Instructions For Using TSim+
Before you start TSim+, you must have IBs Trader Workstation package running and logged into an account. If you don't have your own account available, you can use the demo account (username "edemo", password "demouser"), but note that the prices displayed will bear little or no resemblance to the real world (the best time to use the demo account is during US market hours).
You must also ensure that you have the correct version of IB API installed - click to download it here. You must then tell TWS to allow TSim+ to connect to it by going to its "Configure" menu, selecting "API", and ensuring that the "Enable ActiveX and Socket Clients" option is checked. You need only do this once.
Run the TSim+ application from the Start menu. TWS will ask you if you will accept the incoming connection attempt - click Yes.
All being well, you should now have a TSim+ screen in front of you similar to this (although with no orders shown initially):
A description of what everything does follows.
Market Data: This shows prices for the symbol you are currently viewing. You can pick the symbol you wish to view and 'trade' from the dropdown list. If you use eSignal you can also link TSim+ to a chart for automatic symbol changing (see Follow eSignal). If you are trading US Stocks, you can use Stock Symbol Entry mode. You can change the size of the text used in the Market Data area by right clicking on it. By default, if either the Bid or Ask price is the Last traded price, this is highlighted; this feature can be switched off from the right-click popup menu too ("Highlight Last"). It is also possible to change the colour used for UpTicks and DownTicks, see Customising Colours
Trading Buttons: There are three sets of trading buttons:
Classic - As shown in the screenshot above. These are the original TSim buttons, and allow you to place Market orders. If the currently selected symbol is a Futures contract, the buttons will buy and sell in lots of 2 contracts, 1 contract, or the specified quantity which can be 1 - 10. If you select a Stock symbol, the buttons change to trade in sizes of 1000, 500, or the specified quantity which can be 100 - 1000.
Note that with all simulated Market orders in TSim+, to make the trading experience more realistic there is a small delay between hitting the button and the trade being 'executed'. The delay is configurable (see Settings).
Advanced - These buttons allow you to place Limit, Stop and Stop Limit orders as well as Market orders. There are four buttons pre-configured to enter a Limit order at the current Bid or Ask. The rightmost two buttons action depends on the option you select; if you choose Limit, Stop or Stop Limit then you must specify a price in the price box. You can quickly set the price to the current Bid or Ask by clicking the appropriate buttons underneath. You can use the Up and Down arrows to change the price by the tick size for the selected symbol. Of course, you can also just type a price into the box! Stop Limit orders are stop orders that become Limit orders once the Stop price has been hit, as opposed to standard Stop orders which become market orders once hit. Thus for Stop Limits you must specify a Limit offset as a number of ticks. If you specify an offset of 0, the Stop Limit order can execute only at the Stop price specified. The higher the offset, the greater the potential slippage you are prepared to accept, but also the greater the chance of getting a fill.
For all trades from the Advanced tab, you must select a quantity from the drop down list. For Futures contracts the list will run from 1 - 10, and for Stocks from 100 - 1000. You can also type any other quantity into this box.
The Close All Positions button will, as you might expect, place the required Market orders to exit any positions you have open.
Custom - These buttons can be configured to place a variety of Market or Limit orders. For more details on configuring them, see Custom Trading Buttons.
Position: This grid displays a position summary of all symbols you have traded in the current TSim+ session. You can see the number of stocks / contracts currently held, Open P&L updated in real time, Closed P&L, and the commission charges associated. You can elect to view only symbols that you have open positions in by selecting the "Open Positions" option from the View menu. You can resize the columns in the Position grid - move the mouse pointer between columns headings, click and drag to resize.
Orders: Displays all orders for this session of TSim+. Orders are colour coded, the default colours as follows:
Buy Orders are in Green Text
Sell Orders are in Red Text
The status of the order is also colour coded:
Pending Orders (ie Stop orders which have not yet been filled) have a White background
Filled Orders have a Blue background
Cancelled Orders have a Yellow background
These colours can be changed to anything you like - see Customising Colours.
Stop Limit orders are shown partially filled once the Stop price has been hit, and entirely filled once the actual order is filled.
You can make the order list smaller by not displaying Cancelled or Filled orders - again use the options on the View menu to do this. Orders are time stamped on entry and fill. The grid also shows Order Price, Fill Price, and the Open Quantity.
You can cancel or modify pending orders at any time by clicking on them to select them, then right clicking and selecting "Cancel" or "Change" from the popup menu.
