Using Metatrader 4: A User’s Guide
User’s guide to MT4 showing how to set up charts and analytical features in MT4, how to draw technical studies in MT4, how to download and install indicators and expert advisors in MT4, and how to open, close and modify trades in MT4.
This lesson will go through the major primary functionalities of MT4 and demonstrate them using text and screenshots, providing an MT4 tutorial.
Working from the initial screen view that is presented after installation, the toolbars are located at the top of the screen, and are full of icons.
This window is located at the upper left of the screen. It shows a list of currency pairs with their current bid and ask prices.
Symbols / Tick Charts
At the bottom of this window there are tabs which toggle the Market Watch view. “Symbols” presents the view by currency pair as shown in the diagram below, while “Tick Chart” shows the MT4 tick chart with a tick by tick bid and ask prices for any selected currency pair.
Within this window, you can view your account(s), as well as any indicators, Expert Advisors and Scripts that you have saved.
MT4 Expert Advisors
Expert Advisors are programs written in MetaQuotes Language 4 (MQL4) which may be attached to MT4 to implement automated trading strategies according to the program logic, allowing MT4 automated trading. You can create your own customized Expert Advisors by using the platform's "MetaEditor" feature which can be launched from the icon within the toolbar as shown in the diagram below, although this requires MT4 programming skill. Expert Advisors are also widely available as free downloads from various web sources, or may be purchased as proprietary programs. An expert advisor can be attached to a currency pair by clicking on the expert advisor in the menu and dragging it over to the chart. If the Expert Advisor allows for customized settings, it can be edited by the user by right-clicking on the chart and selecting “Expert Advisors” from the drop-down menu.
You can find more information about Expert Advisors through the "MetaEditor" window by clicking on "Help" and then any of the subheadings under "MQL4 Community".
The Metatrader 4 platform comes equipped with a wide range of pre-installed indicators, representing nearly all of the common technical studies that are made of Forex charts. Customized MT4 indicators and other free MT4 indicators may be built or downloaded from a wide range of sources, saved in the “Indicators” directory, and then applied to a chart of a selected currency pair. This is performed from the “Insert” function in the toolbar, an example is shown in the diagram below. Alternatively it can be performed through the “Add Indicator” icon at the left of the toolbar, which is circled in red in the diagram.
Scripts are macros that can be written or downloaded in order to shorten the inputs required to perform certain functions. A very common script type is one that implements consistent position sizes on all trades.
The "Terminal" is shown at the bottom of the screen with a number of tabs at the bottom representing different functions and information. The Terminal is where trades are executed. The location of the terminal and its tabs is shown in the diagram below.
this tab makes the terminal display in its window any trades that you have open, and all the current information relating to the positions of each trade.
this tab shows the history of closed trades with the significant information relating to each trade.
your broker may send you news items they consider relevant to the Forex markets. The items are listed and the contents of each may be viewed by clicking on a particular item within the list.
it is possible to create conditional alerts within Metatrader, to alert you to particular price events that you want to watch out for. Pending and triggered alerts are shown here. New alerts can be created by right-clicking your mouse within the terminal window when the Alert tab is on, then by clicking on “Create”, bringing the dialog box for the creation or editing of alerts, shown in the image below. Note that alerts can be set to include a sound alert format, which may be useful.
Metatrader 4 has a mail function, located here, although functionality is limited to receiving messages and replying to them only.
Some brokers offer a range of trading-related products for sale. Clicking on the “Market” tab will bring up a range of icons representing products that can be purchased.
The "MQL4 Code Base" shows a current list of free Expert Advisors and Indicators that have been posted to the Metatrader Community, including a description of the purpose and use of each. Clicking on an item will take you to its relevant page within the Metatrader Community website at https://www.mql5.com/
This tab brings up a log of the operation of any Expert Advisors that you have attached to your Metatrader Platform.
This tab brings up a journal of all your activity within your Metatrader Platform.
these are variables that determine how the information in front of you is presented by the platform.
these are files that you may create and save or download. When a template is selected by you, it determines the layout of the chart(s) you view. The platform also comes with some preset default templates that you may choose to use. You can load, save, and change templates by clicking on the “Charts” menu in the toolbar at the top of the screen, the moving down to the “Template” category within the sub-menu:
Templates may also be accessed from one of the upper toolbar icons at the top of the screen:
LINK TO PREVIOUS
you can view charts relating to particular currency pairs offered by your broker by clicking on the “File” command at the top left of the screen, which then brings up a menu of categories with pairs that you can choose from:
Alternatively, you can achieve this by clicking on the Chart icon at the far left of the upper toolbar:
Each chart may be shown in three different graphical price formats: as Japanese Candlesticks, as traditional western Price Bars, and as linear graphs. The formatting may be performed by clicking on the required one of the three icons located in the middle of the upper toolbar, as shown below:
Alternatively, click on “Charts” at the top of the screen, and choose the required format from within the drop down menu:
you may soon in or out of particular charts. The zoom may be achieved by clicking on the positive or negative of the zoom icons within the upper toolbar:
This can also be achieved within the drop-down menu activated by clicking on “Charts” at the top of the screen:
the time frame (the periodicity of each data point along the horizontal time axis) of a particular chart may be set or amended, either by simply clicking on the required periodicity button within the lower toolbar:
This can also be achieved within the drop-down menu activated by clicking on “Charts” at the top of the screen, and then selecting “Periodicity” within the menu:
you can make your own studies on your charts by using these Drawing Tools, which include horizontal and vertical lines, trend lines, channels, etc. These can be accessed on the left hand side of the lower of the upper toolbars:
The may also be accessed by clicking on “Insert” at the top of the screen and accessing the options through the sub-sections in the drop-down menu:
in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, there is a graphical meter and a numerical display. This shows the stream of information that is currently flowing between your broker and your platform through your internet connection. If either of the numbers display “0” for more than a few seconds, this is a sign that you do not have a connection. If you do not, you may attempt to log in by right clicking on the numerical display which will open a log in dialog box. If there are no faults in your log in but there is still no connection, check your internet connection is operating properly. If there is a connection but the information flow is still blocked, you should contact your broker.
