Bruce’s Thinkorswim Chart Setup

Danielle Shay

Danielle Shay

May 22nd 2017  .  3 min read

In this post:

  • What is the core setup Bruce uses for his trading and chart work?
  • What does ThinkorSwim do for Bruce?
  • How is Bruce aware of the market from a macro perspective?
  • Which chart is crucial to Bruce’s setup?

Bruce uses the same core setup that he has for years. Because his income work is heavily dependent on market conditions, you’ll find his workspace focused on charts that analyze the overall market and its internals, and allow him to quantify his risk.

His core setup includes:

  • Daily SPX Chart
  • VIX (CBOE’s Volatility Index)
  • $TICKs
  • The Squeeze
  • Historical Volatility
  • Implied Volatility
  • The Analyze Tab


Bruce uses ThinkorSwim for his trading and chart work.

How He Prepares:

A meticulous planner and organizer, Bruce always is aware of the market from a macro perspective, especially the volatility environment. He allocates his overall portfolio and strategies in a meticulous manner, and how he tracks everything, even more so. He consistently tracks, and then analyzes his results to ensure he is performing how he likes. With each specific trade, he uses the Analyze tab heavily to plan his trades ahead of time, and be fully aware of the risk/reward ratio offered with each setup.

SPX/VIX/$TICKs – How To Trade SPX on Thinkorswim

How does Bruce trade SPX on thinkorswim? As much of Bruce’s work involves the current overall macro view of the market, a current SPX chart is vital to his setup. In addition, due to his selection of strategies either due to high or low volatility, analyzing the VIX (volatility index) is vital to his work as well. The $TICKs determine the buying versus selling pressure at that moment in time in the market.

TOS Daily Chart

  • Watch List
  • Volume
  • Daily Chart
  • Earnings or News Announcements
  • Historical Volatility
  • Implied Volatility
  • The Squeeze

Bruce uses the squeeze to determine when it’s a bad time to enter a neutral-based, income-type trade. He also likes to compare the historical and implied volatility to determine which options strategy is best to use. He uses historical volatility to understand what the range of volatility is on an individual stock or index. He uses implied volatility to see where the volatility is for the stock or index in relation to the historical volatility. If it’s near all-time highs, or the top of the range, it’s a better opportunity to sell premium versus buying it.

TOS – The Analyze Tab

Before placing any trade, Bruce always views his risk/reward scenario in the analyze tab. Bruce wants to know where exactly his profit, breakeven and stop loss points are in every single trade before entering. This ensures that he is selecting the strikes he wants, with the correct expiration, and that his risk/reward scenario is acceptable to him.