You can also cancel all pending orders by selecting Cancel All from this menu. The BreakEven (+n Ticks) can be used to quickly move a Stop order to break even - this option is available only on AutoStop orders, which are described later in these instructions. You can specify in the Settings screen a number of additional ticks to move the Stop price when using this option (useful for covering commissions!).
In the modify order screen. the quantity buttons will change according to whether you are trading a stock or futures contract. The "1/2" button will half the currently set quantity. The up/down buttons will move the price one tick per click. You can also change the Trail settings for Stop orders, whether they were initially created as trailing stops or not. If you move the Modify Order window, it will open in it's last position next time you use it.
From version 2.2 of TSim+, you can also enable one-click order modification buttons from the Settings screen. When enabled, these buttons appear at the left of each order. They may not all be available for every order, depending on the order type and status:
The buttons are as follows:
M Modify Order. This brings up the Modify Order window shown above.
X Cancels a pending order.
+ Increase the order price of a pending Stop, Limit, or Stop Limit order by 1 tick
- Decrease the order price of a pending Stop, Limit, or Stop Limit order by 1 tick
= Move Stop price to BreakEven (+ pre-configured number of ticks) - pending AutoStop orders only.
Status Bar: This shows the following information (from left to right):
- Local time
- Time in configurable timezone 1 (see Settings below)
- Time in configurable timezone 2
- Countdown timer. This is for timing bars on your chart. To synchronise with your chart, double click the timer as soon as a new bar opens. (See Settings section below to find out how to set the timer value)
- Next alarm time (see Alarms below for more information)
- Last action (eg: bought or sold)
More button: Clicking this button expands the TSim+ window to show additional features.
Auto Stop / Target Options
These options allow you to have TSim+ automatically attach Stop and Limit (target) orders to each position you open. From version 2.2 of TSim+, these settings are sent individually with every order and do not apply globally. Thus it is possible, for example, to send an order with an Automatic Stop Limit and Target set, then a separate order with only a simple trailing stop and no target, and so on.
Use Stop: Checking this box causes TSim+ to automatically send a Stop order once your order is filled. In the case of partial fills TSim+ sends a Stop order as soon as the first part of the order is filled, and updates the Stop order quantity automatically as the rest of the order is subsequently filled. The Stop order will remain in the Orders list as pending until either filled or cancelled. If you manually close the position, the associated Stop order will automatically cancel. If you partially close your position, the quantity of the Stop order will be updated accordingly. You can cancel the stop order, or change it's price by clicking the order line to select it, then right clicking and selecting "Cancel" or "Change", or by using the optional one-click buttons as described above. Note that if you change a Stop order, presently TSim+ does not check the new price against the current price and thus it is possible to stop yourself out of the position immediately! Stop orders are triggered by the "Last" price (ie the market has to trade at your stop price). Stop orders are also subject to the configurable delay in order to simulate real market conditions (in Sim mode only).
When you set the stop offset amount, it is saved for the symbol you are currently viewing. Thus you can for example set a stop offset of 15 points for a trade on the YM, change symbol to a stock such as KLAC, and put in an appropriate offset for that symbol of 0.20 (ie 20 cents), and then next time you go back to view the YM the stop offset will return to 15. Initial offset amounts for each symbol are configured when you add the symbol to TSim+ (see Setting Up Symbols).
Stop Limit: Checking this box causes the AutoStop order to be sent as a Stop Limit; as described earlier, you must specify a Limit offset for such orders.
Trail: Checking this box will cause Stop orders that are sent automatically, to be Trailing Stops. As the price moves from your entry, TSim+ will trail the stop by the specified offset. If you no longer want your Stop order to trail, you can switch it off using the Modify Order popup screen as described above You can also use the Modify Order screen to make a non-trailing Stop order trail (including those Stop orders you send yourself) and to change the offset amount for existing trailing stops. Stops are trailed based on the Last traded price. This setting is saved for each symbol you have configured.
Use Target: Similar to the Use Stop option, checking this box will cause TSim+ to automatically send a target Limit order when your order is filled. Again, closing the original order will cancel the associated target Limit order. If you use automatic Stop and Limit orders together, either one being filled will cause the other to be cancelled. Again, you can modify a target order by clicking on it to select it, then right clicking and selecting "Cancel" or "Change", or by using the one-click buttons if you have enabled them.
As with automatic stops, the target offset amount is saved for each symbol.
