MetaTrader 4 is the most popular platform worldwide with our MT4 review finding five key forex trading platform strengths:
- Easy to use interface
- Apps to suit mobile and tablet devices
- Fast execution speeds
- Ability to use Expert Advisors (EAs)
- A diverse range of charting options
MetaTrader 4 Interface
The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading software focuses on providing sophisticated currency management tools combined with enhanced charting functionality and tools. Combined, these allow for forex trading that is quick and efficient helping to control an individual’s positions and develop trading strategies.
The user interface of MetaTrader 4 software is all about maximising ease of use and efficiency. This starts with the interface, then through to the charting and indicator options, as well as the MQL language. This final area allows automated trading system – Expert Advisors (EAs).
MetaTrader 4 Mobile Forex Trading Platform Options
MetaTrader 4 is available on a PC through their Web Trader and by downloading the software. There is also an MT4 for Mac software available for individuals using Mac devices.
The iPhone MT4 forex trading platform allows trading across screens within the phone, with real-time custom views of real-time data.
Forex brokers like Pepperstone offer one-tap trades where users’ can execute forex orders without multiple buttons needing to be pressed to maximise execution speeds.
Through swiping the screen, historical data can be accessed. This is great for those on the move who need to be informed prior to making a trade.
The Android MT4 Forex Trading Platform provides full trading capabilities. This includes executing trades as well as attaining currency-related news and events through sources such as Dow Jones.
Like the iPhone app, it allows one-tap order execution so there isn’t the need for multiple pressing of elements to process a trade.
There is an offline mode including charts and symbol prices which is handy when travelling and wanting to view market movements 24 hours a day.
3) iPad and Tablet Devices
The iPad MT4 Forex Trading Platform app is very similar to the full web-based version of MT4 except all the dimensions are suited for the device.
There is support for all execution modes, trading history, interactive charts and thirty technical indicators.
Ways MT4 Allows Forex Trading
MT4 forex trading has a built-in compiler & editor with access to articles, customer service, and a free software library. This software uses MQL4 & MQL5 which is MetaTrader’s propriety language designed for automated trading that enables Expert Advisors, which explained further below.
MetaTrader has two trading orders:
1) Pending Orders
These orders are what share traders will be used to with the order executed when a predefined price level is reached.
2) Market Orders
There are four market orders including:
i) Instant Execution: where the price displayed leads to the execution of the order.
+ The order is executed at the known price.
– Trading opportunities in high volatility periods can be missed when the requested price of the financial instrument can’t be filled.
ii) Request execution: allows traders to execute an order after a price quote request is made and then the trader makes the decision to buy/sell based on that bid/ask quote.
+ Several seconds to decide based on the quote received and price certainty
– Reduced execution speed
iii) Market execution is when a trade is based on the price offered by a forex broker which may differ from the platform.
+ No risk of requotes when trading
– During volatile trading periods, deviations and therefore risk can be high.
iv) Exchange execution sees an order executed based on market depth through the exchange.
MetaTrader 4 design is focused on a stand-alone configuration. A forex broker can manually manage their positions as a market-maker or integrate the forex trading platform to other liquidity pools for automated trading (ECN forex broker trading).
Using EAs To Automate Forex Trading
The MetaTrader 4 forex trading platform has soared in popularity over the past decade, in part is due to the ability for traders to easily write scripts and create robots with MT4’s automated trading system. These trading tools allow algorithmic trading meaning a forex trader doesn’t need to be online to execute trades. A forex broker may offer backdated market information through the software to allow for backtesting different scripts and bots to test trading strategies.
Over 12,000 members on Yahoo! focus on the development of MetaTrader as open-source software. Expert Advisor (EA) programmers offer a range of trading strategies that can be downloaded and backtested.
How To To Add EA To MT4
Expert Advisors (EAs) are all coded using the MQL4 language. Files are attached to the ‘experts’ folder, unlike indicators.
