The Complete Guide to Metatrader 4 Trading Platform

Metatrader 4 (MT4) is one of the most popular retail forex trading platforms used by millions of traders worldwide. This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know about using MT4 for forex and CFD trading.

Introduction to Metatrader 4

Metatrader 4 is a trading platform developed by MetaQuotes Software for trading forex, stocks, futures and CFDs. Released in 2005, MT4 quickly became the most popular retail forex trading platform, used by brokers and traders globally.

Here are some key features of Metatrader 4:

  • Supported by most forex brokers and ideal for automated trading with Expert Advisors.
  • Advanced charting package with a wide range of technical indicators and drawing tools.
  • Ability to fully customize charts, add indicators, templates, and color schemes.
  • One-click trading directly from charts and market watch window.
  • Built-in Market and Signals for analysing markets and subscribing to signals from providers.
  • Custom Indicators allow traders to program their own indicators and strategies.
  • Strategy Tester to backtest Expert Advisors and trading systems on historical data.
  • Supports EAs for algorithmic and automated trading.
  • Mobile app available for Android and iOS devices.
  • Available in over 30 languages.

With its extensive features, MT4 provides traders with advanced trading tools in an easy-to-use interface ideal for forex and CFD trading.

Getting Started with Metatrader 4

Getting started with Metatrader 4 involves downloading and installing the platform, opening a demo account, and launching the platform. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Download and Install MT4

  • Go to the Metatrader 4 website [link] and download the MT4 installer for your Windows or Mac operating system.
  • Run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install MT4 on your computer.

Step 2: Open a Demo Account

  • Browse online forex brokers that offer MT4 and open a free demo account. No deposit is required for a demo.
  • Common brokers include Pepperstone, AvaTrade, FXCM, XM and IC Markets. Check regulatory compliance.
  • Once your demo account is approved, you’ll receive login details for the MT4 platform.

Step 3: Launch Metatrader 4

  • Locate the MT4 icon on your computer and double click to launch the platform.
  • Enter the login details provided by your broker to access your demo account on the MT4 server.
  • The platform may prompt you to set a trading password. Do this and click login.

Once logged in, you will see the MT4 trading platform with sample market data. Explore the various menus, windows and options available to get familiar with the layout and features of Metatrader 4.

MT4 Platform Layout and Features

Metatrader 4 consists of various sections containing charts, windows, menus and options for trading and analysis. Here is an overview of the key components:

Chart Section

This main section holds the charts of financial instruments like currency pairs or assets. You can have multiple charts open at once, with each showing a different instrument. Customize the chart type, timeframe, indicators and drawing tools using the toolbar.

Market Watch Window

Located below the charts, this window lists all available instruments with bid/ask prices that update in real-time. Click on an instrument to create a chart. Right click to trade directly from the window.

Navigator Window

The Navigator displays your account details and data. Key tabs include Accounts, Indicators, Expert Advisors, and Signals providing quick access to these tools.

Terminal Window

All your trading activities, open positions, history and alerts appear in the terminal window at the bottom. You can execute trades and manage positions from the Trade tab.

Main Menu Bar

Located along the top, the menu bar provides access to platform settings, chart tools, automation options, help and support. Set up your platform preferences here.

Toolbars

Each chart has its own toolbar to manage timeframes, templates, indicators, and drawing tools. The Standard and Chart Trading toolbars have shortcuts for basic trading orders.

With this layout, MT4 provides an efficient trading environment coupled with advanced analytics and automation options built directly into the platform.

Opening and Closing Trades on MT4

One of the benefits of MT4 is the ability to execute trades quickly from charts and windows without needing to open order dialog boxes. Here are the steps to open and close forex trades on MT4:

Opening Trades

  1. Click on the currency pair in Market Watch to open its chart.
  2. Analyze the chart using technical indicators and drawing tools.
  3. When ready, click the Standard toolbar Buy or Sell button to open a market order, or right click from Market Watch.
  4. A pop-up will confirm the trade details. Click Modify for advanced order settings.
  5. The order will execute and appear under Trade tab of the Terminal window.

Closing Trades

  1. Double click on the open trade line item in the Terminal window to bring up a close order dialog box.
  2. Enter the amount to close or use the Close # button to close the full amount.
  3. Click Sell to close a long position, or Buy to close a short position.
  4. The trade line item will disappear confirming the position has closed.