Annotate Logfile: You can add text to the trade log file at any time by entering it here and clicking the Add button (or pressing [Enter]). There is a limit of 255 characters per note. Once added to the file, the text is removed from the TSim+ screen. Logfiles are stored in the TSim+ program folder, which by default is "c:\program files\tsimplus". They are plain text and can be opened and printed with any text editor such as Windows notepad.
Performance Figures: The figures here relate to closed trades only, and show the number of wins, losses, and percentages. Users of previous versions of TSim+ will notice that the average win / loss amounts have been removed, and this is because TSim+ now allows you to trade multiple symbols at the same time and as such the figures would be meaningless.
Performance figures are written to the logfile at the end of the session (ie when you close TSim+). P&L details for all symbols traded in the session are also written out to the logfile on exit.
Additional configuration options can be accessed by selecting "Settings" from the File menu, or by pressing F4. There are three tabs on the screen. All settings are saved and will apply each time you run TSim+. The currently selected symbol is also saved and will be used as the default next time you start the application.
Order Execution Delay: Specifies the delay in 10ths of a second, between hitting the Buy / Sell button (for Market orders), and the order being 'executed', thus more realistically simulating real trading conditions. This delay also applies to Stop and Target orders once triggered. Obviously this only applies to Simulated orders!
New Logfile Each Session: The TSim+ logfile is called "TsimLog
Verbose Logfile: By default, only trades and performance figures are logged to the text format log file. Checking this option causes additional information to be recorded. If you experience difficulties with TSim+ it is recommended you enable Verbose Logging and attach your logfile when you email for support.
TWS Connection: By default TSim+ tries to connect to IB's Trader Workstation (TWS) software on the same PC that it is being run on. If you are working in a networked environment, it is possible to run TWS on one PC and TSim+ on another. Specify the IP address of the PC running TWS here. Note you may need to configure any firewall to allow the connection to be made. You can also specify the socket port that TSim+ makes a connection on. By default, this port is 7496 which is the default in TWS. If you want to run multiple copies of TSim+ connecting to multiple instances of TWS on the same PC, you can change the port on one copy of TSim (each copy will have to be installed in a separate folder).
Stop Trigger: Stop orders in Sim mode are triggered by the Last price. In order to prevent "rogue" trades that go off well outside of the market from triggering Stop orders, you can specify the number of consecutive trades at or beyond the Stop price that are required to trigger the Stop order. This is similar to the "Double Last" stop method offered by IB. TSim+ allows you to specify a number up to 9. Note this relates to Sim mode only. Example: With a setting of "2", if you have a Stop Sell order in at 98.05, the following sequence of Last prices would not trigger the order : 98.06 / 97.00 / 98.06 / 98.05 / 98.06. However, with the same setting of "2", this sequence of Last prices would trigger the Stop : 98.06 / 98.05 / 98.04
Break Even Stop: Specifies an additional number of ticks to move the Stop price when using the "BreakEven" option on the order modify menu or one-click option as described above. This may be desirable if you want to quickly move a stop order to break even plus enough ticks to ensure you have covered your commission costs should the stop be hit. A setting of "0" will cause the stop price to be moved to exactly break even.
Limit Order Fill Mode: In simulation mode, you can choose how TSim+ fills Limit orders. Optimistic mode (which is the default setting) will fill orders when the price reaches your Limit price. Pessimistic mode requires that the price trades at least one tick past your Limit price. If testing a new trading system, Pessimistic mode is recommended - err on the side of caution! In both cases, the Last price triggers the fill, not the Bid or Ask price.
eSignal Path: If you have eSignal installed, the "Follow eSignal" option will be enabled on the Tools menu. TSim+ assumes that eSignal is located in c:\program files\esignal, but if it is somewhere different you can specify the path here - to do so click the browse button ("...") and locate the file "winsig.exe" in your eSignal folder.
Display & Sounds
Timezones: You can set up two timezones, the clocks for which appear in the status bar on the bottom of the main TSim+ window.
Countdown Timer: The countdown timer also appears in the main status bar. You can set any value up to 59 minutes and 59 seconds. The timer starts as soon as TSim+ is run. To restart the timer any time, double click it.
Order Grid Buttons: Enables or disables the one-click order modification buttons.
Sounds: Enables or disables audio alerts on certain actions. The sounds are stored as standard Windows ".wav" files. Default sounds are included in the TSim+ installation, but you can change them for your own files by replacing them (the files are store in the TSim+ program folder which by default is "c:\program files\tsimplus").
Countdown Timer: Plays a sound each time the countdown timer reaches 0. The file played is called "countdown.wav".
