Interactive Brokers IB comes from a long tradition of open outcry pit trading. It has brought this tradition to its comprehensive, standalone trading platform built for the active, sophisticated trader. IB offers low commissions, best price execution, super low margin rates, and access to thousands of global instruments to invest in — from stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities to simple and complex derivatives strategies using options and futures.
IB gives its clients the latest in trading software on the front end and execution technology on the back end. For the intermediate trader to the professional, Interactive Brokers is a powerful and customizable platform. In this walkthrough, we will cover IB's desktop trading platform, showing how you can trade as well as access its powerful technical and fundamental analysis tools.
Homepage - Interactive Brokers IB is designed for the sophisticated trader looking to harness the full power of global markets and nontraditional assets. IB's proprietary software provides innovative charting tools and ultra-fast, low-cost execution. Interactive Brokers Demo Page - Unlike many other online brokerage platforms, Interactive Brokers relies on a standalone application that runs on your computer instead of through its web site.
Click the Download Demo button to download and install the software. You can run it as a free demo or sign up and use it to trade for real. Login - After you've downloaded and installed the Interactive Brokers software, you'll be asked for your login credentials.
If you have an account, enter your username and password and click Login. If you are new to Interactive Brokers or just want to take it for a spin, click Try the Demo on the top right corner. The software is compatible with eight international languages, including English, German, Chinese, and Japanese.
Front Page Mosaic - Once you've logged in, you'll see the front page Mosaic. This dashboard displays a quick-order entry panel on the left and a monitor of selected tickers and market news on the right. On the bottom of the panel you'll see an activity log that summarizes your open and completed orders.
As you might be able to tell, Interactive Brokers is geared toward active traders who don't want a lot of hand holding.
To return to this screen at any time, simply click on the Mosaic tab at the bottom left of any page. Browse Layouts - IB's Mosaic dashboard is completely customizable — you can rearrange windows, add or remove boxes, and more.
There are a number of pre-configured layouts that you can pick from — under the File menu at the top of the window, choose Open Layout Library, and you will be able to select the layout that works best for you. You can also save your own custom layouts for later use. The Account menu is also where you go to change your profile settings, fund your account, transfer in or out, or view and download statements and reports, including tax forms.
Dropdown Menu - Interactive Brokers has quite a lot of functionality. You can trade U. If you click the blue New Window button on the top left of the dashboard, it will produce an extensive dropdown menu to navigate to various parts of the platform.
Order Entry - For each window in the IB system, clicking on the question-mark icon will load up a cheat sheet to help you use the features and functions in that part of the system. For example, opening the cheat sheet for the Order Entry box brings up this annotated tutorial. Order Entry Settings - Interactive Brokers is a highly customizable platform.
You can change how the Order Entry box looks and behaves, add or remove buttons and shortcuts, program hot keys, and much more. Click on the small wrench icon at the top right of the Order Entry box to load the settings manager. In fact, nearly every box within the Mosaic dashboard is customizable to some degree using the appropriate wrench icon.
Advanced traders may want to consider the Rapid Transmit setting, where orders can be placed immediately, simply by clicking on Buy or Sell. Many platforms require multiple clicks to place a trade. But by using this setting, combined with suppressing the confirmation box, you can create true one-click trading from your workstation.
The top horizontal menu bar now lists quick links to popular screens, and the main window displays a monitor of real-time price quotes. This will open the classic order window. Simply enter the asset symbol, quantity, and order type, and you're ready to trade. Account - Click the Account button on the menu bar for a snapshot of your account balances and status. On the top left corner is the Order Entry box. Input or look up the ticker symbol you're interested in and you'll be asked if you want to trade stocks, options, or other investment products attached to that symbol.
To trade stocks, choose Stock from the dropdown. Then choose Buy or Sell and enter the quantity of shares. You can choose from a customizable dropdown menu of standard quantity sizes for example, , , or or enter your own quantity.
Choose your order type and then click Submit. You can generate this Order Entry window at any time from the dropdown menu by choosing the first option, Order Entry.
