MetaTrader 4 from Metaquotes Software Corp is perhaps one of the most widely used trading terminals in the world. It’s hard to imagine a brokerage company that doesn’t have this software in their arsenal.

A trading terminal is a computer program that provides a trader with the opportunity to manage his account in real time, namely, to receive information about quotations of financial instruments (currency pairs), analyze the market using indicators and graphical instruments, conduct trading operations and manage agreements. At first glance, this is a rather complex program, but a minimum of knowledge is enough to get started. This guide can be called “Metatrader 4 for Dummies”, because it contains information that will be primarily useful to those traders who are just getting acquainted with this program. 

Content:

  1. Where to download the terminal?
  2. How to get started: open an account with Metatrader
  3. Main menu items of the trading terminal
  4. Customizing the Chart Appearance in Metatrader 4
  5. File menu item overview
  6. Menu items View in Metatrader 4
  7. “Insert” item of the main menu 
    1. Graphic tools
      1. Channels
      2. Lines
    2. Indicators submenu
  8. Service menu item
  9. Menu items: Window and Help
  10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
    1. How to customize the display of objects on different timeframes
    2. What if the chart stops scrolling automatically?
    3. Error “No connection” or “Invalid account”
    4. Can’t switch between charts
    5. How to install an external indicator in the terminal?

To install a client terminal, you can download it from the website of almost any broker. Installing the terminal is very simple and we will not dwell on this.

Where to download Metatrader?

You can now download the trading terminal on almost every Forex broker’s website. Usually 4 and 5 versions are available there, as well as a program for Android.

But don’t those who have several client accounts in different companies have to download the terminals of each of them? If there is no need to keep all terminals open (for robots, trailing, and so on), then why install several terminals of different brokers when all metatraders4 (5) are almost identical ???.

Sometimes it is enough to have one working terminal with registered servers for each broker. Therefore, you can download the original clean Metatrader build from the official site https://www.metatrader4.com/ru/download – it will not differ in any way from other terminals. 

Having the trade server address, account number and password, you can use one terminal to pull up all trading accounts in different DCs. This is how the server is written to the terminal:

adding servers manually

Select the “File” menu -> Open an account. Next, in the field below, type in the server name and click to scan. If the server is found, then it will then be marked with a green icon, if not – red. 

Thus, the server is already registered in your terminal. Then you just need to enter your account number and password. You can view the servers of the most frequently used forex brokers here.

How to open a demo account with Metatrader?

After starting, the program usually immediately offers to open a new demo account. It will be useful to do this. If this has not happened, then you can open a new demo account through the “File” -> “Open an account” menu. After selecting a server and the item “New demo account”, a registration form will appear. Fill in its fields with arbitrary data, for example, as shown in the figure.

After completing the registration, write down the data to enter the terminal, they may be needed.

After that, when you receive your login and password, be sure to save them somewhere! Next, open the “File” -> “Connect to a trading account” menu and enter your login, password and server in the window that opens.

login and password input in MT4

The main menu items of the terminal

terminal entrance

Consider the active workspace of the terminal. It is divided into several elements, including standard ones:

  • menu (1),
  • toolbars (2),
  • status line (7).

On the left are the “Market Watch” (3) and “Navigator” (4) windows, on the right – the main field for charts (6), where the trader can manipulate the charts of various financial instruments (currency pairs). Each chart opens in a separate window, and these windows can be arranged in different ways: tiling, cascading, with vertical or horizontal division, or expanded to the entire workspace with tabs for switching between charts.

Below is the terminal window (5), which reflects all open transactions. If you switch tabs, you can find many more interesting things there: protocols, news, broker’s message, advisor library, signal catalog, reminder, but the most interesting thing for a beginner is the history of our deals. It displays all closed deals and non-trading balance changes (deposits, withdrawals, accrual of agency fees, etc.).

How to customize the appearance of charts in the Metatrader 4 terminal?

The main thing to start your acquaintance with the terminal is to understand the charts beautifully. After a new installation of the terminal, from the beginning there are already several open charts with various indicators attached to them. We recommend that you close all these windows at once and open new clean charts. To do this, select a currency pair in the “Market Watch” window and right-click on it, select the “Chart Window” item in the context menu.

open chart in metatrader

For convenient analysis of the price chart, you may need to customize it as much as possible to suit your needs. To change the appearance, you need to change the properties of the chart, for this you need to right-click on any empty area on the chart and select the “Properties” item in the context menu or just press the F8 key. In the window that appears on the “Colors” tab, you can change the color of all chart elements, and on the “General” tab, you can configure the main chart options.

customize the appearance of charts in MT4

Details about each option.