Limit Order Hit: Plays the wav file "limitfill.wav" when a Limit order is filled.
Stop Order Hit: Plays the wav file "stopfill.wav" when a Stop order or Stop Limit order is filled.
Trailing Stop Moved: Plays the wav file "trailing.wav" when a trailing stop order is moved.
See the Automation page for details of these settings.
The Alarms screen is accessed by selecting "Alarms" from the File menu, or by pressing F3:
Alarms allow you to set up a list of important times which you may wish to avoid trading near, for example, times when major economic reports are due. A full list of all such reports for the week ahead can be found on our own Calendars & Market Data page. You should set up the list of alarms at the start of each trading day. If you close TSim+, any remaining alarms will be saved, and applied next time you run the application. You cannot set an alarm for a time in the past. Alarms are set in 24 hour clock format. Once an alarm has triggered, it is removed from the list. The time of the next alarm due is always shown on the main TSim+ screen in the status bar.
To add an alarm to the list, enter the alarm Time, and a Name for the alarm, then press [Enter] or click Add. You can add up to 10 alarms.
Alarm Actions: Each alarm will cause an alert message to be displayed a certain number of minutes before the alarm time. Enter the number of minutes in the box provided.
Prevent Trading: If you check this option, once an alarm has been alerted to you the Buy and Sell buttons will be disabled until the specified number of minutes after the alarm time, thus preventing you from trading. If you have any positions open, the buttons will not be disabled. So for example, if you set an alarm for 15:00, a 3 minute warning. and check the disallow box, setting "minutes after" to 1, at 14:57 you will receive an alert and assuming you have no open orders, the trading buttons will be disabled until 15:01.
If the trading buttons have been disabled by an alarm and you need to re-enable them early, opening the Alarms screen and un-checking the Disallow Trading box will achieve this.
You can delete an alarm from the list by clicking on it, then right clicking and selecting "Delete".
To make any changes to the list of symbols shown in the Market Data area, choose "Edit Symbols" from the Tools menu, or press F9. This will open the symbol editor:
All existing symbols will be listed. To modify one of these, double click on it to bring up the details, make any changes necessary, and click "Save".
You can add new symbols by clicking the "New" button, entering the details, and clicking "Save" to store them. You can also delete symbols from this screen.
Note that it is not necessary to add symbols for US Stocks you may wish to trade using the Follow eSignal or Stock Symbol Entry modes. If you do add stock symbols here, these settings will override any default settings used in those modes.
Symbol: The symbol as used in IB
Exchange: For US Stocks this should be set to "Smart".
Expiry: For Futures, an expiry date must be entered. You will need to update the expiry dates of all your futures symbols each rollover.
Tick Size: This is the minimum movement possible for the symbol (eg: ES = 0.25, ESTX50 = 1 etc). For stock symbols this will normally be 0.01
Point Value: The value of one whole point of the contract or stock (eg: ES = 50, ESTX50 = 10). For stock symbols, this will normally be set to 1.
Currency Symbol: The symbol for the currency this trading symbol trades in (eg: $, €, CHF etc)
Commission Per Side: The commission per contract / share, per trade (eg: ES = 2.4, ESTX50 = 2, US Stocks = 0.01)
Auto Stop / Target Offsets & Trail: The offset value for Auto Stop and Target orders, and whether Auto Stop orders should be trailing. Note that if you change these in the main screen, those settings will be saved.
Stop Limit Offset: The default offset for Stop Limit Orders; as with the settings above, if you change this offset in the main screen then that setting will subsequently be saved.
Decimal Places to Display: The number of decimal places this symbol trades to (eg: 1 for NQ, 2 for ES, 4 for most currency pairs, and 0 for EuroStoxx50).
A number of commonly traded futures contracts and some sample stocks are included in the TSim+ installation. To find the relevant details when adding additional contracts etc, visit the website of the exchange on which the contract trades - all the exchanges carry full "Product Specifications" pages on their sites.
You can change the actions of the four main buttons on the Custom order button tab, by choosing "Edit Custom Buttons" from the Tools menu, or by pressing F8. This will open the button editor
To edit a button, click the button you wish to change, modify the settings, then click "Save" to save the changes.
Action: Buttons configured for "Buy" will appear Green, and "Sell" will be Red.
Quantity: You can enter a fixed quantity to trade each time the button is pressed. If you select "Variable" the the trade quantity will be that selected in the Quantity box on the Custom button tab.
Price: "Bid" and "Ask" will cause the button to send Limit orders at the current Bid or Ask price, "Maket" will send Market orders. "Variable" will send a Limit order at the price selected in the Price box on the Custom button tab.
