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Complete list of trading order types

Every major trading order type and option, all in one place.

Always check the fee schedule of your exchange before you trade — the fee rules listed below are generic only and may not apply to your trading experience.

Orders are how traders communicate their intentions to the market. By learning how they work, you can better navigate the market and eliminate a lot of costly mistakes.

This Guide is written with cryptocurrency markets in mind. Because crypto markets rarely “gap”, the expressed effects of some order types here may differ from their characteristics in traditional markets.

Use the sidebar on the right to skip ahead to any particular order type or option.

Basic Order Types

Limit order

Limit orders let you specify the price your order will execute at. When submitted, limit orders enter the order book until matched with another trader’s order. Because limit orders enter the order book, they contribute liquidity to the market and are known as “maker” orders. Limit orders are often charged the lesser “maker” fee. Limit orders are not guaranteed to fill.

The time it takes a limit order to execute is not fixed — you must wait for the market to reach your limit price first. Limit orders can partially fill as well. This means that your order may fill a little bit at one time and the rest later.

How to use limit orders

You can use limit orders to anticipate the market. You can buy at a lower price (wait for the price to fall) or sell at a higher price (wait for the price to go up) with limit orders.

  • Buy limit orders should be placed below market price

  • Sell limit orders should be placed above market price

Limit orders submitted to the wrong side of the order book will instantly match with the best opposing order. When this happens, they remove liquidity (they were not posted to the order book) and are often charged the higher “taker” fee.

Market Order

Market orders execute instantly upon submission. Market orders do not let you choose the price your order will execute at — market orders match with the best available limit orders in the order book. Because market orders automatically match with limit orders at the top of the order book, they remove liquidity from the market and are known as “taker” orders. Market orders are often charged the higher “taker” fee.

Market orders are vulnerable to slippage — the unfavorable change in price that may occur when matching with multiple orders in the order book.

How to use market orders

You can use market orders to buy or sell immediately. The trade-off for instant execution is a higher fee (usually) and an acceptance of market conditions. Large market orders are more susceptible to slippage than smaller ones — check the order book or market depth chart before submitting.

Slippage is when an order fills at a worse price than expected.

Stop Loss

Stop loss orders are designed to limit a trader’s loss on a trade, as the name implies. You choose the price the stop loss order is triggered at (called a “stop price”), similar to a limit order. However, stop loss orders trigger a market order to buy or sell when the stop price is reached. There is no guarantee the stop loss will fill at the stop price — since a market order is triggered, stop loss orders are vulnerable to slippage.

How to use stop loss orders

The rules for placing a stop loss successfully are opposite to a limit order:

  • Buy stop loss orders should be placed above market price

  • Sell stop loss orders should be placed below market price

Traders often use stop loss orders to close their positions at an acceptable level of loss, or at a price where their market predictions become invalidated. If the position is in profit, a trader can “lock in” profits by moving the stop price past the price they entered the position at (towards market price).

Because stop loss orders are submitted in an opposite manner to limit orders, they are sometimes used to open trades when breakouts or breakdowns occur.

See also:

Take Profit

Take profit orders are often used to close a position in profit, as the name implies. You choose the price the take profit order is triggered at (called a “profit price”), similar to a limit order. However, take profit orders trigger a market order to buy or sell when the profit price is reached. There is no guarantee the take profit will fill at the profit price — since a market order is triggered, take profit orders are vulnerable to slippage.

How to use take profit orders

Take profit orders are placed according to the same rules as limit orders:

  • Buy take profit orders should be placed below market price

  • Sell take profit orders should be placed above market price

The advantage take profit orders have over limit orders is that they are guaranteed to fill completely because they become market orders when the profit price is reached (provided there are sufficient orders to match with in the order book).

See also:

Advanced Order Types

Stop Limit

Stop limit orders are a variant of the stop loss that convert to a limit order when the stop price is reached. You must input two prices for a stop limit order:

  • The stop price, which triggers the stop limit order

  • The limit price, which determines the lowest sell price or highest buy price you are willing to accept.

How to use stop limit orders

The rules for stop loss orders apply to the stop price:

  • Buy stop limit: stop price should be above market price

  • Sell stop limit: stop price should be below market price

Setting the limit price near the stop price improves the likelihood that the limit order will fill. The limit order generated by a Stop Limit order behaves like a normal limit order.

To prevent the stop limit order from executing immediately, always follow the rules for placing the stop price. Traders often set the limit price lower than the stop price to limit slippage on the order.

Below are some examples of what you might expect when setting the stop and limit prices for a stop limit order:

Stop limit in a long position (sell stop limit)

Stop price vs limit price

Reasoning

Effect

Risk

Limit price higher than stop price

Trader expects price to rebound

Stop limit posted to correct side of the order book, executes as a limit order

Stop limit order may not fill

Limit price lower than stop price

Trader expects price to fall further

Stop limit posted to the wrong side of the order book, fills at market price.

Risk of slippage, higher fees almost certain (depends on fee schedule).

Stop limit in a short position (buy stop limit)

Stop price vs limit price

Reasoning

Effect

Risk

Limit price lower than stop price

Trader expects price to rebound

Stop limit posted to correct side of the order book, executes as a limit order

Stop limit order may not fill

Limit price higher than stop price

Trader expects price to rise further

Stop limit posted to the wrong side of the order book, fills at market price.

Risk of slippage, higher fees almost certain (depends on fee schedule).

Take Profit Limit

Take profit limit orders are a variant of the take profit order type. Like take profit orders, they are generally used to close a position at a target price level. Unlike take profit orders, however, take profit limit orders trigger a limit order when the profit price is reached.

