Thinkorswim missing feature? a work around!

I have zero complaints about Thinkorswim, BUT there is one feature that I’ve asked them to implement and the answer was that they’ve tried and for some reason that I didn’t comprehend, they cant implement it into the analyze tab due to how it works internally (or something like that, I told you I really didn’t understand the answer). 

What could possibly be missing from the best options, futures, and stock trading platform ever?  (Tom, I left out Forex b/c I have not traded that and thus have no comparison)

When I use the analyze tab I like to track my P&L for positions that I have closed previously along with my still-open positions.  Currently, there is no way to do this in Thinkorswim’s analyze tab.  I’ve found a very simple work-around for this.

Let’s say 3 weeks ago you put on an iron condor in SPY.  You sold ten contracts each of the $110c / $112c / $106p / $104p spread for a credit of $1.37 which looks like this: (Click any picture to enlarge)


Three weeks later the market has not moved much and due to theta decay you’re up a few hundred dollars and you decide that you want to exit the put spread as you feel there will be a fall in SPY.


You close the put vertical taking a few dollars in profit.  Originally, the put vertical yielded a net credit of $0.63 per spread.  You buy back the spread for $0.50 for a profit of $0.13 or $130.  Additionally, you’re up $360 on your call spread.

You still have your short call spread open but the Thinkorswim analyze tab no longer shows you the profit form your put spread.


If you want to see your total profit for your call spread and your closed put spread you have to do this simple work-around:

I add a single OTM option to buy one contact and sell one of the same contracts.  In this case I’ll add one sale of the 45 put for $1.30 and add one buy of the 45 put for $0.00 yielding a hypothetical $130 profit.  If there were a realized loss, I’d buy for $1.30 and sell for $0.00 for a hypothetical $130 loss. Below is the P&L for the call spread and the work-around with the $130 included both at the current price, white line, and the expiration price, red line.


Note the strike price, month and whether it’s a put or call are completely arbitrary as long as they are the same.  I like to use the farthest OTM strike I can find so I do not confuse it with the other simulated trades I’m looking at.

Hope this helps… Lawrence

8 Responses to Thinkorswim missing feature? a work around!

  1. Another quick workaround, if you know the p/l of the position you closed, just tack on a buy/sell of the stock as a simulation, with the difference of the buy/sell being your p/l

    • Hi Steve, the only problem with using a stock as the realized P&L is when you trade index products where the underlying cannot be bought and sold (RUT, VIX, SPX, OEX etc.)

  2. I agree that better adjustment tracking would be nice. I try to enter my actual adjustment as two simulated trades back onto the Analyze tab, with locked prices to reflect the original price and the closing price. In your example I would reenter the short vertical put spread to open for .63 and then to close for .50. This way I “see” the adjustments as actual trades. This doesn’t work well for front month inventory that you are adjusting to the next month back (due to expiration) since you cannot enter simulated trades for months that are now gone. I those cases, you must use the fake inventory trick you describe.

  3. I agree. This is the only real complaint that I can muster for the TOS platform. I just recently started relying on the TOS platform, and I continually find this frustrating. Prior to that, I used OptionVue which has a feature to accommodate adjustment tracking. I like the OTM option or stock dummy trade method best, because the simulated trade window can get really crowded when you include all the adjustment trades. That can get confusing when you start analyzing other adjustments and have to remember which trades to check and which to uncheck. Also, it seems that each simulated trade is included in the daily P&L, but I may be wrong about that

    For the P&L in the monitor tab, the subgroups feature they added recently will track the true P&L net of all trades in that subgroup if you set one of your profit columns as “Year”. It will even let you put more than one underlying in the subgroup, so you can group hedges and pair trades into one P&L total.

    • Hi Lance. I will check out the monitor tab settings you mentioned. Thanks for letting me know about this.

  4. I guess if I had a second complaint it would be that the platform is way ahead of the documentation. I heard about that feature in one of those Tom Sosnoff weekley chats, but I had to call the trade desk at least twice before I got a hold of someone that could tell me how to set it up. Right now, it is limited to 9 subgroups. That’s not an issue for me with active trades, but it limits the ability to store your trade history in subgroups.

    The potential stumbling block to figuring this out for yourself is that you have to set up the subgroups on the account statement page. The button is next to Tax Tool on the same line as the setup button, below the On Demand button. After creating the group, you right click on the trades to assign them to a subgroup. Then when you set one of your profit columns to year, it sums all of the trades assigned to that group. There’s still no way to track commission costs other than mentally though.

    Anyway, I’m an OptionPit student, and I just found your blog from your guest post. I’m enjoying it. I’m glad I could give something back in the way of useful information.


  5. Larry,

    Good point. A good P&L attribution system would take care of this kind of stuff plus let you figure out which factors contributed to your gains/losses (eg market, vol, etc) There are few systems in the institutional space that do this, but none in retail, to my knowledge. Would be nice to have though.


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