Question about TOS

Hello…I am wondering if, with TOS, one can search for chart patterns. I remember years ago one could with TD, but over time I think a lot of stuff has been taken away by brokerages (I can’t even find S&P 500 classic reports or analyst notes like I used to).

Also, I have never used TOS, and am wondering…if one cannot fractionally-trade with it, can I use it to figure out which stocks might be in a good technical position and then go back over to Schwab platform to place a Stock Slice order? I was a bit intimidated by the fact that I have to clear the account to use TOS and then was reading what I needed to agree to…wasn’t sure if that locked me into using just that platform.

I’m guessing with TOS I can search for chart patterns and good swing-trade candidates, so I really want to use it, but I just want to make sure I am not agreeing to something I cannot get out of. Thanks in advance, as always…

I’ve only recently started using TOS and there are many youtube videos that are instructional and informative. What technical indicators are you looking for? OH, the TOS app allows you to look at charts on a stock, then place orders from within the app so you don’t have to jump back and forth. I actually use it on the desktop while using the Schwab app on my phone when traveling. I’m pretty sure there are some here at the fool who are experts with TOS. HTH…doc

1 Like

Hey esxokm,

Go to Stock Hacker under the Scan button and go to the “+AddFilter” button. There are two chooses to get patterns and candle patterns.


The “Study” button in the drop down brings up several choices to add searches for candle patterns. Used them sometime ago and if I remember correctly, they were reasonable, within obvious limitations.


If you click on the “Pattern” button it will add a filter with a drop down list of patterns.


Hope that helps and gets you going.

Can’t answer the fractional trade question. However, Schwab owns TOS now. I have two small HSA accounts that have already transferred to under them, but I have yet to even go to them and explore as all my other accounts are under TDA still… But it’s a third choice on my TOS sign-in. Suspect it will integrate with their trade system when it is fully transferred. I thought TDA started offering fractionals?? Good luck.

Happy New Year,


If you have used FinViz ( before and can tolerate pop-up ads, it’s a simple way to also look for patterns. Plus, you can easily add some technical and fundamental choices.


Just a thought.



Sorry, looked at your post again and you stated:

Not exactly sure what you meant by “clearing the account to use TOS.” I think you can use it for free, even use the papertrade function. If you are implying you’d have to transfer your account from Schwab to TDA, again, Schwab owns TDA and everything is transferring to under the “blue.” They have been transferring accounts already, my major accounts don’t transfer until I think March. I suspect you have access to get to TOS now if you already have a Schwab account. Contact Support and ask. This may be easier than you think.

I’ll still be partial to “Green” but then, I am also in my tractors.




There’s no need to put up with ads at FinViz, or YouTube, or any other site. Just install an ad blocker in your browser.


1 Like


Regrettably, TD doesn’t offer factional share trading (FST) , and Schwab only offers it for stocks in the SP500. But IB offers FTS, as does Robinhood and a couple other brokers. Shop around.

Also, you need to distingish between ‘analysis’ and ‘execution’. The same broker doesn’t need to offer you both on the same platform. In my humble experience, the fills at Schwab can be good, and they offer a lot of research tools. But TOS is the far superior trading platform for being able to trade off the chart and to set up OCO orders.

Also, as Lake and Doc mention, there are beaucoup tutorials on how to use and customize TOS.


1 Like

Thanks for all the replies! Extremely helpful!

In terms of what clearing the account means, last night I was about to download it (I am on Schwab, after having been transferred over from Td, and I am able to download TOS if I so choose), when a message came up saying to click to agree for my account to be cleared. In other words, I can’t download right away, I have to be approved to do so, for whatever reason. I guess it takes up to twenty-four hours to receive the go-ahead. However, there was this list of things I had to agree to, and that gave me a bit of pause.

In terms of what technical indicators I am looking for, I am mostly looking to do sort-of what Carter Worth does on CNBC/Fast Money…I will assume you know that guy…I want to take a chart, put some lines on them that essentially define the current trend, and determine if something is in an uptrend and relatively safe to buy. I will look for ascending triangles, that sort of thing, but in terms of math indicators, stuff like 50-day MA, 200-day MA, and especially volume/rel strength. I also wouldn’t mind if that study function actually gives an assessment, sort of like an AI-type answer.

I want to look at stocks that I would not mind holding if I became stuck with them. MSFT. META. GOOGL. Then I want to make sure there is an uptrend, and when they pull back, I will buy, then sell when they go back to the recent price, say a few dollars higher. To the best of my knowledge, after looking at as much as I can without downloading the platform, I think I would have to use that info and then go back to stock slice and make the trade. Since I am not really day-trading that might not be an issue (probably will never really day trade).

Thanks for that Fin Viz tip, I am going to look at that. And as I mentioned, I guess I am really searching for patterns. I am not an expert and anything as automated as possible will be helpful.

