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Charting in thinkorswim's Economic Data Tool

September 1, 2016
Charting in thinkorswim's Economic Data Tool

By now, you’ve hopefully gotten the chance to check out the latest thinkorswim® release—the Economic Data tool. But what do you do with your results once you pick a category and pull up the associated data?

In this article we’ll explore the chart functionality within the Economic News tool.

Once you find your data point, simply click on it to be taken to the thinkorswim Economic Data chart.

The charting feature has been built to handle data that has defined and often irregular aggregations. You can format the charts to your analytical needs under the Format drop down menu (see Figure 1). All available frequencies for the charted data point will be listed as options. The aggregations available are:

  • Average for chosen frequency
  • Sum for chosen frequency
  • End of period for chosen frequency

Data output is also dependent on units of measure. These choices will vary from data point to data point, and include:

  • Change in units, or the amount different from the previous point for your frequency and aggregation
  • Change from a year ago
  • Growth rate
  • Comparison view from a level of 100 at a chosen date
  • Specific time range: One, five, or 10 years, as well as any custom range
Economic Data chart


Use the format menu to select various aggregations of frequencies of economic data. Source: thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.

You can customize the look of your charts by clicking on the Gear Icon which opens a drop-down menu. Here you can choose between a Line or Area type chart as well as adjust colors, background, and grid.

To the left of the Gear icon you’ll find a share button, which connects to the thinkorswim Sharing Center, allowing you to generate a link to your chart for sharing in emails, social media, as well as on myTrade® (Figure 2). This link allows anyone to see that specific data set. If the person you share it with is also a thinkorswim user, they can open it through the thinkorswim platform and conduct any of their own analysis on that same data. It’s important to note that shared content will not include any of your personally identifiable information.

Economic Data Chart


Create a link for sharing your economic data chart and choose where to share it. Click the Share button to the left of the Gear icon to connect to the thinkorswim Sharing Center. Source: thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Shared content will not include any of your personally identifiable information.

Since learning and handling some of these symbols can be cumbersome, a menu was added allowing you to control the symbol that you have loaded on your Economic Data chart, just like any other thinkorswim chart. From here you can copy the symbol, add it to a watchlist in your account, or choose from the usual "More info on" menu, including options like “quick quote”, “alerts” and “analyze”. You can create any number of private watchlists, but keep in mind that there are multiple public watchlists containing popular economic data series already set up.

While thinkorswim charts only go back about twenty years, the economic data can be viewed as far back historically as FRED® has been recording it, though it only aggregates weekly or yearly. thinkorswim charts, on the other hand, give you the ability to get more granular in their statistical analysis. You can chart by average of last, mapping with numbers, or moving averages to name a few choices. Another great feature with this new Economic Data function is that any of the economic charts you view can also be viewed in thinkorswim charts, allowing for a much more in-depth analysis of the FRED data.

Using Economic Data on thinkorswim Charts

  • On thinkorswim charts (as well as in watchlists) all of the economic data points will use the default Frequency, Aggregation, and Units. Since most of the Economic Data is not updated daily or even weekly, you’ll need to adjust the chart aggregation to accommodate that aggregation. The easiest way is to choose a 20-year Monthly chart and then adjust the aggregation from there.
  • You can also easily compare two Economic Data points by clicking on Studies, then Add Study, and choosing Compare with Custom Symbol. You can compare any known symbol or any Economic Data series symbol, and copy these symbols from the Economic Data chart or from any watchlist.

For more information on our new Economic Data feature, check out the Release Notes page on the thinkorswim Learning Center.

And because we're so excited to introduce the world of economic data to our thinkorswim users, we created this short video about the Economic Data Tab:

We hope you find this new feature helpful, and be sure to let us know what you think. Reach out on Twitter or drop a line to  

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