Free option charts

I have only found one site that offers completely free option charts for stocks, Exchange Traded Products, and indexes:  BigCharts.  I provide more information about it below.

Recently Schwab (StreetSmart Pro)  and Fidelity (Active Trader Pro and standard web site) have started offering option charts to customers, but they require you to at least setup an account with them.  Neither of these use the “standard” option symbols, but rather use their own proprietary Fidelity or Schwab symbology.  Fidelity’s option charts allow export of trade information as .csv files, even for intraday intervals—a very nice feature.


BigCharts uses their own custom option symbols.  To get the BigCharts option symbol to use, enter in the underlying symbol (e.g, INTC) towards the top of the screen and click one of the chart buttons.  Then click on the option chain link above the quote information to show the available options.  Click on the “quote” link in the option chain to get a chart.   Once you get a chart you’ll probably want to click on the Advanced on Interactive Chart button towards the top to get more control over the chart.

BigCharts avoids the huge issue of charts not being available after the options expire.  But it looks like it still suffers from the problem that intra-day information becomes unavailable soon after the options expire.  They need to allow a range of dates to be displayed, not just assume that you want everything referenced back in time from today’s date.

Wish List

What I would really like options charting packages to do would be to chart bid/ask values if actual trade values are not available.   Since many options are lightly traded their charts are deserts of information.  Bid / ask history would be much better than nothing.

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15 thoughts on “Free option charts”

  1. Vance – do you have a recommendation for a platform or a service that can chart forward option returns for a multi position portfolio ?

    I basically want to be able to load in multiple spread and straddle and short positions (all for the same underlying) to calculate the potential return (gain or loss).

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks !

    • Hi Howard, I’m not aware of anyone that does do a good job at this, but not really an area that I’m familiar with. You might try calling TD Ameritrade. They seem to be pretty good with interfacing their software with independent software.

  2. Best platform overall “Think or Swim” by TDAmeritrade. Provides everything for options/stocks/futures. You can download and use software for free. You don’t need to fund an account.

  3. based on the article/post above I went to BigCharts. Thanks.

    Now that I’ve played with it a little, i recognize that the options charts I’ve been using from Fidelity (yes they have ’em) are actually coming from BigCharts. I recognize the presentation and controls. Alas, neither will overlay the stock price and neither will provide history just currently trading options.

    • Big Charts uses MarketWatch data which is crap because they do NOT show the data for standard option expiration dates…

  4. BigCharts options graphs ARE NOT ACCURATE.  The high price on the GS December 120 put, for instance, displayed more than $1.00 lower than the put’s high trade for the day.  (This is a big surprise on an otherwise reliable chart site.)

  5. I have been looking for historical options prices so that I can look for patterns or make some sense of why some strike prices move and others don’t.  I would be nice to see a chart or graph for all of the various expiration dates and strike prices 

    • Hi,
      I’m not aware of any free sources of options historical prices. What specific kinds of options are you looking at (e.g,, SPY, VIX, stocks)? Could you give me a quick example of the behavior you are seeing. I might be able to offer some suggestions if I have more info.

      — Vance

        • Hi Randy, I’m not aware of any free options charts for the historical data you want. I’m sure you can pay for option data and generate the charts, but I suspect that would be pretty expensive. Sorry, not any help.

          — Vance

        • Hi Randy, Options Express provides this info for FREE and I don’t make a trade without looking at their historical quotes; it also shows volume and open interest

          Good Luck to you

  6. Hi,
    I am new to options trading and I am looking for historical charts of daily option contract volume for specific stocks. Can you help me find something?

    • Hi Phil,
      The only free options charts I’m aware of are at BigCharts (see I’ve heard that optionsExpress, has good options charts, but I have not seen them. Option volumes tend to be very light except for the popular stocks/ETFs and even then most of the action is in the option strike prices close to where the stock is currently trading. Options with low / non-existent volumes often quote wide big / asked spreads, but I’ve found that I can often buy or sell options close to the price halfway between those two quotes. I usually have to give up a penny or nickel to the market maker. So for example if I wanted to buy a option and the the quote was 0.8 bid, 1.1 asked I would put in a limit order for 0.95, and if that didn’t fill after a few minutes, cancel that order and re-enter at 1.00. If you are ever confused as to whether you should be using the ask or the bid price, just ask yourself which is worse for you, and that will be the price the market is offering for that transaction. Never use a market order on options unless it is a very active, with very tight spreads, and you are concerned about the market “running away” from you.

      — Vance

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