January 13, 2020

Full User Guide - MetaTrader4 (MT4) Trading Platform

Learn about MT4 and how to use its main features, tools and options.

mt4-metatrader4-trading-platform-guide-maual mt4-metatrader4-trading-platform-guide-maual

List of Online MT4 Brokers


The Foreign Exchange Market

The FX market is the single biggest trading market in the world.

There is no central exchange that can report the volume traded, but it is estimated that over $4 trillion is traded every day.

Because the FX market has such high liquidity, is open 24 hours and can have quite high volatility, it is very attractive for traders.

MetaTrader4 (MT4) trading platform

The retail FX market is dominated by the MetaTrader 4 (or MT4) trading platform.

MetaTrader 4 is a highly sophisticated trading package which is largely based around charting and automated trading strategies.

It allows traders to fully customise their trading experience using a variety of tools.

This guide is an introduction to the tools that are available within MetaTrader4.

Getting Started – Beginner’s Guide to MT4

1. Market Watch Window (Pricing)

The Market Watch window provides a quick view of the current market price across a range of Symbols.

It is also the central point to drive the charting and trading functionality from.

mt4 metatrader4 market watch window

The menu shown here can be accessed by right clicking on a symbol.

You can set-up the symbols that are displayed by selecting “Hide”, “Hide All”, “Show All” or “Symbols”.

The last of these options lets you set the individual symbols that are shown.

It is also possible to display the High Bid and Low Offer for the day as well as the last time the price was updated.

We recommend that you only have the Symbols displayed that you are using.

By hiding the remaining symbols, you will reduce the amount of data that your broker sends you which may speed up your platform in a fast moving market.

2. Market Price Charts

mt4 metatrader4 market price chart setting

MetaTrader 4 is designed around charting.

You can have as many charts open as you need.

Each chart can be tailored to each users specific needs.

The first place to look for customising charts is in the Properties section.

Change chart colours, chart type (bar/candle/line)

From here you can set the chart colours, chart type (bar/candle/line), as well as a variety of other options.

mt4 metatrader4 market price chart setting property

Charts can be viewed for one of 9 time scales (1 min, 5 mins, 15 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour, 4 hours, 1 day, 1 week and 1 month) by selecting the appropriate option from the right click menu or from the tool bar.

Adding Technical Indicators on MT4

The charts in MetaTrader 4 really come into their own when you start adding Indicators to them.

These are graphical visualisations of any sort of analysis.

They range from standard analysis like Moving Average, MACD or Bollinger Bands to anything you can imagine.

To see the Indicators that are available, look at the Navigator Window.

Adding Technical Indicators on MT4

To add an Indicator to a chart, you just need to drag and drop the Indicator description onto the chart.

When the Indicator has been dropped onto a chart, a dialogue box will pop up to configure it.

Each Indicator has different parameters, so read the documentation for each one to see how they should be configured.

Adding Technical Indicators on MT4 setting

The example shows a configuration screen and the resulting chart for a Gator Oscillator Indicator.

You can add as many indicator as you like to each chart.

Adding Technical Indicators on MT4 on chart

Invest Online with MT4 Brokers

Trading on MT4 – Order Types

1. Market Execution

Market Execution orders are also known as At Market orders.

They are a request to trade an amount of a Symbol at the current market price.

To trade, you can double click on a symbol in the Market Watch window or right click on a chart and select “New Order” from the “Trading” menu.

A new window will pop up where you enter the number of lots you are going to trade and if you are buying or selling.

market order execution mt4

If you decide to trade, click on Buy or Sell, the screen will either confirm the trade has been executed or report some sort of error (e.g. Market Is Closed or Not Enough Money Left).

After a Market Order has been executed, you can add a Limit or Stop order to the trade as described later in this guide.

You cannot set the levels when placing because you do not know exactly what price the trade will be executed at until the fill is confirmed.

2. Pending Orders – Limit and Stop orders

Limit/Stop orders can be placed using the same method as Market Execution above.

This time you need to change the Type to “Pending Order”.

As before, you specify the Volume.

pending orders mt4

This time you also need to set the price you want to open a position at.

You can also set a linked limit and stop level here.

All the price levels you enter in the ticket are reflected graphically on the tick chart to the right of the ticket and are plotted against the current market bid/offer.

The ticket also shows how close to the market you can place limit and stop orders.

Normally, online FX brokers have no restrictions on price levels that Pending Orders can be placed.

That means you can place limit and stop orders inside the spread if you want to.

3. Close and Close By

Unlike some other trading platforms, trades in MetaTrader 4 do not close using FIFO.

You have to specifically select which trades you are closing.

