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Configuring TWS Hotkeys

Lesson 2 of 6
Duration 5:29
Level Beginner
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Hotkeys allow traders to assign commands to specific keys and key combinations to create shortcuts within Trader Workstation that are designed to rapidly create or transmit orders. Hotkeys can also be created for specific tools within TWS such as ChartTrader or OptionTrader.

Study Notes:

In this video, we will review how to establish and use Hotkeys in Trader Workstation or TWS as shortcuts to rapidly create orders or open various tools. Time is valuable when placing trades so reducing the time it takes to perform certain actions by creating shortcuts can come in handy.

Hotkeys are created and managed within Global Configuration. The list of possible actions is at the top of the pane and already configured hotkeys are located at the bottom. To edit a pre-existing shortcut, click to highlight the shortcut then select configure or select Delete to remove the shortcut entirely.

To create a shortcut from scratch, first select the desired command from the list of possible actions at the top.

In order to view the complete list of possibilities, click the box next to Show Hidden Actions in the top right-hand corner. The actions are grouped into categories such as Create Orders, Modify/Transmit Orders or Analysis. You can also use the search bar at the top to search for commands based on key words.

We will now create a shortcut to quickly close 50% of my positions.

  • From the list of Possible Actions select Close Portion of Positions and then click Create Shortcut.
  • A new window will open to record my keystrokes associated with the shortcut and enter any applicable customizations to the command.
  • When you are ready, click Record and enter the key or the key combination you would like to assign to the command.
  • You may use any individual key or combine the SHIFT or CTRL key with one of the 26 keyboard letters.
  • In this scenario I will use SHIFT and the letter C.
  • Then, I’ll use the customization section to specify that I would like this command to close 50% of my positions.
  • Once satisfied, click Apply and OK and you will see the hotkey listed under the configured shortcuts at the bottom of the pane. Hotkeys are effective immediately once created so there is no need to restart TWS to begin using the shortcuts.

To see the Hotkey command in practice, I will select SHIFT and C on my keyboard and it will open the pane to configure the order attributes for closing 50% of my positions.

Choose all asset classes or a specific one as well as all positions or just long or short and order type. In this example, I will use market orders. Once satisfied, select OK and another warning will be displayed asking if you are sure you would like to proceed and if so click Proceed. You will also receive a message indicating that you will not receive warnings for orders that exceed your Precautionary Settings. If you would still like to proceed with closing the positions, you may click Yes. If you do not want to receive this message in the future, you can check the box next to Don’t Show this Message Again before clicking Yes to proceed. You will see the transmitted and executed orders reflected in your Activity Panel.

In addition to global Hotkeys, Hotkeys can be configured for specific trading or information tools in TWS such as ChartTrader or OptionTrader.

  • To create tool-specific hotkeys, select the tool in the drop down in the right side of the pane then click Go.
  • You will be redirected to the Global Configuration page for creating hotkeys for the desired tool.
  • These hotkeys will only work within the specific tool they were configured for.

As another example, if I trade frequently using Chart Trader and I wanted to quickly change my active limit order to a market order, I will scroll within the dropdown of tool-specific hotkeys and select ChartTrader and click Go.

  • After being redirected to the specific GlobaL Configuration page, I will select the command for Change Order to Market from the list and click Create Shortcut.
  • This time, I will record the combination CTRL and the letter M.
  • I can elect to transmit the order instantaneously but in this scenario I will opt out of this and leave the box unchecked. When finished creating the Hotkey click Apply at the bottom of the page and then ok.

Now in the Chart, you can see I have a horizontal line indicating an order at my specified limit price. I can use the CTRL M command that I created to quickly change my active limit order to a market order. Since I did not elect to the transmit the order instantaneously, I will need to click Update next to the order in the Activity Panel to transmit the updated order.

As you can see, creating shortcuts using Hotkeys can save valuable time when trading.

User Guide – Hot Keys

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If you have a general question, it may already be covered in our FAQs. If you have an account-specific question or concern, please reach out to Client Services.

6 thoughts on “Configuring TWS Hotkeys”

  • Adrian Harris


    This was good, but how do I set up a hotkey to close out of a portion of only one position? Say I’m in 3 positions, but I only want to close out of 25% of one of those positions, how do I do that with a hotkey? Thank you!

    • Interactive Brokers

      Hello Adrian. There is no way to set up a Hotkey for an individual stock. However, you can click the position in the monitor tab, click the trade button, pick your selected position, and select the percent that you would like to close of those positions. We hope this answered your question!

  • Zah

    The fact that we cannot buy or sell shares by pressing key combination, it makes momentum trading impossible on IBKR platform. Especially the new desktop platform renders so slow even on my gaming PC (you can guess it does have the required power and memory) that by time time it refers the submit window my profit is already gone…..
    I wonder if IBKR plans on adding this feature or I need to look for alternative trading platform providers

  • jay

    hello, Why my hotkeys on the advanced chart does not go through directly. I always need to click on the ticker again in the top left corner. so exemple i want to buy ticker VERO i put it on the chart then for my hotkeys to work i need to click again on the ticker (top left corner ) then my hotkeys go through and then when i click anywhere on the screen with my mouse my hotkweys start not working again and i need to redo the processus.

    • Interactive Brokers

      Hello Jay, thank you for your feedback. I have passed it to the appropriate team. This is now on the roadmap to be released but does not have an ETA yet.

      Additionally, if you have a specific suggestion(s) on how we can improve, we would like to hear it! Please review this FAQ on where you can leave your feedback:

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Disclosure: Interactive Brokers

The analysis in this material is provided for information only and is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad-based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation by IBKR to buy, sell or hold such investments. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interactive Brokers, its affiliates, or its employees.

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