I do have a long-term Fool-built portfolio that I don’t touch (except to add to and dollar-cost-average), but I want to see if I can capture short-term money in a confirmed-rally market. So, in this particular account, I am taking some AAPL that has done well, selling off some of it, and then swing-trade the funds. I don’t really add much to this account and it has become stagnant, so I would rather place cash in the long-term one and work this one.

Now, I mentioned I will trade stocks I don’t mind getting stuck with. I will add I will venture out a bit with fractional shares on a bit more questionable ones that I nevertheless think may do well over time once the market recognizes them…PENN is a particular favorite, especially since it seems to be consolidating, if I may use that term.

I thank again everyone for these replies. And the copied images, which I will continue to look at. Appreciate the help…


Don’t have a clue who Carter Worth is.

If you want technical analysis to do AI-type answers, forget it. TA lets you know what is possibly the path forward, not absolutely. TA is not AI and AI can’t utilize TA to be definitive.

To do the simplistic decision making about charts, mark them up for yourself. Use TOS, use Stockcharts, use Barcharts, it doesn’t matter. None are going to “give” you the answer, you have to decide for yourself. It’s your money, not theirs. Do some basic research on stocked EMAs for trends, etc.

Best of luck


Thanks for that follow-up reply.

I especially appreciate the answer about something, similar to AI perhaps, giving a recommendation. If that is to be forgotten, I will do so, because I want to succeed at this.

I will take the advice about marking stuff up. I also went to finviz and have started playing around with it, that is a really good resource it seems, thanks.

That Carter Worth guy is a technical chartist who just uses trends and technicals. It’s sometimes a joke on the Fast Money CNBC show about him and fundamentals (i.e., fundamental research means nothing to him). He sometimes mentions that there is no such thing as a good or bad earnings report…only the reaction to it.

Thanks too for putting up that PENN chart. Those lines you put up on the right side, the straight solid purple ones, are ones Worth oftentimes uses when he analyzes stocks when he is on the show.

1 Like

In TOS when you are looking at a chart on a stock, on the upper right hand side you will see a parameter called patterns. If you select that, a box opens up and you can select patterns that will open automatically when you look at a stock chart…doc


then select show patterns off of that first parameter

1 Like

I get the impression your exposure and understanding of TA is just starting. It’s always tempting to find the “right program” or talking head to do it for you, but there is nothing more important than rolling up your sleeves and learning by grinding through charts yourself. But it’s always hard to know where to start.

There are hundreds of videos and sources, too many to make an absolute recommendation, but let me make a suggestion. TDA has for ages created educational videos and have live broadcasts. Schwab has absorbed that educational product and has their own. I jumped on Schwab on the web, for the first time in months and if you look near the top, they have two categories “Insights & Education” and “Courses.” Both areas can lead you to their Educational sessions on an array of general topics, including Technical Analysis. They seem simple and straightforward, but I have not watched them in toto. That may be a good start. Regardless, I’d suggest focus on “Resistance and Support” and “Trend Lines.” Those are what generate patterns.

Investopedia, Stockcharts and many others have great educational components. Someday AI will probably be able to digest and regurgitate but not yet.

By the way, you can download TOS from TDA and should be able to play with it. But you may also find it difficult as it is complicated and “loaded” with features that doesn’t make it intuitive, at least for me. For starting to draw lines and try things, is pretty straightforward. I use both.

Apologies if you already have a good understanding of the concepts, my mistake.

Who is always learning and practicing.


I second what Lakedog is saying. Investopedia is a great learning site, barcharts and stockcharts have a ton of information and TOS is complicated but there are plenty of teaching aids. For that matter stockcharts is pretty complex as well. Also, you can log in and play trade on TOS instead of really trading with money. You see the option when you log in. HTH…doc

1 Like


There’s a Buddhist proverb that’s a propos here.

“A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing.”

No matter which charting or analysis method you choose, you will be emphasizing some facts about past patterns of facts and ignoring others. And on the basis of those arbitrarily selected facts, you’ll be making a prediction about which you’ll likely be wrong 3 times out of 5.

But a profit can be turned if one’s risk management skills are superb, even with right/wrong ratios as adverse as 5% right to 95% wrong. That’s what you should focus on. (IMHO, natch) not trying to find "the best "method or guru.

HINT: There isn’t one best method of investing or trading. There’s only what one discovers in time works well enough to meet one’s own goals and lets one sleep at night.


1 Like

I have read through all these follow-up replies. Thanks again. Yes, I am new to TA as was mentioned, in the sense of really trying to make a go of it. I have done some things in the past - mostly momentum stuff via IBD - but I want to really get into the ropes here.

That makes a lot of sense about

“HINT: There isn’t one best method of investing or trading. There’s only what one discovers in time works well enough to meet one’s own goals and lets one sleep at night.”

because it seems to imply too (besides the textual level) that one must adapt and use multiple strategies depending on the circumstances. Didn’t really think of that, to be honest.