Use the Trade tab in the Terminal window to monitor open positions, orders and history. The straightforward order execution makes MT4 quick and efficient for putting on trades based on your analysis.

Advanced Charting in Metatrader 4

MT4 includes an extensive charting package to conduct technical analysis across dozens of indicators, overlays and drawing tools. Follow these steps to create advanced forex charts:

Choose Market and Timeframe

  1. Select the currency pair or asset from Market Watch to open a chart. Multiple charts can be open.
  2. Set the timeframe on the chart toolbar using preset options from 1-minute up to 1-month.

Add Indicators

  1. Open the Navigator window and click the Indicators folder.
  2. Double click the desired indicator or drag it onto the chart.
  3. Edit the indicator settings by double clicking on the indicator name under the chart.

Apply Drawing Tools

  1. Select the drawing tool on the chart toolbar such as Trendline, Channels or Fibonacci.
  2. Click and drag on the price chart to create the drawing object.
  3. Right click on the object to edit settings or properties.

Save Chart Templates

  1. Arrange your charts with the desired instruments, timeframes, indicators and objects.
  2. From the Charts menu select Template > Save Template and name it.
  3. Access saved templates under the Navigator Templates tab.

Using these steps, you can create comprehensive charts and save unique templates for more effective technical analysis.

5 Powerful Technical Indicators on MT4

Metatrader 4 comes packed with dozens of technical indicators traders use for forex and CFD analysis. Here are 5 of the most popular MT4 indicators explored in more detail:

Moving Average (MA)

Moving averages smooth out price action to identify trends and reversals. Adjust the periods to suit your trading timeframe. Traders may combine short and long-period MAs for signals when crossing.

Bollinger Bands (BB)

BB plot price envelopes at standard deviation levels above and below a simple moving average. Bands tightening often precedes breakouts while widening suggests increased volatility.

Relative Strength Index (RSI)

RSI measures the magnitude of recent price changes to determine overbought or oversold conditions. It oscillates between 0-100 with readings above 70 indicating overbought and below 30 oversold.

MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence)

MACD displays trend direction and momentum using two exponentially smoothed moving averages. Crossovers of the MACD line and signal line generate trading signals.

Parabolic SAR (Stop and Reverse)

SAR places dots above or below price indicating potential stops and reverses. Dots switching from below to above price suggest a long signal, while flips above to below indicate a short signal.

These indicators represent some of the most useful technical analysis tools used by MT4 traders. Combine them with price action techniques to improve your analysis.

Automated Trading through MT4 Expert Advisors

Expert Advisors (EAs) allow traders to automate their trading strategies by programming the rules which the EA applies automatically. Follow these steps to run EAs in MT4:

Build the EA

  • Code the EA using the MetaEditor under the Tools menu, or purchase pre-built EAs online from various providers.
  • Set entry rules, risk management, position sizing and use indicators or price action logic.
  • Debug the EA and conduct backtesting using MT4 Strategy Tester.

Attach the EA to a Chart

  • Open the desired market chart the EA will trade.
  • Drag the EA from the Navigator onto the open chart.
  • Double click the EA name to edit parameters as needed.

Enable AutoTrading

  • From the Expert Advisors tab in Navigator, right click the EA and select AutoTrading.
  • Click Allow AutoTrading when prompted.
  • The EA will now execute trades automatically based on coded logic.

Monitor your account and open trades even with an EA running to ensure proper functioning. Used properly, EAs enable algorithmic trading on MT4 based on sound strategies.

Top 10 Tips for Success with Metatrader 4

To maximize your trading experience using MT4, follow these top tips shared by expert traders:

  1. Customize your workspace – Tailor toolbar placement and window layouts for your strategy. Save unique templates.
  2. Utilize multiple timeframes – Scan long-term, short-term and intraday charts to assess opportunities.
  3. Develop a trading plan – Implement risk management rules and position sizing guidelines for consistency.
  4. Master technical analysis – Combine indicators with price action context for high-probability setups.
  5. Backtest strategies – Verify edge and refine tactics using MT4 Strategy Tester on historical data.
  6. Be quick to close losers – If a trade reaches stop loss, close immediately and re-evaluate market conditions.
  7. Let winners run – Hold trades moving in your favor to maximize profits from large moves. Use trailing stops.
  8. Trade patiently – Wait for your setups and high probability opportunities. Avoid overtrading.
  9. Check news events – Be aware of upcoming events and potential volatility when holding positions.
  10. Keep emotions in check – Don’t get euphoric on wins or depressed on losses. Maintain balanced psychology.

