Instructions For Using TSimBO
Before you start TSimBO, 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 when it has the most activity.
You must also ensure that you have the correct version of the IB API installed - you can download it here. You must then tell TWS to allow TSimBO 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 TSimBO from the Start Menu, and when TWS asks if you will allow the incoming connection, click Yes. You should now see the TSimBO screen, which will look something like this :
BreakOut trading with TSimBO requires the following simple steps, each of which will be described in more detail below:
- Select the symbol to trade
- Set up the time range you want to trade breakouts from
- Set up how you want to trade the breakout
- Let TSimBO do the rest
Trading Symbol Selection
TSimBO comes pre-configured with a variety of popular futures contracts and some sample Nasdaq stocks. You can add your own symbols, refer to the Symbol Editor section below.
To select the symbol you want to trade, select it from the drop-down list at the top of the screen. All being well, you will start to see quotes appear:
Next you need to specify the time range during which the price range will be set. For example, you may want to trade breakouts of the price range set in the first half an hour of the market. There are two ways of setting the time range - "Simple" mode is visually displayed (see below), to move it, use the mouse to click and drag it to where you want. To change the size of the range, click and drag near it's top or bottom to move them. The range can be sized in 15 minute increments.
When you have set the range, you should then set the "Close" time. This is the time at which your order will be closed out if it hasn't already been Stopped or hit a target.
"Advanced" mode lets you set a range with tighter accuracy than 15 minute block. Click the Advanced tab:
This tab also allows you to set the No Trade After time. Once this time has been reached, if a breakout has not occurred then the pending orders will be cancelled. This allows you to prevent TSimBO from entering a position which will be almost immediately closed by the Close At time. Note that the No Trade After time is effective even if you have the "Simple" tab selected.
During the trading range times, the High and Low prices will continue to be updated. If you miss the start of the range, you can manually set these prices by double-clicking on them; thus provided you have access to earlier price information and can determine the current high and low, you don't need to start TSimBO before the start of the range time.
Set Trading Options
There are various options you can specify as to how you want to trade any breakout:
Quantity: The number of shares or contracts you want to trade. You can select this from the list, or just type in a quantity.
BO Buy: If you want to trade breakouts to the upside of the range, i.e. trade Long, then tick the BO Buy box. You may specify an offset from the range high, for example, a setting of "3" means that the price will need to trade at least 3 ticks above the range high; so if the range high was 9770, then a Long trade would be triggered if the price traded at 9773 or above. You can make the offset a negative number in order to trigger a trade before a breakout occurs. Of course, you can set the offset to 0 as well.
BO Sell: As above, but for breakdowns through the low of the range, i.e. Short trades.
Use Stop Order: This option means standard Stop orders will be placed for entry once the range is complete.
Use Stp Lmt: This option means Stop Limits orders will be placed instead of standard Stops . Specify the Limit offset for the Stop Limit in the box provided. A setting of "0" means the Stop Limit order can only fill at the specified breakout price or not at all.
Target: Specify an offset for a target order (sent as a Limit order). For example, if you want to exit at +50 ticks, enter "50" as the target. If you set this value to "0" then no target order will be sent.
Stop Loss: Specify an offset for a Stop Loss order. For example, if you don't want to risk more than 20 ticks on a trade, enter "20" as the Stop Loss. If you use a Stop Limit order for entry, then you can make the Stop Loss order a trailing one by ticking the box marked "Trail". It should be noted that IB's trailing stops are initially offset from the Limit price of the Stop Limit order, not the trigger price.
Clicking the "Options" tab displays further settings:
Breakout Type: Selecting "Immediate" will cause TSimBO to place OCA orders as soon as the time range is complete. Thus as soon as the price breaks out of the range, the orders will be filled. If you select the "Close of x min bar" option, TSimBO will not send any orders once the range is complete. Instead, it will wait until a bar closes outside the range; for example, if you specify a 30 min bar, TSimBO will only place the entry orders if a 30 minute bar closes outside of the range, but if a 30 minute bar breaks out and then closes back within the range, no orders will be sent.
TWS Connection: If you are running TSimBO and TWS (IB's broker software) on the same PC, select "This PC". If you are running in a networked environment and wish to run TSimBO on a different PC to TWS, specify the IP address of the PC running TWS.
All settings and time ranges are saved when you exit TSimBO.
Let TSimBO Do The Rest
With your settings in place, there remains nothing else to do! TSimBO will continue to update the High and Low prices during the specified time range. At the end of the range, Stop orders are placed as configured. If you are in Simulation mode, these orders are shown on the TSimBO screen:
When either order is triggered, it will change colour. The position box shows the number of contracts or shares open. Target and Stop show where the simulated attached orders are.
In Live mode, you can see your orders on the "API" tab of TWS.
TSimBO logs various messages to the message window at the bottom of it's screen:
These messages record when the range has been set, orders have been sent, and so forth. If a message is to long to read on the screen, double click it to open the full message up. Everything that appears in the message window is also written to a text format log file, which you can find in the TSimBO folder. If you chose the default installation path, then this will be "c:\program files\tsimbo\
Select Live from the "Mode" menu in order to send orders to TWS. Orders are sent as OCA groups, so even if your connection to TWS is broken, IB will continue to manage them (note that if you are not using "Immediate" mode, orders will not be sent until a bar closes outside the range). Example: You specify that you want to trade both upside and downside breakouts, each with Stop Loss and Target orders, in Immediate mode. At the end of the time range, TSimBO will send the Stop Buy and Stop Sell orders, each with Target and Stop Loss orders attached. If the Buy order is hit, then the sell order and it's associated Stop and Target will automatically be cancelled by TWS. When the Buy orders own Stop or Target are subsequently triggered, the opposing exit order will automatically cancel.
It is strongly recommended that traders experiment with Simulation mode to gain an understanding of the options available in TSimBO before using Live mode. You may also want to try live mode against the Demo IB account before trading your own account, although bear in mind that the prices in the demo account are unrealistic.
Hitting the "Panic!" button when you have an open position will close it out immediately with a Market order, and will cancel remaining associated orders. If you don't yet have an open position, the "Panic!" button will cancel any pending orders.
You can have TSimBO play a sound when entry and exit orders are filled - select "Enable Sounds" from the options menu to switch this feature on :
The sounds played are in the TSimBO folder, they are named "entry.wav" and "close.wav". You can swap these files out with your own sounds, as long as you keep the names the same.
Setting Up Symbols
To make any changes to the list of symbols, or to add new ones, choose "Symbol Editor" from the Options menu. 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.
Symbol: The symbol as used in IB.
Exchange: For US Stocks this should be set to "Smart", otherwise enter the name of the exchange the contract trades on.
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 default offset value for attached Stop and Target orders, and whether 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 TSimBO 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.
Due to the way the IB API reports fills, TSimBO is not recommended for Live trading of LIFFE FTSE contracts (such as "Z") or the Dax. Both of these will work correctly in Simulation mode however.