Mastering MetaTrader 4

MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is the most popular trading platform and charting software for retail forex traders. It was developed by Cyprus based MetaQuotes Software and released in 2005.

In this article we’ll explain how to navigate the platform, explaining the functions of the various windows. We’ll cover how to set up your charts, use indicators and place orders.

Navigating the Platform

The following are important sections within the platform to begin with:

  • Main Menu All commands and functions that can be executed in the client terminal are contained in the main menu. The main dropdown menus are: “File”, “View”, “Insert”, “Charts”, “Tools”, “Window”, “Help”.
  • Toolbars Four toolbars are built into the terminal: “Standard”, “Charts”, “Line Studies”, and “Timeframes”. The toolbars contain functions and commands that can be reached in the main menu. The toolbars are customizable and practical for items often used.
  • Market Watch This window contains the symbol list, the list of currency pairs, commodities and cryptocurrencies offered by your broker. Commands of this window allow to control trade positions and charts.
  • Navigator Open accounts, expert advisors (Expert Advisors are programs that allow automation of the analytical and trading processes in the MT4 platform) indicators, and scripts are grouped in the navigation window.
  • Terminal This section contains Trade, Account History, News, Alerts, Mailbox, and Journal tabs. The “trade” tab shows where your pending and open trades can be viewed. The “account history” tab contains all your account activity since you opened it, primarily deposits, withdrawals, and closed trades. You can also generate detailed reports of your trading history here. The “Terminal” window allows to open and modify orders of different kinds and manage trade positions.

Setting Up Your Charts

  • How to open a chart: there are several ways to open a chart – you can click file>new chart, you can right click in the market watch window on a currency pair and then click ‘new chart’ or you can click the ‘new chart’ icon in the tool bar.
  • Setting up Chart Properties: right click the chart and then click properties at the bottom of the menu – here you can change colors, take off grid and volume etc.
  • Adding Technical Indicators to your Charts: Click indicators icon in the toolbar. Also on toolbar you have Fibonacci tool, horizontal line etc. You can also add indicators by going to Insert>Indicators from the drop down menu at the top.
  • How to have multiple charts in one window: Open 4 new charts then go to the windows menu at the top of the toolbar and select either ‘tile horizontally’ or ‘tile vertically’.
  • Saving Your Charts as a Template: once you’ve set your color scheme and other properties to your charts you can save your chart set up as a template and then easily apply it to other charts. To save a template, click the template icon in the toolbar and then select ‘save template’ – you can also click on the charts menu and select template.
  • Set up Window Arrangement as a Profile: You can save your window arrangement as a profile and easily toggle between different profiles. Go to the file menu or click on the profiles icon and save as a profile.

Placing Orders

  • To open a trade you can right click the chart window or market watch. You can also click the F9 key as a shortcut to bring up the order window.
  • The first line says ‘symbol’ – this is where you enter the currency pair you want to trade.
  • The second line says ‘volume’ – this is where you enter the size of your trade – one full lot is equivalent to 100,000 units. A mini lot is 10,000 and a micro lot is 1,000.
  • The third line covers the exit point of your trade. The stop loss allows you to chosse a price for automatically closing your trade in the event of loss – a take profit allows you to set a price for closing a trade when the market goes in your favor. This line contains the order type you want to implement – you can chose from Instant Execution, which will execute the order instantly – or you can use a pending order.
  • Order Type: Pending order is the client’s commitment to the brokerage company to buy or sell a security at a pre-defined price in the future. This type of order is used for opening of a trade position provided the future quotes reach the pre-defined level. Market order is a commitment to the brokerage company to buy or sell a security at the current price. Execution of this order results in opening of a trade position.
  • And finally, the fourth method is to make use of the MT4 (build 600) ‘One Click Trading’ feature which displays the Buy/Sell button directly on the top left corner of the chart. To enable this feature, you must first go to Tools>Options>Trade and select ‘One Click Trading’ When you select this the first time, you will have to accept the terms and conditions before you can make use of this feature. Note that this feature allows you to place orders with just a click and therefore should not be used unless you really know what you are doing.
  • Set up a trailing stop as follows: view>terminal>trailing stop


Trading involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all individuals. Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

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