DDE Status between Excel and Think or Swim

If you are a DDE user you’ve noticed that it’s broken after this latest Think Desktop update. I just got word from the developers that they are looking to release improved capability this coming weekend. Now, please remember that development estimates are just that: estimates. This weekend is the goal. Don’t burn down your local village if it doesn’t happen on time. 😉

What they have should be better than the old DDE in terms of what we could do with it. It’s not two-way interaction with ToS, so done get that excited. It’s faster and more improved data handling that should be much easier to work with and more powerful for data handling inside of Excel. I’ll update as I know more.

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42 Responses to “DDE Status between Excel and Think or Swim”

  1. deb Says:

    TOS Support was told in writing via email and live support more than a month ago the quick fix was to rename the jre folder to jre-old. They chose not to share this with their customers.

  2. Valueplay98 Says:

    ^^^Tried to rename jre to jre-old and it didn’t do anything for me (Win 7 pro + Excel 2007).

    BTW they also told me they’re doing something different than DDE for exporting when they make changes whenever that is …

  3. Prospectus Says:

    Yes, that’s my understanding as well. No more DDE, but a different protocol.

  4. Mike Says:

    Has anyone gotten TOS DDE to work? For me, Excel hangs everytime I try to use a basic DDE formula (example: =TOS|Last!AAPL)

  5. Mike Says:

    FYI — just received a message from support that it should be fixed “this weekend.” Fingers crossed….

  6. MY Says:

    It is not yet fixed yet with this weekend’s update (3/2/2014). I have 2 PCs with Windows 8 and Office 2013 installed on each of them. On one of them, TOS and Excel is working. On the other one, It is not working. I made it work using the following method: I have a shortcut to Excel.exe on my quick launch. Press SHIFT, and Right click on the Excel shortcut, then Run as administrator. Once the blank sheet opens, open your own Excel file containing DDE links.

    On my Laptop, I have Windows 7 and Office 2012, It is not working on that. I tried renaming jre folder, and run as admin trick. It does not work.

  7. RS Says:

    Try exporting DDE for excel, they have converted to rtd. New formula is


  8. MY Says:

    Thanks for the update. RTD did not work on Windows 7 with Office 2010. I will try it on Win 8 when I get a chance.

  9. RS Says:

    I have Windows 7 + Office/Excel 2007
    and Windows 8 Office Excel 2010
    both seem to work.

    I initially got it to work by using the Export to Excel under the printer in the Market Watch Tab. I then manage to update my worksheet but that was not flawless initially. Works fine now. I did have with Close it needed to be capitalized “CLOSE” so format seems important

  10. Prospectus Says:

    Where did you learn about this?

  11. RS Says:

    I’m not sure why I tried Export to excel this time but I have been trying to get my spreadsheet to work after every update. I seem to have just gotten lucky since I do not think I had tried Exporting to Excel recently, Support had told me that it might be out this week and that they were working on RTD.

    Just to correct my previous post I meant o say I had a problem with the parameter “Close” it needed to be “CLOSE”

  12. MY Says:

    I tried the RDT on 4 PCs:

    PC1 Windows 8, Excel 2013: Export to Excel from the printer icon: Works.
    PC2 Windows 8, Excel 2013: Export to Excel from the printer icon: Works.
    Laptop1 Windows 7, Excel 2010: Export to Excel from the printer icon: Works.
    Laptop2 Windows 7, Excel 2010: Export to Excel from the printer icon: Does not work. Cells are populated with “#N/A”s. Running Excel as admin or non-admin did not make any difference.

    It is interesting, as RS said above, the format of the formula, is important. Text is case sensitive. When I copy the formula from a working cell to another cell, and change the Stock Symbol, RTE may or may not work.

    There seems to be bugs in the code.

  13. Rob Says:

    I just fooled around with it and it does work however the command and symbol must be capitalized. Just capitalize the whole thing and you will be fine. I am using Windows 8 and Office 2010.

  14. Mike Says:

    I got it working. Window 7, Office 2010 x64.

    1. Close Excel and Thinkorswim (or TD Ameritrade).
    2. Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\thinkorswim (or whatever the install folder is named)
    3. Rename folder jre as jre_old and reboot.

    Worked for me… not sure why.