  • Offline chart – if checked, the chart becomes offline, new price data is received and displayed.
  • Top chart – sets the display mode of the chart candles in the foreground relative to other objects.
  • Chart shift – moves the chart from the right edge to the shift mark, which can be moved within 10-50% of the chart window.
  • Chart auto-scrolling – sets the mode to automatically shift the chart to the left as new data comes in and display new candles.
  • Fix scale – fixes the current scale of the chart, otherwise, when scrolling, it is scaled vertically automatically.
  • Fix scale 1: 1 – fixes the scale in such a way that the size of one point in the vertical axis in pixels is equal to the distance between the axes of adjacent bars.
  • Bars – sets the chart display mode as bars.
  • Japanese candlesticks – sets the chart display mode as Japanese candlesticks.
  • Line – sets the chart display mode as a line connecting the closing prices.
  • Show OHLC – shows the prices of the current bar (open, high, low and close) on the left next to the symbol and timeframe.
  • Show Ask line – along with the Bid price line, it also displays the Ask price line.
  • Show period separators – draws additional vertical lines on the chart that correspond to the boundaries of bars from a larger timeframe; for M1 to H1 charts, separators correspond to daily bars, for H4 charts – weekly, for D1 – monthly, and for W1 and MN1 – summer bars.
  • Show Grid – displays a grid on the chart.
  • Show volumes – displays bars at the bottom of the chart that correspond to the pseudo-volume of each bar, does not work with a fixed scale. 
    • Until recently, in the MT4 terminal, information about the real market volumes was technically unpredictable at all, instead of it, the number of so-called ticks is now displayed – pieces of information on price changes received from the server for a certain period.
  • Show object descriptions – if graphical objects are used in the chart, they are displayed together with volumes.

Some of these options can be configured globally for the entire terminal through the “Tools” -> “Options” menu, as well as in some other places on the menu. “Chart displacement”, “Autoscroll” and the choice of the chart display mode (“Bars”, “Japanese candlesticks” and “Line”) can also be quickly switched on the toolbar. Also, on the toolbar, you can increase or decrease the chart scale (size of one bar), as well as select the time scale, the so-called timeframe: M1, M5, M15, M30, H1, H4, D1, W1, MN1.

After setting up one schedule, in order not to repeat all these actions with each schedule separately, you can save the settings as a template. Then, when you open new charts, you can apply previously created templates to them. And if the template is named ‘default.tpl’, then this template will be automatically applied to all new charts.

template mt4

Thus, we got acquainted with the main elements of the trading terminal interface and the most important settings for the charts of currency pairs. Do not forget that any answers to your questions related to the operation of the terminal can be found in its user manual, which is invoked by pressing the F1 key.

File menu item overview

Let’s start looking at the main menu of the MetaTrader4 trading terminal and start in order from the File item.

file menu item in metatrader 4

This menu combines commands for working with charts, managing profiles, saving historical data and charts, and printing charts.

  • New Chart – opens a new chart window for a financial instrument. When the command is executed, a list of available financial instruments appears, choosing from which you can get a new chart. The functionality of this menu item is duplicated by the button on the toolbar.
  • Open Offline – opens the offline chart of the instrument from the selected file with saved historical data, while new data from the server will not be displayed on this chart.
  • Open Deleted – restores the deleted chart, if the saving of deleted charts was enabled in the settings.
  • Profiles – opens a submenu for managing profiles, where you can save, delete, and load previously saved profiles. This submenu can also be called by the button on the toolbar.
  • Close – removes the active chart.
  • Save As – saves historical data as text files from CSV, PRN or HTM formats.
  • Save as Picture – saves the graph image in PNG format, offers a choice of one of the options “Active work area”, “Active chart (as is)” and “Active chart” with the ability to specify specific dimensions. It is also possible to publish a chart directly on the MQL5 Charts community website. This function can also be called through the chart context menu.
  • Open data directory – opens a directory with client terminal files.
  • Open an account – opens a new demo account, with the opportunity to set the initial parameters of the account and select a server. You can also open a new account through the Navigator context menu in the Accounts list.
  • Connect to a trading account – authorizes the terminal on the company’s server, before that you are asked to enter the account number, password and server. A similar command is available in the “Navigator” context menu in the “Accounts” list or you can click on a specific account from the list.
  • Log in to MQL5.community – authorizes in the MQL5.community, which allows you to use additional services, for example, buy Expert Advisors or receive signals.
  • Print Settings – general print settings: printer selection, paper size, page orientation, and more.
  • Preview – Preview the graph before printing using the printer settings. The same action can be performed using the button on the toolbar or through the chart context menu.
  • Print – prints the chart on a printer The same action can be performed using the button on the toolbar, by pressing the CTRL + P key combination, or through the chart context menu.
  • Exit – closes the terminal program.

