What is Custom Expression Subscription Limit Exceeded on Thinkorswim?

What is Custom Expression Subscription Limit Exceeded on Thinkorswim?

If you're a stock trader using the Thinkorswim trading platform, you may have run into an error message recently that says, "Custom expression subscription limit exceeded." Don't worry, you're not alone! Many traders are reporting this issue.

For example, one Reddit user reported an increasing incidence of “custom expression subscription limit exceeded” in the columns of their watchlists even on columns that are not customized. Furthermore, the user also reported that the incident was scattered in multiple columns: IV, RSI, etc.

The error has been discussed in various forums and the responses were unanimous that it has something to do with calling too much data in your watchlists. In this blog post, we'll explain what the custom expression subscription limit is and how to fix the error.

What is Custom Expression Subscription Limit Exceeded on Thinkorswim-Thinkorswim

What is Custom Expression Subscription Limit Exceeded?

The main reason for this error is you are calling too much data in your watchlist that is not built for a column. That is not all. Sometimes, even if these are built-in columns, it can overload the servers if the query has become too complex.  The cause is more on the complexity of the columns and less on their quantity.

According to a member of the useThinkScript forum the main cause of the problem lies in calling too much data in the watchlist that is not for built in column. There are times when even built-in columns can overload the servers when the query becomes too complicated. The problem is more on the complexity of the columns rather than the quantity.

ThinkorSwim limits the total number of custom quotes to 1500 per day, particularly for customers with free accounts.

If you are running two custom quote columns, then the total number of stocks that can display custom quotes is down to 750 to keep you within the 1500 limit. Simple math: 2 X 750 = 1500.

It is different if you have custom quotes in five columns. You should limit your stocks to 300 to stay within the limits of your free account.

The case will be different if you are trying to display and sort custom quotes on both NYSE and NASDAQ. Here you have 6,000+ stocks and way beyond the limitations set for free accounts and naturally, you will get the error “custom expression subscription limit exceeded.”

Solutions to Custom Expression Subscription Limit Exceeded

One solution to run as many “expressions” as you can is to install multiple Thinkorswim platforms and let them run simultaneously. As to the maximum number of downloads you can do, it depends on the memory of your computer.

Another smart way to avoid this error is to narrow down your list of favorite stocks instead of using an entire universe of stocks. Put your choices on your watchlist and display your custom quotes based only on that watchlist.

Or better yet, instead of having a free account, pay a premium to get your Thinkorswim account upgraded to a professional account for unlimited custom quotes.

Adding Watchlists on Thinkorswim

As this error is caused by watchlists, let's take a quick recap on how to set them up properly.

The most ideal layout for beginners would be chart-based. That means, there are several charts in the main area. On the left pane are watchlists. This layout is not complex but can be a good starting point.

Setting up the ToS with live quotes would need at least $500 and a completed exchange agreement. The layout will have the main section and the left side of the pane for trading. To simplify the interface and continue with the set-up, here is what you need to do:

  1. Remove all the existing gadgets on the left pane.  Click the three-line icon on the top right of each gadget and choose Select.
  2. Add a new watchlist, click the “+” sign at the bottom left of the app and choose the Watchlist in the popup.
  3. Give the new watchlist the name “Stocks”.
  4. Then type in the symbol MSFT under the symbol name. This is the first stock on the watchlist. Continue adding the watchlist.
  5. If you want to edit the name of your watchlist, click the watchlist name and then edit.

As more symbols are added to the watchlist, you will see a scrollbar on its right side. You can click and drag the lower watchlist to give room to the upper watchlist.

What is Custom Expression Subscription Limit Exceeded on Thinkorswim-Adding Watchlist on Thinkorswim

Linking the Watchlist to the Chart

  1. Click on the link icon to the right of the first watchlist and select 1.
  2. Do the same for the second watchlist and select 2
  3. The chart has a link icon to the right of the symbol field. Change it to 1.
  4. Click MSFT (the first Watchlist) in the stock watchlist and see how it updates the chart with the symbol MSFT.
  5. If you click any symbol in the second watchlist, the chart will not update because it is not linked to #2.
  6.  Continue adding more charts and linking them as well
What is Custom Expression Subscription Limit Exceeded on Thinkorswim- Watchlist linking in Thinkorswim

Modifying the Chart Layout

So far, you only have one chart in the ToS layout. Here is how to add another chart next to the one you have created:

  1. Click the 9-dot grid icon on the top of the app under Setup.
  2. Check Customize grid.
  3. When you do this a box with three icons and a text sidebar will appear over the grid.
  4. Click the middle “+” icon to add a grid to the right.
  5. Go back to the 9-dot icon and uncheck Customize grid
  6. In the second grid, click the link icon and select #2.
  7. In the second watchlist, click and see how it populates the new grid.
  8. Add another row of grids under these two by going back to Customize grid and selecting the first icon on the Sidebar box. That will add another grid to the current two.


We hope that this article has helped you understand the error: Custom expression subscription limit exceeded. The solution is simple really. You have can either run as many “expressions” as you want to install multiple instances of the platform and run them simultaneously. Or you can be a smart user and choose your favorite stocks. This way you will not use up the 1500 total user subscription limit.

You might be also interested in what is Supertrend on Thinkorswim and what is RSI divergence on Thinkorswim

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