How Do You Find Potential Opportunities in a Huge Market? Scan It

With the scan tool traders can choose from and modify hundreds of predefined scans or create custom scans based your their search criteria. HACKER
3 min read
Photo by

Looking for new investment ideas? The features on the thinkorswim ® Scan tab can get you off to a running start. The tool enables you to filter through tens of thousands of stocks, options, futures, and forex products quickly and easily. You can choose from (and modify) hundreds of predefined scans, or create custom scans based your own search criteria.

How It Works

The Scan tab is made up of several sections including Stock Hacker, Option Hacker, and Spread Hacker.

You can create a custom stock scan by selecting Stock Hacker. On the upper left side of the screen, you’ll find the criteria fields with the default settings of Net change, Volume, and % change. Use the menus to select the filters you want. Select the Add filter for stock button to add more criteria. Select the "X" all the way to the right of a criteria row to remove it.

Need to narrow down your focus? This scanning tool has even more valuable filter features. “The ‘Add study filter’ allows users to filter securities based on the output of a predefined or custom built chart study (for example, a simple moving average or a Bollinger Bands ® crossover),” says Chesley Spencer, Product Manager, Trading. “The ‘Add fundamental filter’ allows users to filter securities based on a number of different fundamental data points about a company (for example, earnings per share or dividend yield).”

Once you have determined the filters you wish to use, enter your parameters. You’ll notice that the tool dynamically displays the number of matches as you enter your criteria. When done, select the Scan button on the right.

Stock Hacker


Once you've narrowed your focus, click the Scan button. Too many or too few tickers from which to choose? Tweak your inputs or add more filters. Image source: thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.

Save Your Results

The scan tool displays a list of stocks that fit your criteria, including useful data about each security such as the last price, net change, % change, and volume. Don’t have time to look through the list now? No problem. Select the Show actions menu to add the scan results to a watch list that you can track over time. Thinking about using this same criteria in the future? Go to the Show scan query menu and choose to save your scan query. The tool will save your filters to search for stocks that meet your criteria the next time you run the scan.

Use Option Hacker to filter for options ideas and Spread Hacker to search for options spreads.

Option Hacker


Got an option spread idea but can't narrow your choice? Option hacker can help. Filter by delta, days to expiration, implied vol and more. Image source: the thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade. Not a recommendation. For illustrative purposes only.

Scan It and Go

Take your scans with you wherever you go. The Scan tab lets you sync your market scans or a scan’s resulting watch list from your desktop to any mobile device using thinkorswim and the free TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader App. You can view your synced scan or watch list on your mobile device by logging in to Mobile Trader and accessing the personal watch lists section of the app.

Learn more about scanning. Visit the thinkorswim Learning Center and go to How to thinkorswim > Scan.  

Call Us

Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information

Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type.

Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.


Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success.

Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.

Supporting documentation for any claims, comparisons, statistics, or other technical data will be supplied upon request.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2024 Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

Scroll to Top