Menu items View in Metatrader 4

This menu combines items related to customizing the appearance of the terminal and selecting and configuring the necessary interface elements.

menu item view in MT4 terminal
  • Languages ​​- provides an opportunity to select the interface language.
  • Toolbars – allows you to enable or disable the display of toolbars (standard, charts, graphical instruments and chart period), as well as customize the standard toolbar, that is, change the composition and order of tool buttons on it, and to customize other panels, you can use the context menu of these panels by right-clicking on them.
  • Status bar – turns the display of the status bar on and off.
  • Chart switching panel – turns the charts switching panel on and off, that is, a panel of bookmarks or so-called “tabs”, which are located under the main field for charts.
  • Symbols – calls a window with groups of symbols, where you can view properties (spread, accuracy, stop level, pending GTC orders, contract size, profit calculation method, swap type, long position swap, short position swap, margin calculation method, hedged margin) of each from financial instruments.
characters in mt4
  • Market Watch – turns the “Market Watch” window on and off, you can also use the CTRL + M key combination or the corresponding button on the toolbar.
  • Data Window – turns the “Data Window” on and off, the CTRL + D key combination or the button on the toolbar also works.
  • Navigator – turns on and off the “Navigator” window, the keyboard shortcut CTRL + N or the button on the toolbar also works.
  • Terminal – turns the terminal window on and off, the CTRL + T key combination or the button on the toolbar also works.
  • Strategy Tester – turns the strategy tester window on and off, the CTRL + R combination or the button on the toolbar also works.
  • Full screen – enables and disables the full screen mode, in which the toolbars, the status bar and all service windows are removed, only the terminal title bars, the main menu, the work area and the tabs of the chart windows remain on the screen. This mode is also toggled with the F11 hotkey.

“Insert” item of the main menu of Metatrader

Consider the Insert item. This item is responsible for inserting a variety of indicators and graphical objects or instruments on the quote chart. It is divided into three sections:

  • drop-down submenu Indicators;
  • several groups of instruments;
  • some of the more popular tools.

Let’s consider what groups of instruments and indicators are available in this menu item.

Among the graphical tools, there are the following groups:

  • Lines
  • Channels
  • Gunn
  • Fibonacci
  • Shapes
  • Badges

Let’s consider some of the most used ones.

Channels in MT4

Among the graphical analysis tools built into the MT4 trading terminal, various channels are quite popular. To insert a channel into the chart of a financial instrument, use the “Insert” -> “Channels” menu and select one of four types of channels:

  1. Fibonacci channel;
  2. Linear Regression Channel;
  3. Equidistant channel;
  4. Standard deviation channel.

Any of these tools can be brought to the toolbar.

The equidistant channel is perhaps worth considering first, since it is the simplest. These are two parallel lines, the first of which is drawn like a regular trend line through two adjacent low points (for an upward channel), and the second is drawn in parallel through the high point between these two points.

Typically, traders use channels to trade bounces or breakouts of specified lines.

The linear regression channel is built on the basis of the linear regression trend line, which is built using two points, which are calculated for the beginning and for the end of a certain period (the number of bars or candles) by the least squares method using the formula:

Y = a + bx, where:

x – number of the current bar, numbered from 1;
y – the closing price of the current bar;
n is the total number of bars.

The standard deviation channel is very similar to the linear regression channel and it is built according to exactly the same principles with the only difference: the channel lines are removed from the linear regression trend line by the amount of several standard deviations of the price. To change the number of deviations, you need to open the tool properties window by right-clicking on it.

Both channels are usually used in breakout trading, since it is believed that the linear regression trend line itself is a kind of balanced price point, and movement around it and, accordingly, within the channel is insignificant noise, while going beyond the channel signals a trend change.

The Fibonacci channel might be worth attributing to another group of Fibonacci tools, which are united by one rather interesting mathematical sequence and the idea about the connection of this sequence with many natural processes and phenomena.

Now we will not consider these ideas, but focus on the principles of using this tool. The channel itself is an ordinary equidistant channel, which is taken as 100%, and a set of parallel lines that are 61.8%, 100%, 161.8% and 261.8% distant from the second channel line. To change or add your own lines, you need to open the tool properties window by right-clicking on it.

The main feature of the channel construction is that it is based on the completion of the previous trend. For example, if it was a downtrend, then two points of the lower line are placed on the pivot point and the local minimum that precedes it, and the point of the upper line is placed on the local maximum, which is located between these two points. As a result, the received channel lines will serve as resistance lines and indicate the places of a possible reversal of the upward trend.

