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TWS Configuration Webinar Notes


Different traders have different needs. So IB's Trader WorkstationSM (TWS) has been designed to allow for customizing TWS components to suit your trading preferences.

TWS Configuration

When you first launch the Trader Workstation, the platform opens in a single tab-based frame. You have a choice of layouts from the Mosaic pre-formatted workspace and the Classic TWS spreadsheet layout. With the release of TWS build 961, a new Layout Library was introduced with 22 new layout designs to choose from.

  • Mosaic – a pre-configured workspace with color-linked windows for intuitive, out-of-the-box usability.
  • Classic TWS – a spreadsheet for more complex orders and legacy TWS users. Quote Monitor tabs display quotes and orders in a spreadsheet format.
  • Layout Library – Use the “+” tab to view the new 22 layout designs that can be added to your workspace, or unlocked to personalize.
  • Create a new custom layout by snapping your favorite TWS tools together.

The default layouts consist of the basics you need to start trading. Use the layouts as-is or unlock and edit to make it your own. You can always add items or re-arrange as you find a need.

Each workgroup, window or panel is customizable so you have control over what to display. You can add, remove and resize tools. Use the windows group linking icon to connect tools to your selected ticker(s).

Toggle between your layouts by simply clicking each tab on the bottom of the frame.

TWS Configuration Add a Tab

Global Configuration

Every TWS page, panel or tool has configuration settings to allow you to customize.

The Global Configuration window – accessed from File > Global Configuration or anywhere you see a Configure Wrench – provides a central area to define your preferred settings. The left navigation panel shows you components that are universal to the TWS platform and includes expandable categories that let you drill down to individually configure each tool.

Look for the Wrench icon in each window’s title bar to find the applicable configuration choices for each tool/window. This flexibility lets you customize your work environment according to your trading needs.

TWS Configuration Global Configuration


To customize the basic Display settings click the "+" to expand the category selections. Information icons will provide hover help tooltips.

  • Settings – checked boxes let you indicate the features to be enabled. For example, option traders may want to enable background shading for in-the-money status. You can also tell TWS to Show the named combo strategy first in the contract description.
  • Style – lets you add grid lines, color text, or even change the platform color palette, dark, light or classic.
  • Ticker Rows – let you specify certain settings such as:
    • Use background shading to highlight high or low for current trading day.
    • Stocks that have Options can be displayed in bold, or
    • Set a Home Exchange Group to clean up your trading page by removing the repetitive listing of your most-used exchanges.
    • Specify the format for Bond quotes or whether you want to view Hi-precision Forex quotes down to 1/10 of a pip.
  • Toolbar – Classic TWS users may notice the menu and toolbar are not visible. All original functionality is still available on this streamlined system. Try using the right click menu for context sensitive selections. Or you can switch back to the original view by unchecking Simplify menu and toolbar from File > Global Configuration > Display > Toolbar.

Restore Settings

Any changes to your TWS settings are automatically saved by default to your computer each time you exit TWS. So any configuration changes, tickers added or component modules that have been opened will be visible when next logging into TWS exactly the way they appeared when you last logged off.

TWS automatically stores your configuration choices, specific to your user id in a settings file –

  • C:/Jts on a Windows pc or /Users/ JTS on a MAC.

If you've made inadvertent changes, or don't know how to undo a change – choose the File > Layout/Settings Recovery command to quickly revert to a previously saved configuration.

  • TWS saves the previous week of daily settings so you can restore trading pages and tickers from a previous session. Select MON-FRI settings file, i.e.: tws.Mon.xml to restore your settings from that previous session.

Mosaic and Layout Library

The Mosaic workspace and Layout Library designs provide a collection of interchangeable windows that give you the flexibility to add, remove, resize, reconfigure and rearrange these separate, individual components.

TWS Configuration

Layout Editor

Above the pre-formatted workspace windows is a toolbar with icons that apply to the entire workgroup – such as a Configure Wrench, expand to full screen, increase/decrease font sizes and locking/unlocking the layout editor.

