Meta Trader 4 (MT4) is an online trading platform that is extensively used by forex traders to trade in the forex market. Today, most trading agents offer MT4 and it is compatible with Mac, Windows and can also be downloaded as mobile apps. In this article, we will talk about trading using the MetaTrader 4 system and learning how expert advisors (EAs), demo accounts, tutorials, and support work.
MetaTrader 4 was released by MetaQuotes Software back in 2002. In the last two decades, it has gone through a number of changes and upgrades. The online trading community began to take notice of the software because of its 2005 version. Since then, its popularity has been on the rise and many trading agents started offering MT4 between 2007 and 2010. In the current scenario, MT4 is being offered by all popular trading companies as an alternate option to their proprietary software.
However, the MetaTrader 4 platform isn’t limited to forex traders today. The software is being widely used by traders across various financial markets like futures, CFDs, stocks, commodities, and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ripple (XRP). Since there are a large number of third-party scripts and advisors on the MT4 platform, it contributes greatly to its popularity and utility.
Steps to open an MT4 account
Opening a MetaTrader 4 is fairly simple. You can either download a zip file with the platform from the MetaQuotes website at no extra cost or you can do the same via a trading agent/company. But to do so through a trading agent, you have to first register with them for a real or demo account.
The easiest way to use MetaTrader4 is to trade directly through your web browser. Otherwise, MT4 is compatible with macOS, Linux as well as Windows 7, 8, and 10 on 32-bit and 64-bit processors.
After you have downloaded the MT4 platform, you have to then register for a new account and sign in. Once this step is done, you will be able to customise the MetaTrader 4 platform as per your preference. You can pick from various chart set-ups and between the light and dark mode.
Trading cost details, commissions, and spreads are typically revealed as you sign up. If you are a new user, you may feel a bit surprised to see the swap fees charged against your account on a per-day basis. If you’re wondering what a swap is–it refers to the interest charged or received at the end of each trading day depending upon your trading position.
Next, you go to the terminal and check your account balance as well as the margin levels. In case your funds are less than what is needed to meet a leverage requirement, you would get an error on the screen when you try to place a trade.
Deposit and withdrawal of funds are also straightforward. All you need to do is choose the ‘deposit’ or ‘withdraw’ option from your account area. After this, you select from the number of payment options available.
Although payment charges can be different among different trading agents, typically you will find a free option. Deposit and withdrawal payment times would also be determined after taking into consideration who the trading agent is and what is the method chosen.
Steps to start trading
To place an order for a trade, choose ‘tools’ and then click on ‘new order’. The order window will appear after this. Another option is to use the F9 shortcut key from your keyboard. Remember to not get intimidated by the order window, despite its complex appearance the components are straightforward:
- Symbol – You can take your pick between markets, for example, forex, gold, or stock indices, such as the S&P 500
- Volume – Determine what the size of your trade will be– how many lots or CFDs do you wish to trade? Bear in mind that, 1 lot is equal to 100,000 units of the base currency
- Type – Select ‘instant execution’ to start a trade as soon as you click on the ‘buy’ or ‘sell’. Another option is to opt for ‘pending order’ and to choose the point at which you want to open the trade.
- Stop-loss – This is a great risk management tool that will cut down the size of losses, by tracking pips automatically and closing out trades as soon as they reach a set level.
- Take-profit – Like stop-loss, take-profit allows you to cash on the gain and ensure you don’t wait for the prices to fall. The trades are automatically exited when profits reach a particular level.
- Comment – This part is dedicated to trade commentary that you might want to record in your trading journal.
- Slippage – It is possible to cut down slippage with the help of the deviation setting.
Monitoring & Closing Positions
Go to the MetaTrader 4 terminal by choosing ‘view’ and then click on ‘terminal’. Now choose the ‘trade’ option. At this point, you can come out of a position by selecting the ‘x’ to the right of the profit column. You may even modify stops and limits. This is done by right-clicking on the position or pending order that you wish to change and then select ‘modify’.
If you want to draw on charts, choose the object you’d want from the toolbar and then click on the chart. In order to amend the time frame on a price chart, right-click on the chart and select ‘time frame’. You will then have to pick from the following option on the drop-down menu:
- M1 (1 minute)
- M5 (5 minutes)
- M10 (10 minutes)
- M15 (15 minutes)
- M30 (30 minutes)
- H1 (1 hour)
- H4 (4 hours)
- D1 (1 day)
- MN (1 month)
Remember that your trades are not sealed within the nine standard timeframes. You can customize the time frames as per your preference such as 2 minutes and 8 hours etc.
Indicators & Add-ons
Other than the 30 built-in technical indicators, you can also choose from over thousands of different chart indicators which you can download from MetaTrader’s Code Base and Market.
Some of these indicators are the Elliot Wave indicator, Bollinger Bands, and pivot points.
You may even choose to opt for third-party indicators such as Stealth Orders and Alarm Manager to program the MetaTrader 4 platform as per your trading style.