If you’re interested in Forex trading, it’s likely that you’ve come across the term MT4, also known as Metatrader 4.
But what exactly is a Metatrader 4 and how does it work?
Well the MetaTrader 4 is an online trading platform that is very popular with traders worldwide. It’s a platform that allows you to automate your trading.
In this post we will explain in more detail how it works and how you can use it as part of your trading strategy.
Let’s get started!
What is Metatrader 4
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is an automated trading platform designed to enhance your trading experience. By being automated, the Metatrader 4 allows users to develop their own robots (Expert Advisors) which can automatically trade on their behalf.
Design-wise it has a simple-to-use interface which provides you access to detailed technical analysis. As well as the analysis you also get access to various flexible systems for trading.
Besides analysis tools the platform also comes with customizable charts which traders can use to spot breakout patterns in the forex market.
Due to this range of features, the platform has become very popular with online brokers and forex traders worldwide. With Metatrader 4, traders can follow live currency prices, edit and open orders and use the analysis features.
There are also many currency pairs and indicators available. This is ideal if you want a wide selection of forex pairs to choose from.
MetaTrader 4 Background
The platform was created by MetaQuotes software and was launched back in 2005. Since then MetaQuotes has licensed the software to various forex brokers who in turn provide the programme to their users.
For example, BDSwiss is one example of an online broker that offers the Metatrader 4 platform to its clients alongside its own self-developed BDSwiss Web-Trader. Their users can choose which platform they would rather use.
When the software is licensed to brokers, it consists of 2 sections- a server and a client component. The broker will run the server component and the client component will be used by the broker’s users.
In 2010, MetaQuotes released a new successor to the Metatrader 4 which was called the MT5. However, many people tend to prefer the Metatrader 4 and general uptake of the MT5 has been slow and gradual.
Because the MetaTrader 4 has been designed for use on Windows, there is still no official Metatrader 4 for Mac systems. However, a few brokers now offer a customised Metatrader 4 version for Mac owners.
How to use Metatrader 4 Expert Advisors
Many users like using the Metatrader 4 because they can build its own Expert Advisor, also known as trading robots. Expert Advisors can be used to automatically manage and follow trade opportunities. They can also open multiple orders every day with minimum human input.
By using algorithms, Expert Advisors can look for potential market opportunities for you. You are in control of what filters and settings the EA should search for, for instance you can select which key markets it should analyse.
Because a trading robot can analyse a lot of data in a fast amount of time, you can also let the EA loose on all the markets, instead of a selection.
When results have been found, you’ll be notified or the EA can automatically open a position. If a position is opened the Expert Advisor will be able to apply closing conditions such as the stop loss and trailing stop limits.
Expert Advisors are normally used for forex trading on the MT4. However, you can also use them in any market that may be available on your MetaTrader 4. Some brokers that offer an enhanced version of the Metatrader 4 platform also let you trade other CFD (Contract for Difference) assets such as Indices, Cryptocurrencies and Stocks.
You can either import a ready-made EA to the MT4 that someone else has built, or build yourself one using a programme language named MQL4. It’s important that all EA’s are back tested so you can check that it operates correctly before it trades with your funds.
Metatrader 4 EA Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the main strengths of using an Expert Advisor is that they offer a lot of flexibility and time-saving. You do not have to monitor price movements for 24 hours every day to look for new opportunities. Instead the EA will do all the hard work for you.
You also have the flexibility to select how you would like and Expert Advisor to work for you. For instance, you might want an EA to send out only trade alerts, but not to open positions for you.
Or alternatively you may want an EA to open and close positions for you, whilst you keep an eye on the loss limits and running profits.
The main weakness with an Expert Advisor though is that a robot is no match for a human brain. It’s important to remember that whilst an EA can handle lots of data and trade on your behalf, you remain the boss.
That’s why you must keep an eye on how your EA is performing. It’s up to you to make sure that it is operating according to your trading settings.
How to use Metatrader 4 Indicators
Besides EA’s, the Metatrader 4 also offers a large amount of Indicators and Add-Ons.
Indicators are tools that are used for technical analysis of the markets, which can help you with your decision-making. Some examples of the indicators available include the Renko indicator, pivot points, and the High-Low indicator.
Add-Ons are designed to let you customise your Metatrader 4 platform so it can fit to your personal trading style and pursuits. For instance, alarm managers and stealth orders are all areas which you can customise on the MT4.
Metatrader 4 Demo Account
In order to understand how the MetaTrader 4 works, it’s worth using the platform yourself to see if it’s something that could benefit your trading.
If you would like to test the MT4, it’s possible to use the MetaTrader 4 demo account. The demo comes with the same functions as the real account, the only difference is that you trade forex with virtual money not real funds.
To use the demo account, you can access it from the MetaTrader 4 mobile applications or open it via a desktop platform. Many online forex brokers will let you try out a demo version of the software too if they offer the Metatrader 4 on their platform.
If you wish to skip the demo and start trading for real, you need to follow the steps below in order to get started:
Metatrader 4 Download
To use the MT4 it’s important to remember that it cannot be accessed via a website. Instead you must download and install the software onto your desktop or smartphone in order to use it.
This applies whether you use the demo or real version of the Metatrader 4.
Once the platform has been downloaded and installed you’ll need to set up an account. Once the account is ready you’ll be able to access your trades and view the latest currency prices.
You just need to complete these steps to open an account:
- 1: Download and install the MetaTrader 4 software to your computer or device.
- 2: Once the software is open, you’ll need to create an account.
- 3: During the account creation you’ll need to fill in some personal details when requested. This details can include your name, address and which currency you would like the MT4 to run in.
When you have finished providing your personal information, you’ll be able to log in to your MT4 account.
It’s important though that you keep a copy of your personal account login details before you leave the registration stages. This is because with the Metatrader 4 you can create and use multiple accounts. So it’s important to remember which account you’re using before you open or place any trades.
The MT4 can be a great platform to use, however, it’s important you know how the MT4 works before placing orders. The key is to feel comfortable when using it so you can use the features of the platform to your best advantage.