  • Each workspace is "locked" as a single, grouped unit by default so you won't inadvertently close windows.
  • From the New Window Button, you can easily open other TWS features, which will float on top of the selected TWS Layout. Tip: use the pushpin icon to keep new windows on top.
  • If you want to rearrange, resize, add or remove windows click the Layout Locked icon to unlock the workspace. The green outlined workspace indicates you are in Layout Edit Mode. Resize a window by dragging its borders. Use the window title bar to reposition in the workgroup. Drag and snap edges to the window or frame borders. When satisfied, click Lock icon to exit layout edit mode.
  • Create a Custom Layout – use the "+" tab to create and name a new tab where you can add, size and snap together your favorite tools from the New Window button. Choose the feature, drag borders and size to fit the workspace. Be sure to lock the layout to complete.

Individual windows all contain a Configure Wrench for choices specific to that feature. For example the configuration wrench for the Monitor window opens to display all available market data fields. The News window Configure Wrench lets you filter individual news feeds, specify topic, or filter headlines to a ticker, portfolio or Watchlist.

Both the Monitor and News windows also let you add more tabs within the window. Click the "+" tab and select from the multiple formats. Or add a Social Sentiment news tab and configure for a particular ticker, items in your Watchlist or your portfolio holdings.

Trading via Mosaic Supported for Advisors

TWS Configuration

Advisors and other multi-account types have full trading and share allocation capabilities in the Mosaic workspace. The Mosaic Order Entry window for Advisor accounts includes the ability to specify the applicable Account Groups or Allocation Profiles when placing orders.

TWS Configuration

You can also add the Allocation and Method fields to the Order Entry window with the Configuration wrench.

For more information on creating Pre-Trade Allocations profiles and setting up Account Groups, please refer to TWS User Guide.

Classic TWS

TWS Configuration

The Classic TWS spreadsheet tab displays expanded quote details along with Position and P&L fields in the quote line for real-time position information wherever a held ticker is displayed. Available market data fields can be added with the Configure Wrench.

Order Entry

Unlike the Mosaic interface with a separate Order Entry window, Classic TWS uses Quick Click Order entry from the Bid/Ask prices. Multiple orders can be created and managed from the Quote Monitor spreadsheets.

  • Quick Click Order entry uses customizable Presets throughout the Classic TWS interface. You can instantly create orders with a left click on the Bid or Ask price of an interactive quote line. Each order row appears directly beneath the market data row with default order values that can be modified before transmitted. Open orders appear on the Pending tab, as well as directly beneath the interactive data row for that ticker.
  • To instantly create orders use a left click on the Bid to create a sell order or left click on the Ask price of an interactive quote line to create a Buy order.
  • Each order row appears directly beneath the market data row with default order values that can be modified before transmitted. Open orders appear directly beneath the market data row for that ticker and on the Pending tab – where you can see all open orders.
  • The dual column headers at the top of each tab identify the market data and order row fields.
  • Additional fields can easily be added or removed with a right click on the column headers.
  • In addition to adding Quote Monitors, pre-formatted layouts, can be selected from the formats listed on the "+" tab – for example BasketTrader, Advance Market Scanners and more.

TWS Configuration
  • Columns are sort able with a left click on the column header. First click is ascending order, second descending order, third click returns to original sort.
    • Portfolio tab - Left click on the Contract column header in either Mosaic or Classic TWS to run through the "Group By" cycle which includes sorting by asset class, by expiry, alphabetically, etc. Right Click on the column header or to view the various "Group By" elections.
  • Create Group Header rows with a right click on blank rows to help you organize tickers into groups on a single Quote Monitor. The header keeps the group together if you choose to auto-sort on the page by column header.
    • If you drag the header to a Watchlist or another trading page, all tickers under the header will be dragged with it.
    • Additionally, several of the P&L columns, including the Market Value, P&L L, Realized P&L and Unrealized P&L columns will be totaled for all positions within a group and displayed on the Header row.
  • Hotkeys – use Ctrl+H for a list of hotkeys or to create/customize your own.
  • Hover Help – rest your cursor on any icon throughout the platform for descriptions to appear in a tooltip.