the most important function that Metatrader can perform when connected to your broker is of course the actual execution of trades.
Checking connection to Broker
New trades may be opened at market or set to open at specified prices as either limit (at a better price than the market price) or stop (at a worse price than the market price) orders. Regardless of the order type, the order input dialog box may be accessed in either of two ways. Firstly, by clicking on the “New Order” icon within the upper toolbar:
Secondly, by clicking on “Tools’ at the top of the screen, and then selecting “New Order” from the drop-down menu. This does bring up the order dialog box, although the box is not shown in the diagram below:
these are trades that are opened right away at the market price. The dialog box shows the prices that are available for both long (buy) and short (sell) trades. All that is required is to input the quantity in lots next to the “Volume” label, and then click on the lower pink (for short) or blue (for long) button. Stop loss and take profit levels for the trade may also be added before executing the trades, or left unfilled:
Limit or Stop Orders
if you want to set an order to be executed only if the price should reach a particular level, you should open the dialog box but select “Pending Order” from the “Type” menu within the order dialog box, and proceed otherwise as outlined above regarding market orders:
when you have sent your order to your broker by clicking on either the blue or red buttons, you will receive a message within a dialog box that will appear on your screen, which will either confirm that your order was executed, or explain that your order was not executed, at which point you might want to try to execute the order again. Failure to execute usually occurs in situations when a market order is input while the market price is moving very quickly. If your order is executed, it will appear in the Terminal window when the “Trade” tab is selected: this will display all your open trades. An example of an execution confirmation is shown below:
Modifying or Closing Orders
open or pending trades may be closed or modified, for example you may wish to amend stop loss or take profit levels, or enter such levels where none exist. This can be achieved by left-clicking on an open trade shown in the Terminal window when the “Trade” tab is selected and then left-clicking on “Modify or Delete Order” in the pop-up menu, which brings up another dialog box where the modifying or closing may be performed intuitively.
Metatrader is available as a smartphone application, allowing you to trade with your phone from remote locations without having to be in front of a PC or laptop or tablet device with an internet connection. You can download the application from your smartphone’s store or from the Metaquotes website at https://www.metaquotes.net/en/metatrader4/mobile_trading.
technical studies may be added by being drawn by the user, in addition to the application of indicators. These are known as “Objects”.
chart profiles are a chart or selection of charts with defined settings that may be saved and accessed by the user. This is effected by clicking on “File” at the top left of the screen, then selecting “Profiles” within the drop-down menu, offering a range of options.
- Next / Previous: navigates through the selection of saved Profiles
- Save As: saves the current chart(s) as a new profile which you may name as you choose.
- Remove: allows you to delete any of the saved profiles
- Menu: in the lower half of the second menu on the right in the above diagram, the saved Profiles are listed and may be applied upon your selection of a particular one.
this tool is used to make measurements within a chart, and is accessed by clicking on the appropriate icon in the lower toolbar:
Lines, Channels, Fibs, Arrows and Text
these objects, including the MT4 Fibonacci indicator, may all be added either by clicking on the appropriate icons in the lower toolbar, or by clicking on “Insert” at the top of the screen and then selecting what is required within the drop-down menu:
Multiple Charts / Adding Charts
if you have only one account, after your Metatrader is set up with that account then it will automatically log you into that account every time you launch the platform. If you have multiple accounts, or if it is your first log in to a new account, then the log in process must be performed manually. The log in dialog box can be accessed either by left-clicking on the Connection Status display in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, and then left-clicking on the Log In box which appears, which will launch the log in dialog box:
You will need to input your log in ID, password, and preferred server, all of which you should have received from your broker when you opened the account.
MT4 Strategy Tester
Metatrader includes a strategy tester feature, allowing you to back test Expert Advisors against historical data. The detailed features are outside the scope of this lesson. You can access the Strategy Tester feature through the looking glass icon in the upper toolbar, which brings up the Strategy Tester window in the lower part of the screen after a left click is made:
MT4 Trading Simulator
it is possible to find and download free programs that turn the MT4 platform into a trading simulator. The details are beyond the scope of this lesson.