About Investopedia: surprised that was advised here, I have used that sometimes but often assumed it was mostly simplistic (I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, I just mean that it didn’t go into enough depth). But I will take this advice and use it.

Sort of on the same lines, I guess I was a bit dismissive of the TD educational videos. I will go through them.

Did some work today and raised some cash by trimming some of my firmly-in-the-green (held for a long time) AAPL. This is in my short-term acct, I do love AAPL for the long term. Purchased some MSFT and META and am in the green so far (which means nothing perhaps at this point).

One stock I am wary of but from the chart looks like it possibly may be setting up for a solid move to the short-term swinging upside…NVDA. I will continue my study this evening…Thanks again everyone…

1 Like


Sometime, pull the etymology of the expression “learn the ropes”, It comes from a very specific context, a multi-masted sailing ship. But what if one is a soldier instead? Then other skills needed to be learned. Identify the markets you want to trade and adapt accordingly.

Also, you’ve gotta decide whether to trade ‘mo’, as the IBD crowd does, or ‘mean reversion’ as does Quill and others. Also, you need to decide how --or even whether-- to blend Fundamental Analysis (FA) with Technical Analysis (TA).

Lots of choices, Lots of learning.


So help me understand. You state you want to utilize technical analysis for stock choices. Are you going for day trades? Plan to hold for a day or two? A week or two? Months?

It’s totally your choice, but are you ready to use real money? I learn better with real skin in the game also, but always try to do it with a plan and reason. Pardon my asking and this is NOT a critique, but wanting to understand, why did you invest in META and MSFT? What technically prompted you to invest at this exact point? What is your plan for holding? What is your stop loss approach?

Again, not a criticism nor critique, but looking to learn. So ignoring fundamentals, (which I do NOT totally ignore when looking at stocks, but can “ignore” for the moment with META) and looking at the chart:

What prompted you to pick it?

The first question I ask is what is the overall market doing? To be simple, I’d say it is in a bull market, in an upswing but apparently experiencing a pull back today. What is the stock doing? Simplistically, it is experiencing stacked EMA’s, with higher highs and higher lows, so in an uptrend. With quick trend lines thrown on the chart, it is in an uptrending channel and has just hit an upper channel line and appears to be pulling back towards the bottom line. But, it has just wick-pierced the 20 EMA and closed above it. Bounces off of key EMAs is not unusual. I threw some other TA things in for kicks, but don’t typically use them all. PPO is turning down with decreasing momentum, the RSI is in a drop and the DMI- and DMI+ are crossing with positive headed south. All are hints that this may continue down. Is that absolute, of course not, but the point behind TA is to mitigate risk. I would be concerned that it’s going towards the bottom channel line.

If planning to hold for the next year, probably could argue not to care and buy. If wanting to hold for a day or two, I wouldn’t. But there is no right or wrong. It’s whatever your approach and goals are and what let’s you sleep at night. I don’t look at TA as the answer, but a suggestion as to what the risks are and to help me minimize my risks. The choice is yours.

I suggest you write down what your goals and plans are. Define what you are trying to do and saying, “Earn a billion dollars” is not an answer. Mine is to not loose money and keep my equity curve going up from left to right. You need to define yours. More importantly, make sure you “plan your trade and trade your plan.” Flying by the seat of your pants is for idiots as only the lucky survive.

You do you, but I’d recommend a plan to do so. And start using it or paper trade.




A plan “to not lose money” isn’t a plan. It’s an idle hope. If markets are engaged, money will be lost. Period, sooner or later.

Yeah, yeah, my daughter ran a series of 119 trades without losing a single one. But even she knows the next one might not work out for her.

This is a plan. “I intend to cut my losses at -8% (or less) by always trailing a stop.” And actually, that is only a tiny part of a plan, for saying nothing about position-size, scaling, when to take profits, etc.

It isn’t easy write a good trading plan, and most people don’t have one. But it should answer these three questions: What? When? How much? and it should be just a single sheet of paper.


1 Like

I’m aware and actually have it organized and mapped, but I had already written a book and chose not to expand on the point for brevity. The message is simply: think about, plan and then follow your business plan.


No question about it. Your replies to esxokm have been lengthy and more than generous. But you can’t critisize his “plan” for vaguenes and then offer one that was no better.

You comment also on the merits/demerits of ‘paper-trading’. I’d agree that having no “skin in the game” teaches nothing but recklesness. Losses have to hurt, or their lesson isn’t learned. But positions don’t have to be large. A lot can be learned from trading just single shares --and even fractional shares-- if the security’s price is out-sized.

Linda Raschke, a better trader than any of us will ever be, argues for sizing positions equally. I’ve made that part of my trading plan.


1 Like