Order Presets

Order Presets expand the usefulness of default order settings by allowing you to create multiple named order strategies by asset class or by specific ticker. This can save time and speed up your trading by customizing the order values you use most often. Right click on any ticker row and choose Configure Order Presets. Or access through Global Configuration > Presets.

Preset values will populate an order row when you initiate a trade. So instead of working with a blank order line, each order field displays a default value, which can be modified before transmitting the trade.

Order presets are laid out in a three-level hierarchy.

  • Top-level preset designated with a crown icon contains settings that apply to all order types in all asset classes. Settings at the top level can be changed for a specific asset class or on a specific ticker.
  • Instrument level – all tickers in that asset class will use the Active preset (designated by the green dot), allowing you to create different stock presets and separate option, futures or forex preset values. Instrument level presets will populate an order row when a ticker of that instrument type is selected.
  • Ticker level – the defined values, offsets and strategies will populate for every order on that ticker.

Each sub-level inherits the settings and default values from the upper level preset. You can see this when you create an order in TWS. The order row will populate with a Day Limit order for 1 contract or 100 shares at the current bid/ask price.

Select the instrument type first, to create separate default values for stocks, futures or forex trades.

Primary Order Section

The values you set will pre-populate when you create an order for the specified asset class. These can be modified on a per-order basis.

  • In the Primary Order section choose the values to be used as order defaults.
  • The values entered are for Buy side orders and will be flipped for Sell orders.
  • Because TWS uses active market quotes, you can also define an offset to be used, for example to create a limit order at 2 cents below the current ask price use -0.02 offset.
  • Enter a negative value to affect a minus offset.
  • Offsets can be set by the actual amount, by percentage or by ticks.

TWS Configuration

Instrument level

Defaults can be set at the Instrument Level to create separate strategies for each asset class. The ... Green ball indicates the Active order default for all tickers of that instrument type.

Timing – set the time in force for your trades. Some futures contracts trade in a virtual 24 hour market, to participate select Allow order to be activated outside regular trading hours.

Size – set the number of contracts, shares, or specify an amount.

Use the Preset button in left panel to create new additional strategies.

  • Fields are context-sensitive based on your selections and will activate or be grayed out based on your selections

TWS Configuration

Propagate Settings

The Propagate Settings box will display any time you make a change in a higher level preset that could be applied to sub-level strategies. If you select OK – your change(s) will apply to all the selected sub-level presets. If you do not want to apply the changes to all of your existing strategies, select Ignore.

For example: The top level preset uses $1.00 for Stop Price as well as Target order – so when you create an order and attach a bracket the target profit limit is $1 above the parent and the protective stop is $1 below the parent limit price. Presets created at the instrument level will 'inherit' these settings, which can be changed individually.

Precautionary Settings

This section of the Order Presets page includes system default limits in both the Size Limit and Total Value Limit fields.

  • The system-defined Size Limit is Default Size x 5.
  • Total Value Limit set by the system is 100,000 USD or equivalent.

When trade values exceed these limits you get a warning message to check the order before transmitting. This helps prevent mistyped order values. You can override the warning and transmit, or set your own precautionary limits, or disable by entering zero in these fields.

Please note while you can bypass these precautionary settings, that IB will reject trades if the order price is too far away from NBBO (currently 10% for stocks; 20% for options).

Apply Preset Strategies

When multiple strategies are created, you can select a different named strategy from the Preset field in an interactive quote line in the Classic TWS spreadsheet before you create an order row.

  • In the Quote Monitor, Customize column layout to add the Preset column on a trading window.
  • Then before you create an order row, click in the Preset field and select from the strategies you named for the instrument you are trading.

Optimized Trading tools

TWS Configuration

Trader Workstation gives you more control over the workspace, with the Optimized order entry modules designed to meet specific trading needs – such as for options, forex, spreads, algos etc. Look for the Configuration wrench in each component feature for the available choices.

Be sure to check the website menu Trading | Desktop Trading | Trading Tools for a description of all the optimized features available on the TWS Platform.