Offset: This can be a positive or negative number, and will be added to or deducted from the price selected. Set to 0 if you don't want the price to be changed.
Example : To set up a button to send a limit order to sell 500 shares at 2 cents below the current bid price, you would select "Sell", "Fixed" and enter "500" in the box, "Bid", and "-0.02".
You can change the colours used in both the Market Data areas and the Orders grid, as well as the background colour used in Live mode, by selecting "Colours" from the Tools menu. This opens the Colours settings window:
To change a colour, click the dropdown button and either select a new colour from the palette, or click "Custom", select a new colour from the palette and use the standard colour selection control to add new colours to the palette.
UpTick: When the price or size in the Market Data area is higher than the previous value, it will be displayed in the UpTick colour
DownTick: The inverse of UpTick
Live Mode: The background colour used when trading Live.
If you have eSignal installed on your PC, you can have TSim+ "follow" the symbol in a selected chart. This means for example, that if you have a chart linked to a quote window in eSignal, when you click the desired symbol in the quote window not only will the chart show that symbol, but TSim+ will change to the same symbol ready to trade without having to manually select it or set it up in the Symbol Editor. This feature is currently designed for US Stocks, and as such symbols are assumed to be US Stocks traded through IB Smart routing, with a tick size of 0.01, a price per point of 1, and a commission charge of 0.01 per share per side.
To enable the eSignal link, you may need to tell TSim+ where your copy of the eSignal package is installed. By default, it assumes the location to be "c:\program files\eSignal". However, if your copy is installed somewhere different, you must go into the Settings screen ("Settings" from the Tools menu, or press F4), and in the eSignal section, browse to the location of the file "winsig.exe". TSim+ will not enable the Follow eSignal option unless it can find the winsig.exe file.
Next, you must add the "TSim" study to a chart. To make the study available within eSignal, copy the file "tsim.efs" from your TSim+ folder (which by default is "c:\program files\tsimplus") into a Formula folder in your eSignal directory (for example, "c:\program files\esignal\formulas\other"). Now you can right click on a chart, select "Formulas", and then choose the folder that you saved the study into ("Other" in the example), and select "tsim.efs". You will not notice any change to the chart, although depending on your configuration the name of the study may appear under the symbol name.
To enable symbol following, select "Follow eSignal" from the Tools menu in TSim+. Each time the symbol in the chart you have added the study to changes, the new symbol will be sent to TSim+. To stop following the eSignal selected symbol, simply click on "Follow eSignal" again from the menu; you will then not have any symbol selected and will need to choose one from the list before you can trade again.
In Follow eSignal mode, TSim+ uses the auto stop and auto target offsets defined in the main Settings screen by default, but of course you can change these trade by trade from the main screen in the normal way.
If you want to trade US stocks and don't want to have to set up each stock symbol before hand in the symbol editor, then select Stock Symbol Entry from the Tools menu. The symbol selection list will change to look like this:
To change symbol, simply type the stock ticker into the box and hit [Enter] or click the "Go" button. The last 10 symbols entered are stored on the dropdown list so you can quickly select them again by clicking them and clicking "Go".
When you enter symbols using this option, they are assumed to be US Stocks traded through IB Smart routing, with a tick size of 0.01, a price per point of 1, and a commission charge of 0.01 per share per side. If the stock you enter is configured in the Symbol Editor, the configured settings will override these defaults.
You can exit Stock Symbol Entry mode by deselecting it from the Tools menu, or by switching to Follow eSignal mode.
Live trading mode requires that you have at least version 787 of TWS running. You can download the upgrade from the downloads page.
To enable Live trading mode, select "Live" from the Mode menu or press F6. You will be asked to confirm this action. You cannot change modes whilst you have positions open, or orders pending. When in Live mode, the background colour of TSim+ changes so you are in no doubt that you are trading for real (you can specify this colour - see Settings above).
Trading live works exactly the same as in Simulator mode. It is highly recommended that when trading live with TSim+, you keep the TraderWorkstation (TWS) window open so you can see your orders are being correctly handled.
You can change prices and quantities in TSim+ exactly the same way as for Simulated orders and they will be updated at TWS immediately. However, if you change an order in TWS the change will not show up in the TSim+ orders grid.
You can switch back to Simulator mode at any time (provided you don't have any positions open or orders pending) from the Mode menu, or by pressing F5. Trades carried out live will be included in the performance figures for the session.