A real-time stock ticker is a program that provides a continuous stream of the prices and volumes of exchange-based stock trades. Although these tickers are called "real time," many free ones introduce a 15-minute delay. Your brokerage account may offer a stock ticker tool, or you can choose among free or fee-based tickers from financial companies, software providers and stock exchanges.
Using a Browser Plug-in
The easiest way to install a stock ticker tool is as a browser plug-in that runs on the browser's server. For example, the Stock Tracker extension plugs into Google Chrome. You'll have to select a plug-in that works with your favorite browser. Normally, the tool provider has a download button on its webpage that you click to begin the installation process. Your browser requests permission to install the tool and then starts a script or wizard that requires you to accept the terms of the tool's licensing agreement.
The Stock Tracker loads quickly and requires you to restart your browser. Once it's installed, you usually can configure a stock ticker by selecting colors, favorite stocks, news feeds and other options. The ticker automatically updates every few minutes, but you can also manually refresh if you aren't sure if you've checked it recently. Many tickers allow you to set price alerts on stocks you want to monitor.
Using Downloaded Apps
You also can get stock ticker apps that run on your desktop's CPU. Some of these applications are free, while others requires a subscription or an outright purchase. Each app provider describes how to perform the download and use the ticker. CNET has a stock ticker. In the Microsoft Store, you'll find ticker apps that not only keep you updated on your stocks, but news and other information, as well.
Utilizing Mobile Stock Tickers
Since you don't spend all day sitting at your desktop computer, you likely could benefit from a stock ticker for your favorite mobile device. Whether you own an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone, there are multiple apps that will put stock tickers right on your smartphone screen. Although these won't sit on your screen where you can see them throughout the day, you'll be able to open the app at any time and manage your portfolios, view stock tickers and more. You'll even be able to set up alerts that will notify you if anything changes with one of your stocks during the day.
Eric Bank is a senior business, finance and real estate writer, freelancing since 2002. He has written thousands of articles about business, finance, insurance, real estate, investing, annuities, taxes, credit repair, accounting and student loans. Eric writes articles, blogs and SEO-friendly website content for dozens of clients worldwide, including get.com, badcredit.org and valuepenguin.com. Eric holds two Master's Degrees -- in Business Administration and in Finance. His website is ericbank.com.