The Metatrader 4 is one a popular choice among forex traders. It is a complete charting, trading and testing software.
You can use the Metatrader 4 to trade any markets that are available. Do not feel intimidated by this trading platform. It is very easy to set up and use. Beginners will take a while to get used to this trading platform.
But the advantage is that if you have used any other charting or trading platform, using MT4 is easy.
On the other hand, if you are completely new to forex, even then, the MT4 platform is not that difficult.
In this guide on MT4, we will walk you through the three main aspects.
- How to install and use metatrader 4
- Navigation of the MT4 platform
- Different functionalities when you use metatrader 4 platform
The MT4 is a popular trading platform for a reason. It is one of the oldest and most widely used trading terminals.
In the forex markets, the MT4 is the go-to terminal of choice among traders.
The Metatrader 4 platform is also free to use and comes with a rich collection of trading tools and indicators.
Let's take a look at how you can use Metatrader 4 to analyze the markets and to trade forex using this trading platform.
Brief history about Metatrader 4
The MT4 trading software is developed by Metaquotes. Over the years, this company has built a strong community of traders. Therefore, it is very easy for traders to find any indicators they want.
Because MT4 is such a popular trading platform, the cost of developing your own indicators or expert advisers is cheap.
Besides the Metatrader 4, the MT5 platform is also slowly gaining in popularity. This is a slightly advanced version of MT4.
However, there are some issues regarding compatibility. Hence, MT4 is more widely adopted in the markets than MT5. You are of course free to trade using any of these two options.
But it will entirely depend on what trading platform your forex broker offers. Below is a summary of the Metatrader 4 functionality and features.
Different choice of markets
With Metatrader 4, you are not just confined to the forex market.
You can use the MT4 platform for trading other markets like Indices, stocks and commodities.
The type of markets available on your MT4 trading platform depends on the instruments that your forex broker offers.
Metatrader 4 can be used to trade the futures markets as well. Traders can easily customize the trading platform to suit their needs.
Installing MT4 on your desktop
The MetaTrader 4 platform is available free of cost from Rockfort Markets. You can click here to download the MT4 and open a demo trading account.
Once the download completes, you can then double click on the executable file. Follow the on-screen instructions.
After the MT4 installation is complete, you are now ready to use this trading platform. Open the Metatrader application, which will prompt you to login with your credentials.
You can use either your demo trading account login or your real account login. Give the application a few minutes to load the default set up.
Once the setup is complete, you are now ready to use Metatrader for analyzing the currency markets, use technical analysis on your charts and much more.
Frequently asked questions about MT4 installation
As a new trader, you must be excited. We are sure that you have a lot of questions regarding this trading platform.
Before you go about creating your MT4 account, this section will answer some of the commonly asked questions about Metatrader 4.
Can I use MT4 on Mac or Linux?
The Metatrader program is built to work on the Windows operating system by default. But you can extend it to work on Mac and Linux machines too.
You will need to use a virtual program such as Wine or Parallels to get it up and running.
What can I do with the MT4 platform besides trading?
Besides placing orders and analyzing charts, you can do many things with the Metatrader 4 platform. Below are some of the additional capabilities of this trading platform.
Use strategy tester to backtest indicators visually
Use the strategy tester to quickly test the historical performance of your forex expert adviser
Connect directly to the MQL5.com marketplace and download indicators automatically
Set up alerts when price reaches a specific level. You can get these alerts sent to your phones or via email
Can I use mobile trading with MT4?
Yes, you can buy or sell in the forex markets on the MT4 platform. This trading platform is available on your desktop, mobile and as a browser based trading platform.
For mobile versions of MT4, you can download via the iTunes store or the Google Play store. These native apps have almost the same features as the desktop.
The only problem with mobile MT4 trading platforms is that it does not allow you to run automated trading strategies. You cannot also use any custom indicators when using mobile MT4 trading.
Can I install more than one MT4 trading platform?
Yes, you can install as many MT4 programs as you want. Just make sure to use a separate login for each of these installations.
Professional forex traders in general have at least two installations of MT4. One is used for demo trading, while the other is used for their real account.
MT4 Navigation Overview
The Metatrader 4 navigation is not at all complicated. If you are completely new to forex trading, it may take a while to get used to this trading platform.
