GETTING AROUND IN OPTONS HOUSE (“OH”):
(This summarizes the on-line manual and tutorials)
You don’t have to understand this immediately (you will after reading the explanation below), but after viewing the information about this program, I figured this out: There are two ways to use the program once you’ve programmed some stocks.
The first is to use the main page, with its buttons and widgets (the side boxes on the main page). This is a “manual” way of doing things. If you don’t have any data in the program or want to take some more unusual action, this is the way to do it.
The second, far easier way, to navigate the program is using what OH calls the “actionable blue links” that appear after you’ve programmed a stock trade, alert or the like. (These are really just like the blue “hyperlinks” you find on web pages that take you somewhere else if you double-click on them!) If you’ve already created a link, whether it’s in a widget, or in the Orders or Positions sections of the Account tab (discussed below), and it’s blue, all you have to do is click on that link to get a menu of choices about what you can do with that stock selection. Same for the Chart for that stock, click on it to instantly create an Order. We’ll discuss this more below, but only after we go through the manual process:
NAVIGATING THE MAIN PAGE:
The “Main” or “Home” or “Landing” (meaning that’s where you “Land” when you open the program) screen is called the “Platform” by Options House. Keep this in mind when reading the help definitions if you go to them. I don’t call it that because it’s not useful, it’s just the “Main” page.
The bar below the Options House logo is called the “Universal Quite Bar” (I’ll call it the “UQB”)
Clicking on it, you can enter a stock name or symbol to obtain information about a stock. When you do, the filtered information for that stock will appear to the right of the stock name along the right on the UQB. If you click on the box to the top right of the screen, you can enter a new symbol in the Link box at the top left to research a new symbol. (Don’t know why you can’t erase the symbol you typed on the UQB, but that’s the way they tell you to do more quotes).
To Buy or Sell a stock, you click on the Sell icon (red box with an S) or Buy icon (Blue box with a B), both of which are on the UQB. You’ll then get a drop-down menu with choices, like buying, advanced settings, setting alerts or adding to a watch list on the Buy menu.
To Buy a stock, clicking on the Buy item on the menu will generate a “Smart Order Ticket” which is the way that buying is initiated. The ticket can be initiated from a number of places on the screen. For example, by also clicking on the middle blue button at the bottom that says “Order Ticket” or by right-clicking on any blue link (“actionable blue link” as they say) on the page.
The boxes on the right of the screen are actually called “Widgets”. They are components that show things like Quotes, Watchlists, Hotlists, etc. which can later be customized as you require. You can also click on the “-” or “+” symbols on the left top of the green bars to compress each one (if you don’t want to see them) or open them up later as required.
More about the Platform (i.e. Home) page: If you go to the green “Quick Launch” button at the lower left of the screen, you have a number of options. Mainly, you can open any of the component boxes on the (“Platform”) screen in an individual “pop up” mode. You do this because whatever changes you make in pop-up mode do not change the information in that box, so when you close it, the component screen in the Platform page remains unchanged.
The lower right of the main screen also has several buttons. The Manage Account Settings button in the middle allows you to make changes or set various ways of using your trading account. The right button “Settings” can make changes in the program that will be universally applied, things like defaults for your Order Ticket and Options Chain, among other things. Help is pretty helpful, even containing some “walk-throughs” so it’s better than many help buttons I’ve seen.
Going back to the top of the main screen, just below the UQB, there are various tabs: Account, Options, Research, Tools and Charts. The Account tab, for example, lets you customize your home screen so that it includes only those boxes that you really need. You click on a layout (how you want the boxes or windows to be arranged), then select the actual component boxes you want. After you’ve used this for a while and get to know what you want, the home screen can be pretty much customized as you see fit. There are a lot of ways to do this, but leave it for later.
The Options tab lets you trade “single leg options” (I think that’s their shorthand for one at a time, rather than groups, as you can if you use other methods, see below) and has advanced options that can be selected to customize your view if you have specific requirements. The Research tab will, of course, provide you with information for the specific stock selected in your current quote search, as selected in the Symbol box in the UQB. The Tools tab has a suite of programmed applications that may or may not be useful. The Charts tab provides a more visual indicator of stock information, and it can be customized by the toolbar on the left by type of chart, indicators, colors, etc. just like AIQ or other type charts.