  15. RS Says:

    I had that initially where some of the cells did not work for some symbols. Interestingly enough I had set up a VB Macro to rework the cells based on the symbol in the first column. Once I got that working even the symbols (IWM and QID were 2 of them) that had not worked started working correctly. I guess we will see over time whether it continues to work completely or there are anomalies but by the end of the day everything seemed to be working fine.

  16. RS Says:

    BTW, it appears you can use cell references in the RTD formula. So if you have your Symbols in Column 1 and the Type of Value you want for the symbol in Row 1, you should be able to use the following formula for cell B2 and copy it.


    I had some initial problems using formulas, like MY and I did with inconsistent results but it seems to be working now.

    I just started trying this so no guarantees it will work consistently.

  17. sgfee123 Says:

    I did what Mike said to do (March 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm). However, I also renamed the folders backup and backup.jre to backup_OLD and backup_OLD.jre. DDE is now working for me on Windows 7 Excel 2010, x64. Haven’t been able to get RTD working yet.

  18. Dietmar Georg Says:

    I work in the Macworld (Excel of Mac 2011). Never could get DDE to work. So I had to run Windows Excel 2010 on my Mac (using VMware). Does anyone know whether TOS’ recent change from DDE to RTD works with Excel for Mac?

  19. steveb Says:

    Renaming jre to jre_old per Mike above worked for me. Win7x64 and Office 2007.

  20. Andy Says:

    This might not be right place to ask, but does RSIWilder work for anyone using RTD ?(I get blank info) and got N/A using DDE.

  21. Dietmar Georg Says:

    I got an answer to my question of yesterday from TDA: Real Time Data (RTD) doe NOT work on Excel for Mac,

  22. MY Says:

    Here is an interesting situation, if anyone can explain this behavior:

    My main Excel spreadsheet has multiple tabs and DDE is running on only in one tab, as expected without any problems.
    On a separate Excel worksheet, I have cells using RTD formulas (Exported from print icon of ThinkOrSwim), they are updating as expected.
    When I copy RDT formulas (or paste them directly after export) to my main Excel spreadsheet where DDE is running, RTD cells do not work (I get #N/A for those cells having RTD formulas, DDE cells keep working.) When I copy them to another tab in the same worksheet, RTD formulas work. My objective was to convert DDE formulas to RDT in my main tab to take advantage of cell referencing, but this seems to be no-go for now. Oh well, DDE is working (for now!) so i will keep using it.

  23. RS Says:

    If you are attempting to transition what you can try is, find and replace =DDE, with a single quote followed by =DDE (‘=DDE).

    Then save the notebook under a new name and close it. When you reopen it I suspect rtd will work on the page since it will no longer have any DDE links. I can’t try it since I never got DDE working again but I am satisfied with rtd even with its bugs. There is also the advantage to this in that it will show you all the =DDE references as simple text.

  24. RS Says:

    Sorry should have been =TOS and ‘=TOS

  25. Andy Says:

    Just got off phone – they are working on importing studies into Excel using RTD. (Studies are anything with a lock icon in the custom column area – ie: RSI Wilder, Volume Average).

    I’m really frustrated because DDE using jre-old folder doesn’t work for me anymore. AMTD’s usefulness as a broker is about to expire if they don’t get this fixed.

  26. MY Says:


    Thanks for the idea. My issue seems to be unique to the one Excel tab (Sheet) of my Excel file. In that tab, DDE works, but not RTD! In another tab, both can coexist and work OK. I am not sure what is the issue with that tab!

    I replaced all DDE formulas with RTD formulas in that tab. RTD still does not work in that particular tab. RTD works on other tabs. I am guessing, there is some sort of event detection specified for that tab, thus disabling some functions. I just cannot locate it.

    I also realized, there is another formula I use in some other tabs, which did not work on this problematic tab as well:


    This formula finds the last entry in a column of data where A$183:A$204 contains my data. Weird formula but it works!

    These issues must be specific to my Excel worksheet.
    They all work if I use a clean new Excel file or in any other tab of my multi-tabbed Excel worksheet, except just one.

  27. Adam Hartle Says:

    I am completely new to this website. My old coder is not able to write code for me anymore. Do any of you know anyone that could write some code for me?

  28. John Says:

    Have a laptop and a desktop with TOS installed. Tried renaming to jre_old:

    Laptop – Windows 7, Office 2007 – No good.
    Desktop – Windows 8.1, Office 2007 – Success.