The MT4 is divided into various sections.
- Top Menu: In the main menu you can access all the features available on MT4
- Left window: This is where your market watch, indicator window is placed. You can enable or disable this section
- Chart window: This is the main area when you will spend most of your time. You can use the chart window to place orders directly or to use technical analysis
- Bottom panel: In the bottom panel of metatrader 4 you have features related to trading and other things. There is a collection of different tabs such as Trade, Exposure, Account History, News and so on. You can minimize this section by double clicking in the empty space after the Journal tab
There are many things to cover about the Metatrader 4 platform. In this article we will highlight the main trading platform features for MT4.
How to customize the Market watch window
The market watch window is a collection of your favorite currency pairs or instruments. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + M to quickly enable or hide the market watch tab.
This section comprises of the list of instruments and their bid and ask prices. Right-click on any instrument in this market watch tab to either place a trade or to open the chart.
The market watch window also shows you other additional information. For example, you can look at the instrument specifications.
You have the option to customize the Market watch window by adding or removing instruments that you like. Right click and then select symbols or press Ctrl + U to open the symbols window.
To enable the instruments, double click on the instrument. You can also click on the Show/Hide buttons in the Symbols window on MT4.
How to create chart templates in MT4?
The MT4 trading chart templates allow traders to save their most-used chart settings. This saves you a lot of time.
All the open charts in your MetaTrader can be resized. The chart window can be set to any size you want.
Alternately, use the Arrange Windows or Alt + R function to position the chart window vertically, horizontally or stacked side by side.
You can create a custom MT4 chart with your set of indicators and give it a name and save the chart template.
One of the biggest benefits of using the chart templates in MT4 is that you can also send them to your friends. As long as they have the same indicators on their trading terminal, they can load the template and view the same charts as you do.
Exporting the MT4 charts
Using the chart templates, you can create your trading strategy with the different indicators and save it.
The MT4 charts allow you to easily customize the chart including changing the color scheme among other things.
The MT4 chart template is saved as .tpl extension. You can also install custom templates you may receive from others.
To save the template, click on the File in the MT4 menu and select Open data folder.
This will open a new window where your MT4 profile is saved. Double-click on the templates folder and save your .tpl file there.
Using this same folder, you can also copy the .tpl file and share it with your friends.
Resetting the charts - Drawing tools and Indicators in Metatrader 4
At any point in time, you can reset your MT4 charts. This will allow you to clear indicators and also any drawing tools you may already have.
You may need to reset the charts in Metatrader 4 especially if you are heavily into technical analysis. The charts can get cluttered very easily.
From time to time, it is good to clean up the charts.
To do this, click on the chart and select the Objects list. You can use the Ctrl + B shortcut to bring this up.
In MT4, the object list on the chart is enabled only if you have at least one drawing object on the chart.
The object window displays all the drawing elements on the chart.
In a similar way you can also bring up the list of indicators used on the charts in Metatrader 4.
Click on the chart and select Indicators List or use Ctrl + I option. This will open the indicator window which shows all the indicators this chart is using.
Introduction to drawing tools in Metatrader 4
The drawing tools on Metatrader 4 are featured packed. There are many different options to choose from the drawing tools section.
You can access the drawing tools via the Insert menu. You will then see a list of various drawing groups to choose from.
Pick either trend lines, horizontal or vertical lines via the Lines group, or use the Fibonacci to find the Fibo retracement tools.
To use these tools on your forex charts, select any of the tool and then click on the chart. Pick any price point and drag the tool to where you want it to be.
Double-clicking these drawing tools allows you to modify the drawings any time you want to.
How to use indicators in MT4
Indicators will be most common function you will use on Metatrader 4 if you are using technical analysis. To pick an indicator, click on Insert > Indicators from the main menu.
This will open a drop-down of the standard or default technical indicators you can use on your MT4 charts.
The indicators are grouped into different sections such as Trend, Oscillators, Volume, etc.
If you have custom indicators, then navigate to the Custom group. This will open all the custom indicators that you have saved on your MT4 trading platform.
If you want to always enable the indicators for easy access, then use the keyboard short cut Ctrl + N. Or click on the Navigator icon or click on View > Navigator.
