The MetaTrader4 platform, also known as the MT4 platform, is a trading platform on which traders can trade predominantly currencies. Some forex brokers have also added a few other instruments outside of the forex domain such as spot metals (gold and silver), crude oil and stock indices. But the predominant financial assets traded on MT4 remain currencies.
In this MT4 trading tutorial, we will go over the necessary functions which every trader who uses MT4 (or intends to use MT4) must know.
Opening Orders on the MT4 Trading Platform
Six types of orders can be opened on the MT4 platform. These are:
- Buy Stop
- Sell Stop
- Buy Limit
- Sell Limit
- Market Buy
- Market sell
The first four order types are pending orders while the last two order types are market orders.
Pending orders are used when current prices of a currency pair is unattractive (either too costly or there is a chance that the trade will go against the trader) and there is an expectation of the trader that conditions in future will favour a profitable trade. A typical example is when a trader is looking to sell a currency, but the price action may still advance northwards before it reverses. This can be seen when the price is not yet at the nearest resistance. In a situation when the trader feels that the price may advance before it reverses in his expected trade direction, a Limit order is used. If the trader intends to buy, a Buy Limit is used and if he intends to sell, a Sell Limit is used.
Placing a New Order on the MT4 Trading Platform
Click on “New Order” or press F9 on your computer.
- Choose the currency you want to trade in the space marked “Symbol”
- Enter the lot size under “Volume”
- Select “Pending Order”
- Select the pending order type from drop-down menu
- Click on the “Place” button to execute the order
MT4 Trading Tutorial – Placing Instant Orders
These are used to place trades at market price. Follow the procedure above, but instead of selecting “Pending Order”, select “Instant Execution”.
- Set your “stop loss” and “take profit” in the appropriate spaces.
- Then click on either Buy or Sell, depending on what you want to do.
Selecting Indicators on the MT4 Trading Platform
Indicators are used for technical analysis and there are several of them. To choose your preferred technical indicator, follow these steps below:
- On the MT4 platform navigation (located at the top of the screen), choose Insert -> Indicators.
- A drop-down menu will appear. Depending on whether the indicator you want is a trend indicator (e.g. Bollinger band) or a momentum indicator (Stochastics), use your cursor to make the appropriate selection.
The indicator will attach to your chart automatically. You can also use Custom Indicators. These have to be loaded into the appropriate folder of the MT4 program folder on your hard disk. To do this:
- Close the MT4 platform if it is still open.
- Go to your MT4 folder (usually the MT4.exe file runs the software to your “Program Files” folder on your computer) click on MT4 folder->Experts->Indicators. Save the custom indicator file in this folder.
- Open your MT4 platform, and click on “Custom Indicators” on the navigator window on the left-hand side of the platform. If this window is not open, look on top of the MT4 platform screen for the navigation buttons, then click View->Navigator to open this window. Alternatively, press Ctrl + N on your computer keyboard to open it.
- Then select the indicator and attach it to the chart of the currency you want. Usually, the chart must be open for this to happen.
How to change your MT4 Trading Password
You may do this for security purposes, especially if you suspect that your trading password is compromised.
- On the MT4 platform navigation bar (on top of the screen), click on Tools Options. You may also press Ctrl + O.
- In the pop-up, click “Server”. Your login details will show. Usually the password is obscured.
- Click on the “Change” button just to the right of the password space. Another pop-up opens.
- Enter the current password and your new password twice, then click OK. Your password is now changed.
- You can also change your investor password (which gives account statement access but not trading access) in this manner.
Opening a New Chart in MT4 Trading Platform
The Market Watch window on the left of the screen shows all the currencies your broker offers for trading. If this window is not open, press Ctrl + M to open it. To open a new chart,
- Click on File-> New Chart, then select the currency you want to open. If the instrument type opens and not the currency, select “Forex”, then click on the currency you want.
- Alternatively, if the market watch window is open, simply right click on the currency you want, then click on “Chart Window”.
Selecting a Time Frame for the Charts
Simply pressing any of the time frame buttons located just above the chart will change the time frame as you like.
Using the Zoom Tools in the Charts
Look at the snapshot above. Just above and to the right of the timeframe buttons, you can see two buttons with the + and – signs. These are the zoom buttons. + is the Zoom In tool which expands the candlestick charts for better visualization. The Zoom Out tool contracts the charts to enable more of a time frame to be seen. Simply click on them to get your desired effect.
How to navigate the forex charts – MT4
This is used to check historical price data by looking at the previous weeks and months on the charts. To use this tool, click Charts->Autoscroll (to deselect it). Then use your left and arrow buttons or your Page Up/Page Down buttons to scrool back and forth on the charts.
Using Expert Advisors on the MT4 Platform
For traders who wish to trade with forex robots, this is the tool for them.
- To attach your EA, you must first load it into MT4. Close the platform if it is open, then save the EA .ex4 software on MT4 folder->Experts.
- Open the platform, then click Ctrl + N to open the navigation window on the left of the platform screen.
- Click on “Expert Advisors” and either double click or right click to open the pop-up. Check the “Allow Live Trading” button under the “Common” tab, Select “Long and Short positions”, and adjust other parameters you want to adjust, then click OK.
- The EA will show as a face on the top-right of the chart. If the face is frowning, click the “Expert Advisors” tab on the top of the screen to activate this function. The face of the EA should be smiling now, meaning the EA is ready to trade.
Click here for a detailed installation guide on using EA’s on MT4
For MT4 Developers
Coding indicators and robots can be done on MT4 using the MQL programming language. Press the F4 function to open the coding window.
These are the most important functions you need to know on MT4. For a list of MT4 Forex brokers, read the forex broker reviews.