1. Create The EA Or Download It
- Select the EA created or downloaded
- Find the MT4 folder (in most cases this will be in the C: drive)
- Paste the file
2. Install The EA On MT4
- Launch MT4 and find the EA section in the navigation section (left side)
- Select the ‘+’ sign and a list of EAs will become available
- Choose the Expert Advisor and drag it to the charts within the MT4 platform
- Install the EA
3. Adjust the MT4 setting
- The settings of the expert advisor will appear on a pop-up box
- Ensure all alerts and settings are correct before confirming
Trading More Than Currency
The MetaTrader 4 Forex Trading Platform is a margin trading product. With the rise of financial products outside of currency such as CFDs, some forex brokers use MT4 for more than forex trading. While MT4 forex trading was not created to make exchange-traded futures and stock market trading, this functionality does exist and is offered by forex brokers like Pepperstone.
You can view the best forex trading platform brokers on our comparison table.
MT4 Charting Options
There is a plethora of MetaTrader 4 charting software available. Many come pre-installed with MetaTrader 4 while others can be downloaded as add-ons, with some forex brokers offer their own premium charting additions. Charting tools can help minimise high-risk trading by demonstrating patterns in forex pairing behaviour across time frames. This can be in real-time or historical financial instrument data. The three main charting categories are tick-based charts (the number of trades), price range based charts, as well as volume-based charts (the number of contracts). There are explained in more depth below:
1) Tick Chart MT4
Tick charts show the number of trades that are impacting the market. Trades (know as ticks for this chart) can change dramatically within forex markets, with Expert Advisor (EA) trades using this data to make develop trading strategies and make decisions. Charts can range from 33 to 233 tick options, and will remain flat unless a high under of trades are made over a minute.
To have activate a tick chart in MT4 you need to:
- Download a Tick Data file
- Open the zip file and put the content into the indication folder
- Restart MT4
- Open a currency pair and place on the M1 chart
- Open the MT4 navigator, drag and drop the file into the M1 chart.
2) Candle Clock Indicator MT4
The Candle Clock indicator helps identify the time before the last candle is closed. As the timeframe gets closer to closing the indicator acts like a countdown clock. As an example, when trading from a one minute chart, the indicator shows the seconds and minutes left.
This indicator is useful for traders who need to open a position when new candle scalpers review individual bar ticks.
3) Divergence Indicator MT4
The divergence indicator is a great technical analysis tool to measure price action with an oscillator indication. This can help traders buy near the bottom and sell close to the ceiling of the market. This can improve profits and manage risks. The two types of divergence are:
Regulator divergence indicators can help trigger trend reversals. Price actions that make lows lower but the oscillator produces higher lowers leads to regular divergence. Higher highs and an oscillator of lower highs is also regular divergence. The signal for both of these is a trend reversal.
This can help trigger trend continuation. Higher lows but the oscillation of lower lows produces hidden divergence. This signals a bullish trend continuation. A bearish trend continuation is when the price action makes lower highs but the oscillation is higher highs leading to a hidden divergence. In such conditions, the indicator may signal the trader not to enter a trade.
Background To MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 4 is a forex trading platform praised as the gold standard of trading platforms for investors using a retail investor account. Developed by MetaQuotes, MT4 software is the original release occurring over a decade ago in 2005. MetaTrader 4 licences are primarily provided to foreign exchange brokers, who in most cases then provide market access to retail investors’ who sign up with the forex broker.
MetaTrader 4 has a client and server component, with the latter run by the forex broker. The client software is then provided to the forex broker’s customers to observe financial instruments in various markets and execute orders as needed.
MT4 software is Windows based (Microsoft) and allows robots and trading scripts to be created at ease. A newer MT5 version was released in 2013 but most forex brokers still only offer the MT4 based on the original platform’s ease of use. Benefits of MT5 though is the programming language offered which is MQL5, while MQL4 which can be combined using Meta Editor.