The MT4 navigator will display your trading account details, indicators, expert advisors and scripts.
You can expand or collapse any of these sections in your trading terminal. To modify the indicator settings can double click on the indicator name from the window.
Depending on what indicator you use, the settings can be adjusted. Some traders prefer to receive alerts when there is a buy or sell signal triggered. These options are enabled from the indicator modification settings.
How to trade on MT4
Using the Metatrader 4 order window
The Metatrader 4 order window allows you place different orders along with using stop loss and take profit levels.
You can trade at the market price using the market order and you can also place a pending order.
There are two ways you can place a trade on the MT4 platform.
- Using keyboard shortcuts
- Clicking the buy and sell buttons
One of the best features of MT4 is that you can trade directly from the chart. It is known as one-click trading.
This easy way to place a trade on MT4 platform saves you time. We recommend enabling the One-Click Trading, if you frequently use market orders.
If you prefer pending order such as limit or stop orders, then you can use the keyboard shortcut F9 to open the order window.
Metatrader 4 order types
In this order window you can change the drop-down from Market execution to Pending order and then choose from:
- Buy Limit: Use the buy limit order if you want to set a pending order below the current price
- Sell Limit: Use sell limit order to place a pending order above the current price
- Buy Stop: Use buy stop to set a pending order above the current price
- Sell Stop: A sell stop order allows you to set a pending order below the current price
Each of these MT4 order types allow you to set the entry price, stop loss and take profit price.
You can also specify the order expiry time. When enabled, the pending order is automatically cancelled if it is not triggered by the expiry time you set.
You can open the order window via the keyboard short cut F9 to place a new order.
To modify an existing order in Metatrader 4, you will have to right-click on the trade in the trading window at the bottom.
From here, you can modify the trade details like changing the stop loss and take profit levels, or even close your trade partially.
How to backtest forex strategies and EA in Metatrader 4?
The Metatrader 4 offers you the functionality to backtest indicators and EA's before you use them. This is possible from the Strategy Tester function.
Click on View > Strategy Tester or press Ctrl + R on your keyboard.
Depending on whether you want to backtest an indicator or an EA, you can select the drop down. Then choose the currency pair or instrument you want to backtest on.
In Metatrader 4, the backtesting works only if you are using the indicators and EA's built for the MT4 trading platform. This can be either .mql4 or .ex4 file extensions.
Then choose the time frame and the duration of the back testing. You will need good tick data to use the backtesting feature more effectively.
Traders can execute the backtesting functionality using the visual mode (which takes much longer) or the quick mode.
For backtesting forex indicators, it is recommended to use the visual mode.
How make your first trade in MT4
To place a trade on the MT4 platform, you will typically take the following steps:
- Pick a currency pair or any instrument of your choice from the Market Watch window
- Analyze the currency pair or instrument using indicators or price action methods
- Place a pending order or the market order
After your place your trade on MT4, the next obvious step is to monitor the trade. This can be done by clicking on the trade tab in the lower terminal window.
This trade tab displays the list of pending orders and open trades. You can cancel your pending orders or close your open trades from this trade tab window in the terminal section.
The trailing stop function in MetaTrader 4 allows you to input a number of pips. Once done and enabled, the trailing stop feature will automatically lock in the specified number of pips.
The trade tab shows the currency pairs or instruments you have any open or pending positions.
There are also additional features in the trade tab such as displaying comments, toggling the grid layout, show profit as points or term currency or base currency.
We recommend you leave the settings at default initially.
Summary - Using Metatrader 4 in forex
In conclusion, this introductory guide to MT4 forex trading will help you to navigate the charts, place, modify and delete orders.
You can also test the strategy window to see how to visually back test indicators and expert advisors. Once you get accustomed to the basic functions of this trading platform, you will discover new things.
There are many more features on Metatrader 4 including downloading historical data, connecting to external API's and so on.
The Metatrader 4 platform also allows you to automate things via the script functions. But these are topics for another article.
If you are just starting out, we recommend downloading the Metatrader 4 platform and open a demo account. Using this demo account, you can then test the various functions.
You can also trade the forex markets directly from your demo trading account. This will help you to avoid any expensive mistakes such as making a bad trade or forgetting to modify or delete order.