What is Metatrader 4 | Learn about MT4 Platform
Metatrader 4 or MT4 as it’s widely called, is hands-down the most popular and robust trading platform in the forex industry. Developed by MetaQuotes Software, Metatrader 4 and its successor Metatrader 5 is the industry’s one-stop shop for getting live prices, analyzing the markets and trading currencies.
For more than 10 years now Metatrader 4 has been facilitating forex trading for millions of traders around the world. Its interface and installation process are quite straightforward but it offers a diverse range of different trading tools and customization features built-in which makes it ideal for both beginner and expert traders.
Why use MetaTrader 4?
You can download the official MT4 trading platform on all your internet-connected devices such as your Windows PC, MAC, Android phone/tablet or iPhone/iPad and even on your favorite Linux distro.
As soon as you install Metatrader 4 from MetaQuotes or your broker’s website, you will be able to sign up for a demo account in order to test your trading strategy. You also immediately get access to the Market Watch window where you can see the Bid and Ask prices for the most popular currency pairs. The Market Watch window has different tabs at the bottom and if you click on the Trading tab you can see more detailed information about the currency pairs like the actual Spread and Swaps and you can also trade with one click by clicking the Buy or Sell buttons.
The main focus of the interface, however, is the charts. The default view in MT4 opens up 4 price charts for your convenience which you can customize further by changing the timeframe from minutes to weeks depending on your strategy.
In the bottom section of the trading platform, you will find the Toolbox with different tabs from which you can open and closed positions, view the history of your trades and see upcoming financial news reports and events that might affect the markets.
The number of features in this trading platform and its popular use among thousands of forex traders and brokers is what sets it apart from the competition. This popularity affords extensive support from a huge community of traders around the world and of course a great user experience with regular updates to keep the software stable and secure. You just need to make sure that your internet connection is also stable enough to not get in the way of your trading and avoid disappointment. A strong internet connection is recommended due to the fact that low latency between your computer and your broker is crucial in order to get the price you are aiming for at that particular time.
MT4 Order Types
There are two different order types in Metatrader 4 which you can see when opening a new position – Instant Execution and Pending Order. You can do this by right-clicking directly on the chart of the trading symbol of your choice and selecting Trading/New order or by pressing F9 on your keyboard if you want to be more efficient. A window comes up with everything you need to place your trade. On the left side you will notice a live price chart of the currencies you selected so you can stay on top of things at all times and on the right, you have different settings you can modify to your liking. If you look closely you can see the “Type” setting and a drop-down list next to it where you can select what type of order you want to place.
By selecting Instant Execution, your order will be placed, well, instantly at the currency’s current market price. You also have the important choice of setting a Stop Loss and Take Profit order along with your trade which can help you by automatically exiting/closing the trade when the price moves further than where you initially predicted and therefore protecting you from unnecessary losses. The same goes for a Take Profit order as this setting will instantly close the order at your predetermined profit margin. As soon as the price reaches your Take Profit limit, the position will be closed and your pips will be safe and sound in your trading wallet. In MT4 you can see your available balance and equity in the Toolbox under the Trade or Exposure tabs.
The next type of order you can place in Metatrader 4 is the Pending Order or a Limit Order. This order is very useful if you are anticipating the price will move in a direction and you want to open your position beforehand. You can do this with Buy Limit/Stop or Sell Limit/Stop order depending on if you believe the price will continue to rise or fall respectively.
When you download Metatrader 4, and open a demo or live trading account with CM Trading, you can even subscribe to different Trading Signals which allow you to copy the trades of professional traders and execute them automatically in your own trading platform.
This great, community-driven feature in MT4 is widely used by beginner traders who wish to participate in the market but don’t have the time to do so or just want to leave things to the experts.
There are a variety of trading signals provided within Metatrader 4 itself and before you subscribe to one, you can see all the relevant and historical information regarding the Signal as well as its performance in the past several months and which currencies it’s focusing.
Moreover, you get access to reviews the community has left about the Signal and its performance which is a very useful feature to have in order to decide if you wish to copy subscribe to it and therefore opening the same trades automatically in your own account.
Another automated trading feature in Metatrader 4 is the Expert Advisors. Expert Advisors are a set of instructions programmed by experienced coders to follow specific rules and are developed to identify entry and exit points in the market as long as certain conditions are met. Expert Advisors or EAs as their commonly called can be coded to use fundamental or technical indicators to make trades automatically. They are also free or paid versions available directly in MT4 or the community forum and you can even have someone create your own Expert Advisor with the ability to trade according to your own instructions.
Expert Advisors are very popular with traders because they eliminate the emotional aspect of trading the markets. They also never sleep, don’t get tired and can multi-task beyond human capabilities, enabling them to identify, open and close trades in milliseconds across multiple forex instruments. This gives them the ability to snatch opportunities not available to us simple humans.
That being said, don’t bow down to our robot overlords just yet. There are plenty of successful traders that can outtrade an Expert Advisor because after all they are coded by a human and are gated by that person’s understanding of the market and how it works.
If you are interested in trying out an Expert Advisor first you need to make sure that your forex broker allows Automated Trading with Metatrader 4. CM Trading supports automated trading on all of our trading accounts which you can also use in combination with manual trading if you are so inclined.