The way you trade stocks versus the way you trade options are worlds apart. There really are more differences than similarities in the two. To be a profitable options trader, you will need to acquire and review all of the information that you typically need to trade stocks plus more information that is pertinent to options. Options and stocks are different from each other in several different ways. Options require a high degree of liquidity, behave differently to the same market stimulus and even have a date at which they can expire worthless. Purchasing an option and holding it for many years like some do with stocks simply isn't possible. While most options are created with only three to five months of time on them, there is a special kind of option, known as a LEAP, that can be actively traded for more than nine months.

Experience alone is not sufficient to trade options and make money on them. You will have to acquire sufficient market information to make informed decisions when you buy or sell. When it comes to options, you simply can't have enough market data. Unfortunately, gathering and analyzing all of this data can be a monumental task in terms of both time and effort. You could easily spend this time doing something much more enjoyable, like hanging out with friends, family or even on a hobby.

Thankfully, there is good news. There are a lot of software companies that have created and sell powerful stock option software programs for your home computer. These easy to use programs make market research a breeze. With one of these programs you can download market updates and then quickly scan all of the thousands of stocks that are out there in just a few minutes time. The software will then pick out the stocks that are poised to make major moves and will even make trade recommendations for you. The programs will tell you precisely when you should get in on a trade, when you should close the trade and will even recommend the best strategy for that particular trade. Obviously, you can save a lot of time with stock option software. Finding just the right software package for you can be tricky though, since there are so many great ones to choose from.

When it comes to stock option software, sometimes you really can get some of the good stuff for free. There are a lot of online brokerage companies that have gone to great lengths to develop powerful stock option software that you can use at no cost just by creating and funding a trading account with them. The reason they do this is because they want you to be a profitable and frequent trader. This makes sense when you think about it. These companies make their money off of commissions when you trade. The more you trade, the more money they make. If you continually lose money on your trades, eventually you'll get tired of it and close out your account. The creation of these great stock option analysis programs is truly a win-win for both you and the brokerage company. You win by getting free access to this software and the company wins when you trade more frequently.

There are many great online brokerages that offer free stock option software. TD Ameritrade, for example, is one company that does this with its Visual Options Analyzer (VOA). For sure, you will definitely want to consider using a powerful and efficient tool such as VOA to free up your time and make better trades.