In addition, if you right-click on quotes or monitors, you can quickly buy and sell the item you've selected. Advanced Options - If you click on the small Advanced button in the Order Entry box, you can include some additional directions with your order. For example, you can route your order to a specific exchange or use a routing algorithm such as the SMART router to send your order to the best location for the best execution. You can also have Interactive Brokers hide the size of your order; execute large orders in smaller, discrete chunks; or add an automatic hedging order.
If you want to see the market depth and liquidity for a stock, choose the Market Depth Level II option from the dropdown menu. Order Confirmation - After you've submitted your order, you'll get a confirmation screen with an overview of the order details and funding requirements. If everything is correct, confirm the order.
Otherwise, cancel it and fix any mistakes. For active traders who don't want to spend extra time on a confirmation screen, you can eliminate this step by clicking the check box on the lower left that says Don't Display This Message Again to activate one-click trading. Open orders can be modified or canceled before they are filled.
Click on the Trades tab for a history of executed trades or the Summary tab for another way to visualize your trading activity. Options Chain - If you're interested in buying or selling options or just want to see some quotes, click on the Option Chain button on the top right of the Order Entry box. This will give you a new window with quotes for near-the-money calls and puts for the stock ticker that was loaded. To enter an order to buy or sell an option, click on it to load it up into the Order Entry box on the main screen.
Strategy Builder - If you're planning to trade more sophisticated options strategies, such as spreads and combinations, choose the Strategy Builder link from the dropdown menu. This will open an options chain linked to a window where you can construct various complex options strategies by adding individual legs parts of a spread. You can customize your spread by changing the relative volume of each leg for example if you wanted to do a 1x2 ratio spread. Click Submit Order to enter the whole strategy as a package to buy or sell.
Here you will also be able to browse and trade any other options spread on the order book. Hover over a particular spread to get more information about it. Clicking on a spread will populate the Order Entry box with that order for you to trade. If you want to trade foreign exchange FX markets, select the FX Matrix option in the dropdown menu under the Quotes heading.
You can add additional currencies to the matrix by clicking on the wrench icon for settings. You can trade any of these currency pairs by clicking on one of them.
That will populate the Order Entry box in the Mosaic dashboard. Portfolio - To view your investment portfolio and a snapshot of its relative performance, click on Portfolio from the dropdown menu. Here you can see the daily profit and loss for your portfolio, as well as the individual holdings in your account.
Menu of Options - The monitor window is also a springboard for a ton of functionality. Right-click on a ticker to bring up a menu full of options — including trading tools, analytics, charting, and more. Performance Details - Click on the Profile button at the top of the window to open the Portfolio Performance Profile window. Portfolio Builder - Interactive Brokers has some really powerful tools for building custom portfolios that follow the strategy of your choice.
Click on Portfolio Builder from the dropdown menu to get started. With the Portfolio Builder, you can backtest your strategies, create portfolio alerts and notifications, and manage multiple strategies all in one place.
You can choose from among pre-loaded strategies or create your own. Simulated historical performance is displayed on the top left, with a sector breakdown on the top right. Below this is a detailed list and summary of the components of the proposed portfolio.
Click on the green Invest button on the top to execute the strategy based on the dollar amount that you want to dedicate to it. Click on Edit Rules to change the strategy at any point. Other buttons let you Divest from the strategy or Rebalance your portfolio to the original strategy weights with one easy click from this window. Alerts - Alerts are useful for monitoring prices and market activity while you're focused on other things.
Open an Alerts window from the dropdown menu to set up alerts based on price changes, time of day, volume spikes, and more. Build in complex logic to your alerts and even have them activate trades when triggered. The Preview will let you know exactly what the alert is programmed to do. When alerts are triggered you'll be notified on your workstation — and also by email or push alert to your mobile device.
IBot - One really cool feature is the IBot chat bot — it's still in beta but well worth trying out. Click IBot from the dropdown menu to load the chat window. Here you can enter text or speak using a microphone , and IBot will interpret your query and return the appropriate results.
You can ask for quotes, see charts, place orders, and more from IBot. Type "help" at any time in the chat box to get a list of common commands and more. Event Calendars - There are numerous corporate and government events each day in the U. Here you'll find when companies are scheduled to report earnings or go ex-dividend, or when the next federal unemployment report will be released, for example.
News - Interactive Brokers offers access to a variety of corporate and economic news and headlines.More...