Posting here after searching around and not finding any responses to basically the same question that I saw on EliteTrader, with another variant posted 10 years ago (update: the same question on Money):

Say I bought X at 100 and want to have TWS automatically submit a TRAIL STOP order when the price reaches 110, with a trailing amount of 2 Assume I don't care how long it takes for the price to reach that level. How can I do that?


  1. X is now at 95. The order should wait until X hits 110. No order parameters should change.
  2. X hits 110. Trailing order is submitted, with trailing amount 2.
  3. X goes to 115. Great. Stop price is now 113.
  4. X drops to 112. Market order triggers.

I tried attaching a condition, but got this error:

Can't add conditions for trail orders

Conditional submission of orders is supported for Limit, Market, Relative and Snap order types only.

The goal is to lock in some profit and have unlimited upside, at the expense of downside risk. A Trailing Market if Touched sounds right for selling, but apparently isn't:

A sell trailing market if touched order moves with the market price, and continually recalculates the trigger price at a fixed amount above the market price, based on the user-defined "trailing" amount.

This goes against what I want for step 1 above.

Same for Trailing Limit if Touched:

As the market price falls, the trigger price falls by the user-defined trailing amount, but if the price rises, the trigger price remains the same. When the trigger price is touched, a market order is submitted.

I don't want the trigger price to fall. It should stay 110.

  • $\begingroup$ Have you asked IB support? $\endgroup$
    – hvedrung
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. They been less than helpful, as usual. $\endgroup$
    – Gascoyne
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Gascoyne, did you ever find a way to do this? $\endgroup$
    – Noah
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


I think what you are looking for is an Adjustable Stop Orders (https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=574).

Using adjustable-stop-order you can limit your losses in case the price falls and protect your profits if the price rises. Adjustable stop orders are not orders per say but they are "instructions" to change an existing order. For example: Place a STOP order (to limit your losses after you have taken a position). Then create an adjustable-stop-order to automatically modify the STOP order to STOP LMT or TRAIL STOP LMT order with new trigger price if a certain condition is met.

Please make sure to tick the answer if this has actually answered your question.


You would create an "Alert" in TWS that submits the trailing order when some set of market conditions are met.

It's confusing because this is really a trigger, but IB calls it an alert.

Typically "Alert"s just provide a notification such as an email or push notification. This is true when using IB's Web or Mobile App but in TWS, you have the option to add order actions off the back of those alerts.

Here's an example screenshot. Note the summary preview reads that the trailing order will not be submitted until the alert is triggered. I believe you could also leave the "stop price" empty and it will just use the current market price (since this will already be 120).

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ This method is much less confusing and easier, than first one. $\endgroup$
    – Vladan
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ There is danger in this method. If you don't have stock yet, but want to place such alert/order, it is possible this will execute w/o you having underlying stock. In the first method, you can attach adjustable stop order to buy order. $\endgroup$
    – Vladekk
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 13:18

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