Investing in stocks might become less of a gamble if you had access to the same tools and information experienced traders use. StrategyDesk and thinkorswim are two investment analytical tools available to clients of online brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. StrategyDesk is a trading tool TD Ameritrade introduced in 2007. Thinkorswim was acquired by the company when it purchased Thinkorswim Group Inc., in January 2009.
StrategyDesk is a stand-alone Windows computer application that TD Ameritrade clients could download and install on their personal computers. StrategyDesk let clients test different investing strategies using current and historical data online. The application can produce hypothetical trading charts, place orders and let you see your potential gains or losses without risking any real money. StrategyDesk requires at least an 800 MHz Pentium III computer, 256 megabytes of RAM, an Internet connection and Windows 2000 to run. Users of Macintosh or Linux systems can run StrategyDesk in Windows virtual machines.
StrategyDesk is not on TD Ameritrade's current list of online investor tools. If you search TD Ameritrade's website, however, you will find links to older versions of StrategyDesk manuals and an online guide. There is also a link to download and install the software. StrategyDesk v3.6 is the most recent version of the software. While StrategyDesk is free to download, you can't use the software at all without an TD Ameritrade account.
Thinkorswim is a suite of investment tools owned and developed by the TD Ameritrade division thinkorswim. The stand-alone desktop version of thinkorswim is called thinkDesktop. ThinkDesktop lets you trade, review orders, check your current position, produce charts of stock performance, track your deposits and withdrawals and see how much you've paid in commissions. As with StrategyDesk, an Internet connection to TD Ameritrade lets you test investment scenarios using historical and current stock price information.
Although StrategyDesk is still used by TD Ameritrade clients, the company is actively developing and promoting the thinkorswim family of applications as the premiere trading tools for their customers. ThinkDesktop runs on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Mac OS X. It is possible for Linux, UNIX and Solaris users to run thinkDesktop using Wine -- a Windows compatibility layer for Linux and Unix operating systems. The thinkorswim website offers video tutorials to help users learn to use and get the most out of thinkorswim applications. Finally, unlike StrategyDesk, thinkorswim applications can run on iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and other mobile device with a compatible web browser.
Allen Bethea has written articles on programming, web design,operating systems and computer hardware since 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and AAS degrees in office technology, mechanical engineering/drafting and internet technology. Allen has extensive experience with desktop and system software for both Windows and Linux operating systems.