You can do that by double clicking on an open trade in the Trade Management area (described below).

From the ticket you can click on the Yellow button to close the trade.

If you only want to partially close the trade you can select a different volume in the ticket.

position close mt4

Sometimes you may forget to close a position and unintentionally have two opposing positions.

While you are technically flat (i.e. have no open position), you will still accumulate Swap charges as long as those trades are open.

If this happens you could close each trade, but that would mean paying the spread or commission twice.

There is an alternative where you can internally match the trades against each other to close them out.

To do this, open a ticket to close one of the trades.

Rather than using a Market Execution order, change the type to “Close By”.

This will show a list of open trades which can reverse the trade you are closing.

Select one or more of these trades and place the order.

This will immediately match the trades against each other and realise and P/L you have made.

You have the option to select which trades close out which other trades.

There are more options to close one trade by several other trades.

close by position mt4

Open MT4 Trading Account with a Broker

Trade Management

1. Managing open positions (trades)

The Trade tab shows your current trading position.

It shows all open trades followed by a summary bar.

Finally there is a list of all your Pending Orders that haven’t been executed yet after the grey bar.

The information in this screen updates in real time so that you can monitor your P/L and Margin usage as prices update tick by tick.

By default all the P/L values are in the Account Base (or Deposit) currency.

There is an option in the right click menu to change the figures to be the Term currency of the Symbol or the number of points.

The summary screen will always remain in the Account Base currency.

terminal window position management mt4

If your position starts moving against you, the grey bar could turn red.

This means you are on margin call.

It means you need to monitor your account carefully and may need to deposit more funds with your broker to maintain your positions.

Alternatively you could close some positions to free up margin which will fund other open positions.

From this screen you can also attach or modify your limit/stop levels that are linked to this trade by right clicking on an Open Trade and selecting “Modify or Delete Order”.

You can also attach a Trailing Stop as described later in this document.

2. Checking Account History on MT4

Your entire trading history can be accessed through the “Account History” tab at the bottom of your screen.

You can right click on the screen to select the time period to report on.

The screen will fill up with all the transactions that have been closed during that period.

At the end of the transactions, there is a grey bar which shows a summary of everything during the period, including your P/L and total deposits and withdrawals.

The data in this report can also be exported so that it can be used in other applications for further analysis by right clicking and selecting “Save as Report”.

terminal mt4 history

3. Symbol (financial instrument) Information on MT4

MetaTrader 4 enables trading across a full range of products.

Each product is configured differently, but there is a way for you to get access to information about the set-up.

The contract specification dialogue can be loaded from the Market Watch window.

First you need to right click and load the Symbols dialogue.

After you have selected the product you want details on, click on “Properties”.

The dialogue below will be loaded.

To find out what any of the fields mean, click on the question mark in the title bar and then click on the title.

mt4 symbol contract specification

Choose a MT4 Broker

Advanced Features of MT4

1. Custom Indicators on price charts

MetaTrader 4 comes with a large selection of charting indicators built into the platform.

While this will satisfy a lot traders, there are always new strategies emerging or you may have your own strategies that you want to visualise on your trading platform.

That is why MetaTrader 4 offers Custom Indicators that give you access to unlimited ways of visualising your charts.

You can download new indicators from the MetaTrader 4 on-line library or from other repositories on the Internet.

To show a Custom Indicator, you drag it onto a chart in exactly the same way as a standard Indicator.

customer indicator mt4

2. Custom Scripts on MT4

Scripts are simple tools that are similar to Macros.

They allow you to automate simple tasks as well as more complicated combinations of tasks that need to be performed regularly and sometimes quickly.

Scripts are designed to be used when there is a discrete task that completes almost as soon as it starts.

Common examples are deleting all pending orders, closing all open trades, or simply placing a trade.

To run a Script, all you need to do is drag it from the Navigator section (below the Custom Indicators) and drop it on a chart.

That will give the Script the information about which Symbol you want to run the script on.

Everything else should just happen.

3. Expert Advisors for automated trading

Expert Advisors (or EAs) take the Macro concept, combine them with Custom Indicators and extend then to take over all your trading.

That might sound scary to a lot of people, but for others it is perfect.

A lot of traders use charting strategies to determine every trade they place.

Often, these strategies break down as soon as human emotion or human delays kick in.

So if you have a strategy that you are fully committed to, why not use EAs to take the emotion out of your trading, make your strategies work faster and run 24 hours a day?

Like the other advanced features in MetaTrader 4 there are thousands of examples to download from the platform itself, and even more available to download from the Internet.

All of them can be tested on our demo system before you commit to using them on your live trading account.