Using these MT4 best practices can lead to smoother, more successful trading. Monitor your progress consistently to improve over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is MT4 free to use?

Yes, MT4 is free to download and there is no cost to use the platform. However, you need an account with a broker to access live market data feeds. Most brokers offer MT4 to clients either for free or a small add-on fee.

What is the minimum deposit for a MT4 account?

The minimum deposit varies by each broker. Demo accounts have no minimum. For a live standard MT4 account, minimum deposits range from $100 to $500 USD in most cases. Micro and mini accounts may have lower minimums.

What is the maximum leverage available on MT4?

Standard leverage ranges from 1:30 to 1:500 across brokers. Traders in the US, Japan, and certain EU countries will have lower maximum leverage limits due to regulatory restrictions. Check leverage policies with your broker.

Can I use MT4 on Mac?

Yes, MetaQuotes offers a native Mac client that can be downloaded from their website. The Mac version includes the full functionality of MT4 for Windows. An iOS and Android mobile app is also available.

Does MT4 support commodities and cryptocurrency trading?

The MT4 platform supports CFDs on commodities like gold, silver and oil. Some brokers also offer cryptocurrency CFDs. However, options, futures, and stocks have limited availability currently on MT4.

Is MT4 compliant with US regulations?

MT4 is not directly compliant with regulators like the NFA or CFTC. US brokers that offer MT4 will run a modified, compliant version with required disclaimers and procedures to adhere to US rules. These versions allow FIFO compliance and segregated accounts.

Can I automate strategies on MT4?

Yes, MT4 supports fully automated trading through Expert Advisors written in the MQL programming language. Use the built-in MetaEditor to code your own EA or purchase from the large selection available online.

How do I deposit and withdraw money from my account?

Most brokers allow depositing directly to your MT4 account through debit/credit card, e-wallets like Neteller, or bank wire transfer. Withdrawals are processed back to the original method. Contact your broker for specific funding options and procedures.

Is my money safe trading through MT4 brokers?

Account security depends on operating with regulated brokers. Reputable brokers holding valid regulation require client fund segregation and auditing procedures to ensure safety of deposits. Check registration status with regulators before opening an account.

Conclusion

Metatrader 4 has established itself as the premier retail forex trading platform, offering an advanced feature-set for technical analysis, automated trading, and improved order execution. Open a demo account, get familiar with the platform layout, analyze charts across various timeframes, and implement tested trading strategies for the robust capabilities only MT4 provides.

Best and Most Trusted Forex Brokers

Based on regulation, award recognition, mainstream credibility, and overwhelmingly positive client feedback, these six brokers stand out for their sterling reputations:

NoBrokerRegulationMin. DepositPlatformsAccount TypesOfferOpen New Account
1.RoboForexFSC Belize$10MT4, MT5, RTraderStandard, Cent, Zero SpreadWelcome Bonus $30Open RoboForex Account
2.AvaTradeASIC, FSCA$100MT4, MT5Standard, Cent, Zero SpreadTop Forex BrokerOpen AvaTrade Account
3.ExnessFCA, CySEC$1MT4, MT5Standard, Cent, Zero SpreadFree VPSOpen Exness Account
4.XMASIC, CySEC, FCA$5MT4, MT5Standard, Micro, Zero Spread20% Deposit BonusOpen XM Account
5.ICMarketsSeychelles FSA$200MT4, MT5, CTraderStandard, Zero SpreadBest Paypal BrokerOpen ICMarkets Account
6.XBTFXASIC, CySEC, FCA$10MT4, MT5Standard, Zero SpreadBest USA BrokerOpen XBTFX Account
7.VantageASIC, CySEC, FCA$50MT4, MT5Standard, Cent, Zero Spread20% Deposit BonusOpen Vantage Account
8.FXTMFSC Mauritius$10MT4, MT5Standard, Micro, Zero SpreadWelcome Bonus $50Open FXTM Account
9.FBSASIC, CySEC, FCA$5MT4, MT5Standard, Cent, Zero Spread100% Deposit BonusOpen FBS Account
10.BinanceDASP$10Binance PlatformsN/ABest Crypto BrokerOpen Binance Account
11.TradingViewUnregulatedFreeTradingViewN/ABest Trading PlatformOpen TradingView Account

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- Warren Buffett

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