
Get the Program
The first thing you need to know is how to get ahold of the program itself. Just go to our thinkorswim download page if you don’t have the application installed yet, and download thinkorswim. Launch the installed and go through the prompts, making sure you install for all users. Once you’re done, click OK and the program should launch on its own.
The Thinkorswim LogIn Screen
Once you have the program, locate it on your hard drive and double-click the icon to open it. It will show a “Checking for updates…” progress bar for a few moments. This is where the application calls home to TDA and makes sure there are no updates to be installed. If there are, it will install them and relaunch. If there aren’t, it will take you to the login screen:
The Thinkorswim login screen has your typical username and password fields. But there are also a few other options here to discuss:
Once you type in your username, you can click the “lock” icon in the field. This saves your user ID so that next time you launch the program you won’t have to type it in again. It basically saves you some time and effort each day.
Question Mark Icon
The question mark icon is there just in case you run into any technical difficulties on startup. Basically it just gives you the toll free 800 number to call in case of technical issues to get customer support.
Thinkorswim Login Options
The login options will be displayed once you click on the gear icon on the lower left side of the login window. It will bring up a window that looks like this:
Look and Feel
Here you have some options you can set before launching the platform. First, you have the color theme. Most people use the dark them, and that’s the one I prefer as well. It’s a little easier on the eyes after staring at your screen for several hours, in my opinion. But you can select a light them or whatever other options you prefer.
Next you have the font size. If you have a small monitor then you might want to choose the smaller font size to be able to squeeze more onto your screen. If you can’t read small text very well, on the other hand, you may need to set the font to be larger.
After that you have a space for a proxy server address in case you need to connect through a specific server. Most people can simply ignore this.
In the next two fields you can specify a minimum and maximum memory allotment for the platform. This basically tells TOS to go ahead and block out a certain amount of RAM on your computer to be used just for this program. It comes with some default settings, but if things are running slow, you might want to bump up the minimum and maximum settings. The platform will actually alert you later if you start running low on memory anyway.
If you ever mess something up or make a change in the software that you don’t like, don’t worry. The platform automatically backs itself up, and you can always rollback to a prior version. Or if you have a version saved externally from a different computer, you can always load that one as well. Just click the clock icon and select the date of the backup you want. If you want to choose a backup saved somewhere other than the application’s main folder, select the last option in the menu and browse to find the file.
After you have all your options chosen and set how you like them, click Save to go back to the main Thinkorswim Login window. From there you can finish typing in your password, choose either Live Trading or PaperMoney simulated trading, and then click Log In.
Home Screen Shows up after Thinkorswim Login
Once the think-or-swim log-in process is complete and the platform finishes loading, if this is your first launch, you may notice a popup called the “home screen”. This is ThinkOrSwim’s news and updates screen, featuring recent blog posts and streaming CNBC. You can close this out by clicking the X at the top right. And you can always re-open it by clicking Home Screen in the top right corner of the platform.
I personally find the home screen popup to be annoying, and a lot of other people do to. But if you happen to be one of those people, you’re in luck. You can turn off the home screen popup very easily. Just click Setup in the top right corner, and select Application Settings. In the window that appears, click on Startup, and then uncheck the box that tells it to open the home screen on every startup. Accept the changes and you’re all set. Next time you launch the platform the popup won’t launch automatically.
Hopefully this gives you a good comprehensive overview of logging in to ThinkOrSwim. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below. Incidentally, if you’ve forgotten your password or username, you can always go to the thinkorswim login help page and TD Ameritrade will get you set up.
And here’s a full video on the TOS log in screen in case we missed anything in the tutorial above.
I’ve just uploaded a video on how to sign up for ThinkOrSwim Paper Money, and how to download, install, and login to the platform. The video also highlights some of the differences between the live trading and papermoney trading platforms, and how to make sure you’re logged into the paper trading side instead of the live trading side. Here’s the video:
Step 1: Download ThinkOrSwim
The first thing you can do is go ahead and visit our download page and get ahold of the latest version of the thinkDesktop trading platform:
Make sure you note where you choose to download the installer file to so you can find it and launch it later.
Now, it will take anywhere from several seconds to several minutes to download, depending on your connection speed, so while that’s downloading, it’s an ideal time to go ahead and move on to step 2.
Step 2: Sign Up for paperMoney® Demo Trading
One thing to note here is that, if you already have an account with ThinkOrSwim or TD Ameritrade, then you already have access to paper trading and you don’t actually need to do anything else except download and install the TOS platform (if you don’t already have it). A lot of traders are used to dealing more with TD Ameritrade and are unfamiliar with the thinkDesktop platform itself, so some people aren’t aware you have to actually download the software in order to use PaperMoney. So yeah, do that first.
If you don’t have an account with TDA though, you’ll need to request on of their FREE 60-day trials to Thinkorswim Paper Money. And you can do that here:
This is pretty self explanatory — they walk you through it very well. Just make sure you know where you downloaded the install file, and then double click to open and run it. Make sure you click yes or allow to any permissions requests.
Another note here is that, if it makes sense in your situation, I would be sure to install the program for “all users” if it asks you to choose during the installation process. This makes it so that you can more easily use sharing features within the program, such as importing custom indicators, chart studies, scans, and so forth.
Step 4: ThinkOrSwim Login
At the end of the installation, you can choose to have the program automatically launch, and also add an icon to your desktop. If you did one of those, just finish the installation and it will launch the program for you, or you can double-click the new icon on you desktop. Otherwise, fish through your applications / programs folders until you find the thinkorswim application, and launch it. I have a Mac and keep my icon anchored to the dashboard for easy access, and Windows users can equally pin the application to their taskbar or Windows Start menu.
When the TOS window opens up, just type in the credentials provided to you by TD Ameritrade / thinkorswim. The login for TDA and thinkorswim are both the same, and the same credentials work for real money as for paperMoney.
One thing to note though: there’s a toggle switch to go between real money live trading (green colored) and paper money demo trading (tan/brown/gold colored). Make sure that toggle switch is set right before you start. Then click login!
Step 5: Demo Trading
Demo trading in ThinkOrSwim paperMoney is pretty much the same as live trading in almost every way: you can analyze charts with an impressive collection of indicators and strategies, and use the scan tab to find great setups. You can save custom watchlists and customize the platform in much the same way you can on the live trading side. The biggest difference with paperMoney is that the data feed for TOS in the paperMoney platform is delayed by 20 minutes, whereas the normal platform is real time.
Hopefully this guide will get you setup and running with your new paperMoney demo account on ThinkOrSwim. In the future I’ll hopefully be doing more guides on how to actually execute orders and so forth. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions!
Josiah is a stock trader, thinkScript programmer, real estate investor, and budding mountaineer. He's also rumored to be an in-shower opera singer. Josiah & his family live in Nashville, TN. Twitter | YouTube
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