Your guide to MetaTrader 4 learn all about the basic features of the trading platform
If you want to achieve consistent results in forex trading, the first step is becoming fluent in using the platform and taking advantage of the information it provides.
The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform contains most of the tools that a trader needs in order to succeed in trading the retail forex market. The platform also includes a wide range of technical indicators which can be applied to your charts and most features can be further customized according to your preferences.
MT4’s main user interface can be split up in three main sections which include the following:
- Market Watch
We’ll guide you through each section separately with a brief overview and provide some useful tips that you can use to trade more effectively.
As soon as you launch the platform and log into your account, you will be greeted by the Market Watch Window on your left which indicates the tradeable assets made available by your broker. Next to each currency pair, you will be able to see the Bid and Ask price as well as the Spread.
Each asset class in the Market Watch window is indicated by a different color for clarity but you can also show or hide the assets that appear so as to reveal only the ones you are interested in trading. You can do this with a simple right-click on the symbol you wish to hide which will reveal the context menu and various customization options. Through here, you can either show or hide all available instruments or you can select the “Symbols” option for a more granular approach regarding which symbols or asset classes you can show or hide.
The Market Watch context menu also provides one of the several ways you can open a new order in MT4. Just right-click on the symbol you wish to buy or sell to reveal the context menu and select “New Order”.
The second option under the context menu is the “Chart Window” and when selected, you will be able to see the price chart for that symbol.
The charts are one of the most important part of any trading platform as they provide a graphical representation of price movements which also helps in making predictions based on historical data. The charts on MT4 are highly customizable and can be tweaked according to your liking as well.
You can change your chart view to lines, bars or candlesticks with the latter being the most popular chart type used by forex traders. Candlesticks are widely popular because they provide an insight into the emotional state of the market between each open and close. When the market is bullish the candles will be colored green while bearish candles are traditionally shown in red.
However, since charts are customizable, you can change the colors of the candles by right-clicking anywhere on the chart and then selecting “Properties”. Under the “Colors” tab, you can change the “Bull candle” and “Bear candle” colors to a color of your choosing or even change the color of the background of the chart.
MT4 also offers nine different timeframes for your charts which can benefit traders by providing a broader or more microscopic view of the market price. Short-term traders usually prefer monitoring the lower timeframes: daily, hourly or 15-minute timeframe while long-term traders may focus on the weekly or monthly timeframes as they believe those are more meaningful in terms of market direction.
The Terminal is the white horizontal window at the bottom of your MT4 trading platform. In case you can’t find the terminal in the platform, you can navigate to “View” on the top menu bar and then select “Terminal” to make sure it’s not hidden.
The MT4 Terminal provides vital information about your account including your balance, equity, market exposure as well as your trade history.
Through the Terminal you can also gain access to several other useful features such as news and alerts from your forex broker regarding important market developments and volatility warnings. The MT4 Market which is arguably on the most important MT4 features is also available through the Terminal.
The MT4 Market is a community hub where you can buy and sell custom indicators, tutorials, strategies and trading robots. This wide-ranging marketplace is arguably the reason behind MT4’s decade-long prominence in the retail forex industry and why its preferred equally by beginner and professional traders alike.
If you are also looking for ways to invest in forex but prefer leaving the actual trading to more skilled individuals, you can navigate to the “Signals” tab in your terminal and subscribe to one or more of the thousands Trading Signals available.
Think of Trading Signals as a service provided by other traders where you can automatically copy their trades to your account for free or for a weekly/monthly fee. Trading Signals are sorted according to their Growth percentage and therefore, you will be able to find the most successful ones at the top of the list, with their statistics and past performance publicly available for your perusal.