On the Platform (main) page, clicking on the Account tab, you will see your screen divided into thirds with a green line representing the header for each:
The top third of the screen shows you your Account Status and information.
The middle third shows your Positions.
The bottom third shows your Orders.
To execute a trade: There are a few ways to do this –
- Using the UQB, you can go to the Buy button to quickly place a standard or advanced trade by using the drop-down menu after entering a symbol in the bar. Click the Quote link, review the drop-down menu, then select the type of trade you want to place.
- Or go to the specific security in the Positions section of the page, right click on that security (if it’s blue, and it should be), then select from the resulting menu.
- You can also trade from the sidebar widgets, those boxes on the right of the screen. Select a quote and right click after that for a menu. You’ll note that the other widget boxes will have other information about the stock that you can view while deciding about placing the trade.
- If you go to the Options tab (second from left) at the top of the screen, you can also trade, by clicking on either the Bid or Ask and use the resulting pop-up menu to create an order ticket. If you use this type of process, you can also add additional “legs” by clicking on more options to add to the same order.
- Finally, there’s always the blue “Order Ticket” button at the bottom of the Options tab, that will let you open a blank order ticket that you can fill in from scratch. And you can let it remain open until you’re ready to place an order.
- But read below, you can also immediately open a trade ticket while viewing a chart.
A LITTLE ABOUT CHARTS: Go to the Charts tab –
They claim that their charts are essentially real-time and fully integrated and streaming into the program.
The view can be customized several ways: If you are viewing a stock chart, you can quickly open a trade by clicking anywhere on the line to open a trade ticket. Right click to select an advanced order.
The Charting Toolbar is the group of black boxes on the left middle of the Charts screen. The top tool is for overlays and technical indicators. You can also customize the color and other attributes for the various indicators, the settings for which will appear at the top of the screen for selection. The second, Pointer, tool lets you click and drag to select a highlighted part of a chart to view a segment of chart data when you release the mouse button. The third or Hand tool is what lets you drag the chart left or right while it will continue to update itself in real time. You hold down your left mouse button and then drag to the right or left or scroll up and down. The Chart Type Selector button allows you to change the Standard View between types like candle, line, mountain or OHLC. Finally, the bottom button lets you select time intervals to suit your trading strategy. It’s not AIQ, but it’s not bad either.
THE ALERTS FEATURE: This is found at the top right of the home screen, a gray button, next to Messages.
Clicking it opens an Alert Calendar window with the three basic categories of alerts you can create: Price, Account & Order and Follow alerts.
To create a Price Alert, you don’t have to go to the Alert Button. It’s easier and more direct to simply go to any “actionable blue link” and then select Create Alert from the resulting menu. When you create an alert that way, the alert window is “pre-populated,” i.e. filled in for you already. The button is useful if you are setting an alert from scratch. Either way, once an alert is created, it will show up in the active alerts widget box on the right of your main screen. Clicking on the Triggered button (as opposed to the Active button) on the Alert Center allows you to see a history of alerts that have already been delivered, useful for re-creating another alert.
Account & Order Alerts are for triggering alerts based on the percentage change in your account value or account P/L and the like. Follow Alerts, which OptionsHouse claims to be a unique feature, allows you to track and receive symbol specific alerts on a range of news items (i.e. ratings, earnings, dividends). You can create this by clicking the Following gray button on the UQB once you have entered a stock symbol at the far left and the UQB displays the index information. You can also create a new alert in the Alert Center. There’s also a “dynamic” follow button which you can select, which automatically follows all of the stocks listed in the Positions section of your Account tab. That could be kinda useful.
Once you’re created an alert, you’ve still got to select a way to receive it. To do this, go to the Alert Delivery tab in the Alert Center. You can select from Desktop (your computer), text, e-mail or Mobile App (you have to set up your cell phone as a device; it sends you a text, but it’s not through Twitter). The Settings section will let you set up and fine tune this stuff.
Now that you’ve read through this summary, go back to the GENERALLY introduction and see what I mean when I say that, once you start using the program and have entered stocks, positions, alerts and the like into the list, you really only have to click on the blue hyperlinks to get an action menu to do what you want. But you had to go through the process manually to understand what the menu means, especially since you probably haven’t entered any stock information yet.
After you’ve read through this, let’s talk.