Front end for active equities trading on IB

Discussion in 'Trading Software' started by johnsimmons, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. Hi, I've just signed up on IB and tried their TWS. The platform it self is great all rounder, alot of features but its really not for an active equities trader, thats coming from lightspeed platform.

    There is a few issues I have with TWS, I hope you guys can help me out and give me some solutions. Active trading equities I would use "Market Depth" or "ISW" on TWS.

    Issues on Market Depth:

    1) I can't sort the MM box by bid and ask size. On lightspeed, for a certain price level, the bid/ask size is sorted from big to small. eg:

    182 nsda 108.96 103 arca 108.97
    60 arca 108.96 96 edax 108.97
    82 nsda 108.95 45 nsda 108.96

    IB's Market Depth
    60 arca 108.96 96 edax 108.97
    182 nsda 108.96 103 arca 108.97
    82 nsda 108.95 45 nsda 108.96

    2) Time and Sales - I can't see who did what at what price. On lightspeed I can see price,size and which "venue" but IB does not give this option. This is very important feature to me otherwise whats the point in looking at the T&S.

    3) Linking MM,chart,and T&S. I know the ISW, integrates the chart and MM box, but its not very configurable. The Chart is in between the Bid and Ask box. Thats just ridiculous, I trade mainly off the level II and having the bid and ask levelII split so far apart, I would have to widen my eyes or keep moving my eyes.
    The T&S is not linked to Market depth or ISW, meaning if I switch ticker, I would have to go manually switch in the T&S as well. I really don't understand this design. On lightspeed, I have 2 MM box. In each of the MM box, there is bid,ask and T&S. All nice and close together so I can see what is going on without moving my eyes, unless I am moving my eyes to see the 2nd MM box or charts or whatever. The T&S is linked to which ever ticker I change to. Also multiple charts can be linked to the MM box, so I can have 1min,5min charts linked to one MM box and when I change ticker it all changes as well.

    4) Order entry and hotkeys: There is no faster way to trade equities then the keyboard. On lightspeed, its hotkeys galore. I can press a hotkey and small limit order box pops up and I can change size, venue, price by just just pressing any keys I choose. IB hotkey is hopeless.

    I've tried looking for 3rd party front end specifically for trading equities and I still can't find one. Do you guys have any recommendations?

    For those who is thinking about active day trading equities on TWS, think again. There is platforms designed specifically for active equities trading. eg: lightspeed,graybox,laser,REDIplus.

    TWS is great for all in one and you can trade alot of products, but active trading equities its a disappointment. If I can't find any good front end, I may just leave IB as my swing trading account. Thanks.
  2. how many trades a day do you average? this will help determine your needs using IB.
  3. you are wrong on point #4.

    hotkeys are fine.

    also , I'm not quite sure how any platform can compete with black box traders , hft, and the fact that any manual trade is ALWAYS going to be behind the computers , unless you are just getting in and out at pre determined prices.
  4. Take a look at Zero Line Trader.
  5. Willbel


    Take a look at Button Trader which is specifically designed as a front end for Interactive Brokers. Go to and view their tutorial video which is excellent.
  6. Cdntrader: I don't see how the volume I do determines whether I should be using IB. This is a platform issue I am raising, obviously the reason I setup an IB account is because it offers one stop for all markets and good rates. Lightspeed rates are not too bad either and negotiable with volume, and I'm sure its the same with other active equities trading brokers and prop firms.

    stock777: I may be wrong with the hotkeys, need to spend a bit more time on it. Yes, it is harder now with algos trading, but they are not as smart as what people think they are, trade enough and you will notice them and their shenanigans. Thats why a good MM box and good data is important to me.

    darnelds and Willbel: This is about active trading equities. The front end you mention is designed for futures.
  7. nasdorq


    I realize the thread is 6 months old, I am also looking for a decent front end for equity trading with IB. I agree with John, pulling up symbols quickly and scalping with hotkeys is more difficult with the current layout. If anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear. Or John perhaps you found something?

  8. NinjaTrader_Ray

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