How to use take profit limit orders

You must set two prices when programming a take profit limit order:

  • The profit price: the price level that, when touched by the market, activates a limit order

  • The limit price: the price you want the limit order to fill at (limit orders execute at the limit price or better)

Both the profit price and the limit price must follow the rules for setting limit prices:

  • Buy take profit limit: profit and limit prices should be placed below market price

  • Sell take profit limit: profit and limit prices should be placed above market price

Keep in mind that market price will be at or near your profit price when it triggers.

Take profit limit in a long position (sell take profit)

Profit price vs limit price

Reasoning

Effect

Risk

Limit price higher than profit price

Trader expects price to continue rising beyond profit price (more profit)

Limit order posted to correct side of the order book, executes as a limit order

Limit order may not fill if the price does not continue to rise

Limit price lower than profit price

Trader wants to set a minimum fill price, protect against slippage (limit orders fill at limit price or better)

Limit posted to the wrong side of the order book, fills at market price.

Higher fees are almost certain (depends on fee schedule)

Take profit limit in a short position (buy take profit)

Profit price vs limit price

Reasoning

Effect

Risk

Limit price lower than profit price

Trader expects price to continue falling beyond profit price (more profit)

Limit order posted to correct side of the order book, executes as a limit order

Limit order may not fill if the price does not continue to fall

Limit price higher than profit price

Trader wants to set a maximum fill price, protect against slippage (limit orders fill at limit price or better)

Limit posted to wrong side of the order book. Will likely begin filling the order immediately at market price, when profit price triggers.

Higher fees are almost certain (depends on fee schedule)

Trailing Stop

Trailing stop orders are a variant of the stop loss where the stop price moves in relation to market price. The stop price can be set as a fixed percentage or dollar amount from market price. This helps to lock in profits and removes the work of updating your stop loss manually as your position profits.

When the price pulls back (opposing the position direction) the trailing stop order remains in place. If the price pulls back to cover the entire percentage/dollar amount of your trail, then the trailing stop order is triggered. This reduces the risk attached to an open position, protecting profit as the market moves in your desired direction.

How to use trailing stop orders

To set the stop price of a trailing stop order, follow the same rules as a basic stop loss:

  • Buy trailing stop: stop price should be above market price

  • Sell trailing stop: stop price should be below market price

Analyze the market to determine how far away to set your trail amount. If set too closely, any minor pullback will trigger the stop loss, potentially ending the position before the price continues favorably. Setting the trail too far away will defeat the purpose of the trailing stop — you may be allowing the trend to reverse direction entirely before your trailing stop is triggered.

Trailing Stop Limit

Trailing stop limit orders combine the characteristics of the trailing stop and the stop limit. You can set the stop price to “trail” market price by a fixed dollar amount or percentage. When the market pulls back the entire amount of the trail, the stop price is hit and a limit order is triggered.

How to use trailing stop limit orders

There are three inputs required in a trailing stop limit (apart from price & quantity):

  • The trail amount, as a dollar amount or percentage

  • A stop price: the price level that, when touched by the market, activates the limit order

  • A limit price: the price you want the order to execute at (limit orders execute at the limit price or better)

The trail represents the distance that the market must reverse in direction before the stop price is triggered. The stop price must be touched by the market to activate the limit order. Once triggered, the limit order becomes active.

See Stop Limit to learn more about setting the stop and limit prices for trailing stop limit orders.

Conditional orders

The following entries are conditions that tie separate orders together for a variety of effects. Conditional orders are considered order types as well, however they are composed of order types in the Basic and Advanced sections above.

OCO — One cancels the other

OCO (One cancels the other) orders come in pairs, where the execution of one order automatically cancels the other.

Example of an OCO:

If a trader has an open long position, they might program their stop loss and take profit orders as an OCO order. This would let them have two exit orders open at the same time, with no risk of the second order executing after the position is closed by the first order. If take profit is triggered, for example, the stop loss would be automatically cancelled.

OSO — One sends the other

Also known as a conditional close, OSO (One sends the other) orders activate a second order only if the primary order executes.

Example of an OSO:

If a trader is entering the market, they may submit a limit order to open the position. They can use an OSO/conditional close order to automatically open a stop loss when their limit order executes. If they were to submit both orders normally, the stop loss could fill before the limit order, leaving them in a bad trade.

OCA — One cancels all

The OCA (One cancels all) order type lets traders program multiple (3 or more), potentially unrelated orders as a group with the effect that when one order executes, all others are automatically cancelled. If one of the orders can only be partially filled, the other orders will remain open and adjusted to include the remaining value of the partially filled order.

Example of an OCA:

If submitted through a brokerage, a trader can use this order type to spread their budget across multiple asset types (most cryptocurrency exchanges require an order be submitted to a single market). A trader may also use OCA orders to attempt multiple entries into/exits out of a single market.

Fill options

These are options attached to an order that impose limits how the order can fill.

Fill or kill / All or none

The order must be able to fill completely or be cancelled with no fill.

Post limit / Post only

This prevents the order from being posted to the wrong side of the order book. Traders use this option to ensure at least part of their limit order is filled as a “maker” order.

Reduce only

Forces the order to only execute if it would close a position or reduce the open volume of the position. If a reduce only order would open a position, or increase its size, the order is instead cancelled.

IOC — Immediate or cancel

IOC (Immediate or cancel) orders must buy or sell as much of the order’s volume as possible immediately — any unfilled amount is cancelled.

Iceberg / Hidden Orders

Iceberg orders (a.k.a. Hidden orders) divide a large order size into smaller, equally-sized limit orders. Each equal part is submitted to the market individually over a period of time. The purpose is to hide the actual order quantity — sometimes, large orders can affect the price of an asset by their presence in the order book alone.