This page will contain finer points that arise from user questions.
Question: When using the Option Calculator (early morning) I noticed that the prices appeared to be a little different from the prices in the tables reported by CBOE. The differences are small (e.g., 0.05, 0.10) but why is this the case?
Answer: The CBOE gets some prices from options trading on Amex. The distinction is in the quote label. For example: AE-A refers to a price from Amex, and AE-E from the CBOE. The calculator does not put in the last part (i.e. the -A or -E) since otherwise the user has to know which exchange the option trades on. But the CBOE collects data from all exchanges and consolidates which can lead to small differences between prices.
To let a user specify where the price comes from the calculator has been modified slightly so that below the label Get Option Quote you now have a choice --- "Any" and "CBOE." So "Any" just picks up the latest (delayed) from CBOE's consolidation and "CBOE" picks it up from CBOE's reported table.
Question: What part of the option symbol do I enter?
Answer: Only the name not the additional information about maturity, strike price etc., This is the first set of characters before the first blank. The additional information is not specified because it is specified directly in the Calculator by selecting the appropriate maturity month and entering the strike price directly (which is easier than remembering the codes for this). For some options the name is the same as the stock ticker (e.g., IBM regular options) but for most it is not. In addition the name can vary with the time to maturity and strike price. So it is advisable to look at the symbols table on CBOE to check the name. For example, INTC (Intel) uses the names NQ and INQ and Microsoft (MSFT) uses the names MQF and MSQ. To check the names by contract go to: http://quote.cboe.com/QuoteTable.asp and enter the stock ticker.