Using an Expert Advisor couldn’t be more simple.

All you need to do is add the EA to a chart in exactly the same way as an indicator (see the Charting Section above).

When you add it to the chart, some extra configuration parameters appear.

These are important to set-up correctly so that the EA performs the way you are expecting.

The configuration is across two tabs:

ea expert adviser mt4

The first tab lets us set-up some general trading behaviours.

The key ones here are if you want to allow live trading, and if there should be some sort of manual confirmation before placing a trade.

A slightly more technical option is “Allow DLL imports”.

This should never be selected unless you completely trust the developer of the EA.

By selecting the option, you are allowing the EA to use third party libraries which can add significant power to your trading but can also expose you to other unknown functionality.

ea expert adviser mt4 metatrader4

The second tab sets up all the parameters the EA needs to execute it’s strategy.

These will vary between EAs and so we can’t go into any detail here.

There is a common option for most EAs; the Lots or LotSize.

This sets the size of any trades the EA will place for you.

Care should be taken when setting up these parameters, especially the Lots.

You can see when an EA is installed on a chart because there will either be a smiley face (for active trading) or a sad face (when Live Trading has not been selected).

4. MetaEditor – programming

The features we have talked about so far in this section give unrivalled flexibility and power.

Other than the ones provided with the software by default, there are a huge number of Indicators, Scripts and Expert Advisors available to download on the Internet.

If you can’t find what you are looking for, all is not lost – you can create your own.

MetaTrader 4 provides a fully featured programming language so that you can create your own Indicators, Scripts and Expert Advisers.

We understand that this may be more than a lot of people want to take on by themselves.

If you have custom requirements we will make every effort to introduce you to people who may be able to help deliver your requirements.

All the custom scripts can be tested on our demo system quickly and simply for no charge.

5. Trailing Stops

A Trailing Stop is a tool that allows you to set a target for a maximum loss for an open position that moves in your favour as the market moves in your favour.

It is a great tool for conservative and long term traders.

You can place a Trailing Stop by right clicking on a position and selecting “Trailing Stop”.

From here you can set how close to the current market price the stop should be set.

There are a number of pre-set levels or you can set your own.

trailing stop mt4 metatrader4

From here, a Stop Loss order is placed as soon as the position is in profit by at least the selected number of points.

Each time the difference between the market price and the stop order is greater than the trailing limit, the system will modify the level of the stop order.

If the market moves towards the stop order, it is not modified.

Important Note: The Trailing Stop feature only works while the MetaTrader 4 front end is running. If your front end is not connected, the stop order level will not be updated. That could happen if you shut down your computer, lose your Internet connection or if your computer goes to sleep.

6. VPS – Virtual Private Servers

A Virtual Private Server (or VPS) is a server that is running in the “cloud” 24/7.

If you are interested in using the advanced features listed in this section, it is important that your MetaTrader 4 system is connected 24 hours a day during the trading week.

If your system is not connected for any reason, it is possible that you will miss targets set by your strategy.

Many online FX brokers offer a VPS service which offers a cost effective and reliable solution for staying connected to their MetaTrader 4 system

All Forex Brokers

  • IFC Markets
  • FxPro
  • IronFX
  • Axiory
  • FBS
  • Land-FX
  • MyFX Markets
  • Titan FX
  • Traders Trust
  • XM
  • LMFX
  • FXDD
  • ForexClub
  • KVB Kunlun
  • Tradeview
  • EightCap
  • FXOpen
  • HotForex
  • FXGiants
  • Fortrade
  • CM Trading
  • InstaForex
  • ForexMart
  • Valutrades
  • AvaTrade
  • Yadix
  • easyMarkets
  • JustForex
  • Swiss Markets
  • FXTM
  • HYCM
  • FP Markets
  • SimpleFX
  • IC Markets
  • Evolve Markets
  • Tickmill
  • UFX
  • Anzo Capital
  • LiteForex
  • 4xCube
  • OctaFX
  • Tifia
  • XTB
  • AAAFx
  • NordFX
  • FXGlory
  • Capex
  • ClickTrades
  • TopstepFX
  • HotForex ZA (South Africa)
  • XMTrading
  • GMOTrading
  • PaxForex
  • ITRADER Global
  • FortFS
  • MiltonMarkets
  • ETFinance

All Crypto-Currency Exchanges

  • CEX.IO
  • HitBTC
  • Paxful
  • BitMEX
  • C-CEX
  • Binance
  • YObit
  • Wisebitcoin
  • Bibox
  • BKEX
  • CoinPark
  • CoinEx
  • CoinField
  • bybit
  • Bitpanda
  • WCX

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