    Fine by me because I trade from my desktop the majority of the time.

    Thanks for providing a solution guys.

  29. Traderbear Says:

    For what its worth, I have windows 7 home on a desktop and W7 professional on a laptop. RTD works on the Laptop and not the Desktop. The problem seems to be that ToS adds an Excel add-in (see file>options>addins) called tos.rtd. Excel on my desktop lacks this add-in. Now I’m trying to figure why the add-in didn’t get there.

  30. Rakesh Sangal Says:


  31. Prospectus Says:

    It’s the name of the server where the RTD server is running if it is remote. In our case, ToS is running locally so the argument is blank. Nothing between the commas.

  32. John Says:

    Ok so I just updated TOS to the 64bit version that just came out. When I try to open my DDE file, Excel freezes up.

    I’ve tried renaming the jre folder to jre_old in the 64bit folder (as this was the solution last time I had this problem), but then it comes up with error “No JVM could be found on your system. Please define EXE4J_JAVA_HOME to point to an installed 64-bit JDK or JRE or download a JRE from http://www.java.com.”

    Anyone encountering this issue?

  33. John Says:

    Am now getting it to open but getting REF errors. Ugg frustrating :/

  34. Prospectus Says:

    Are you all using DDE or the new RTD?

  35. John Says:

    Still using DDE here. It works fine on TOS 32bit but 64bit is giving me all the issues.

  36. John Says:

    Well guys I solved my issue. I updated my DDE file to RTD and tried that, but then I’d get REF errors all over the place.

    Had just about given up and resigned myself to having to use the 32 bit version if I wanted to continue using my DDE file however I got the hunch to mess around with java.

    I use Chrome 100% of the time but decided to open internet explorer and went to the java website. There, I downloaded the Windows 64bit offline version. After that I went into the thinkorswim 64bit folder and renamed jre to jre_old and, lo and behold, my DDE (now RTD) sheet works fine.

    If anyone is having the same issues I had, I hope this helps.

  37. lukasfoisy Says:

    Greetings, I’m quite new to this but if anyone could help me that would be amazing, here is my issue: I linked TOS (papermoney) to Excel 2013 via the “Export to Excel” option in TOS. After hitting “Ctrl-V” in Excel, I have the labels, but the data is not there. Instead, I get #N/A…the connection is done through RTD. What could I do?

  38. Bill Veeneman Says:

    Thanks for the info about RTD.

    The TOS works and so does the new RTD.
    I’m using Microsoft Office 2013 (thus Excel inside Office).
    Everything works today fine for me.

    Here is an example usage: =RTD(“tos.rtd”,,”LAST”,D4)
    where D4 is a cell that contains a text SYMBOL (ADBE) name.
    Same for this: =RTD(“tos.rtd”,,”DESCRIPTION”,D4)
    The result looks like this where cell D4 is ADBE:

  39. Fernando Arámburu Says:

    I don’t know if I help with this but it wasn’t working for me on Excel 2010 till I change the comma parameter separator to semicolon. Probably it has nothing to do with the real problem but that simple change works for me.
    The export was suggesting:
    and what it actually worked was

    Hope this help!

  40. Pernic Erombot Says:

    Many hours fighting RTD not working in Excel 2010 64-bit. Cells stubbornly returning #N/A. TOS support unhelpful and untinterested in pursuing. Then, success.

    The TOS RTD server must be manually registered with Excel using the following procedure:

    1. Run Excel as Administrator.
    2. Go to Options | Add-Ins | Manage | COM Add-ins | Add. Then browse to the TOS dll directory holding the RTD Server (…\AppData\Local\thinkorswim\lib64). Select RTDService.dll and click OK.
    3. The COM Add-Ins list still shows blank. Formulas will still not work. This is all fine. Just restart Excel as any user.
    4. RTD should now work. The tos.rtd add-in will now show up in Options | Add-Ins under Active Application Add-ins of type Excel Add-in with its location specified.

  41. Prospectus Says:

    Thanks for that! That should be helpful to many people.


  42. MY Says:

    Did anyone try RTD in new Microsoft Office 2016 Excel? When I tried it, RTD did not work. COM Add-in was inactive, I could not make it active. So, I downgraded back to Excel 2013.

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