Day Trading with Hot Keys

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LiveStream Trading

Author: Jeff Parks

Former prop trader with over 15 years of market experience in day trading, swing trading, and investing. Jeff is the head trader at and provides live market commentary, live trade alerts, and detailed trade analysis for LiveStream Trading members.

I was shocked to find out how many established and well known traders still aren't using hot keys in their day trading activities. Lets take a look at what they are, and how they can benefit you as an active trader.

For those of you who don't know what hot keys are, they are simply shortcuts on your keyboard that can be used to place buy and sell orders.

With the press of one button you can have a buy or sell order in the market saving you time and in many cases, countless dollars.

For example, pressing F1 to instantly send a buy order for 1000 shares via ARCA, and then F12 to put a sell order out to cover that position at a better price.

I also use them to manually stop out my trades, and quickly enter and cancel orders to see how other traders react to the bids/offers.

What are the benefits?

The truth is, even delaying an order by 1 second can be the difference between getting the entry or exit you want, and missing out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars in profits.

On the flip side, when trading volatile NASDAQ stocks it can be brutal trying to exit a position via click and sell methods when a stock is moving quickly against you. Hot keys allow me, as a trader, to have full control over where and when I want to enter and exit stocks with ease. 

I first discovered the benefit of hot keys in 2005 where I got my start in day trading from a local prop trading firm. This firm had their own in house software which made use of hot keys, and since then I've been hooked.

Which software supports it?

Almost all software I've tried supports hot keys. Trading software I've used as a retail trader include Sterling Trader Pro, DAS Trader Pro, and Zero Pro. These platforms all have options to add hot keys, but a lot of traders aren't sure how to use them properly or how to set them up.

Pro Tip

When setting up your hot keys, I like to use the “Load” feature instead of “Load and Go” - This just means that you will have to press the enter key to actually send the order, my F1 key, for example, just loads the order, and then I will press “enter” to send it.

This could prevent a disaster such as going to lunch and your cat walks across your keyboard and buys you a few thousand shares of an illiquid stock at market price.

Always be sure to test your hot keys on a liquid and cheap penny stock so you know how they will behave and you don't get stuck with a loss while you are testing them out. Start small with 100 share lots to test them, I prefer to use any liquid penny stock for testing my hot key setup on a new platform.

In conclusion

As retail day traders we constantly need to be finding an edge to level the playing field against HFTs and Funds. Over the years I've developed many strategies and ideologies that help combat our trading competition and level the field. I share all of my knowledge and strategies, day trading guides, courses, hot key setups and more with our group traders for free upon registration to our trading group, and via our daily live webinars on the live screen share.

I hope this helps - Please share if you enjoyed this post!

P.S. - Grab our free webinar video on tips for account building and learn about our risk management and trading techniques!

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