Channel lines are plotted as equidistant from the linear regression trend line by the maximum deviation of the closing price in the middle of the specified period.

Lines in Metatrader 4

The MT4 trading terminal has a large number of built-in charting tools for analyzing the price chart, among them the simple ones are lines. In order to insert a line on the chart, you need to use the “Insert” -> “Lines” menu and then select one of four types of lines:

  1. Vertical line;
  2. Horizontal line;
  3. Trend line;
  4. trend line by angle.

The first three lines are also duplicated as buttons on the toolbar. Now, briefly about the purpose of each of these lines.

Vertical line. It is usually used to separate certain cycles on the chart, for example, periods of growth or decline in the chart. Another example, for experts in fractal theory, is the selection of individual fractal structures. You can also mark the time of opening and closing deals, etc.

A horizontal line or level . Most often, horizontal lines are used to mark the so-called support and resistance levels . It is said that price movement on a chart is the result of a battle between two opposing forces – bulls and bears. This is the name of those market players who at a particular moment buy or sell a currency pair (or other financial instrument). When the bulls win, the price moves up, and when the bears – down. Places where price reverses are created where the advantage of some is changed by the advantage of others, that is, bulls do not allow the price to decline further, or bears do not allow it to rise. These places are called support levels and resistance levels, respectively. Naturally, these concepts are very conditional and relative, because if the level, say, the resistance is broken through, usually, it then becomes a new support level and vice versa.

Trend lines . A stable price movement in a certain direction over a significant period of time is called a trend. Movement in a trend consists of two components of momentum, when the price moves in the direction of the trend and correction, when the price rolls back in the opposite direction. Trend lines are usually drawn by 2 points or by a local extremum (minimum or maximum) and the nearest pullback, or by two pullbacks closest to the extreme. There are also definitions that they are built on two important points, but it is difficult to determine which points are important. One way or another, for an uptrend, two points of minimums (below) are taken, and for a downtrend, maximums (above). Such lines are called support and resistance lines, not to be confused with levels.

Angle trend line. It is difficult to say clearly why such lines can be used, perhaps to track the “rate” of price growth or fall, that is, we set a certain assumed angle that characterizes a certain rate of price change, say 45 °, and then we observe that the price moves above our line. or below, which may indicate the strength of the trend.

One way or another, these 4 tools are the simplest and, perhaps, most often used in graphical analysis. 

Some of the popular indicators are also presented in the indicator submenu at the top, and the following groups are presented below:

  • Trend
  • Oscillators
  • Volumes
  • White Williams
  • Custom

I would also like to note a group of custom indicators. It contains all external indicators loaded in the MQL4 / Indicators catalog, some of them are provided by Metaquotes itself and are accompanied by the source code. Those who are interested in developing their own Expert Advisors can familiarize themselves with the implementation of the program code of these indicators.

Service menu item

There are 5 sub-items here:

  • New order
  • Quotes archive
  • Global Variables
  • MetaQuotes Language Editor
  • Settings

The action of the first item, which is also performed by pressing the F9 key, is discussed in this article .

Quotes archive – calls the window for managing historical data, which can also be called by pressing the F2 key. Here you can perform various actions with quotes, even edit individual candles, but most often this window is used to load and import / export quotes. This is usually done in order to obtain the most complete sequence of quotes, as they say, “without holes” for use in the strategy tester . “Bad” quotes for certain periods of history can be downloaded from some sites, for example, https://www.dukascopy.com/swiss/russian/marketwatch/historical/ .]]>]]>

Global variables – calls the window for managing global variables of the terminal, hotkey F3. The only purpose of these global variables known to us is their use in various Expert Advisors, either as a temporary storage of data in the periods between Expert Advisor launches, or for exchanging data between several copies of Expert Advisors. Alternatively, global variables can be used to configure certain default EA options. But we must remember that these variables are stored in the terminal for 4 weeks from the moment of the last call.

The MetaQuotes Language or MQL editor can also be called by pressing the F4 key. It is not just an editor, but a full-fledged environment for developing advisors for the MetaTrader4 terminal. As befits a full-fledged environment for programmers, the editor has all the most necessary tools: keyword highlighting, indentation, auto-completion, a built-in compiler, and from a certain time even a full-fledged debugger is built into it.

Settings – calls the terminal settings window, which can also be called using the CTRL + O key combination. The window contains 11 tabs with certain individual aspects of the terminal configuration. Let’s briefly consider each of them separately.

Server – here you can change the basic settings for connecting to the server, this is exactly the information that you enter when trying to connect to your account:

  • server name or address, login, i.e. account number and password.

To change the password on the server, you must click the “Change” button, after which you must specify the current password, select the password that you will change (main or investor) and enter a new password with confirmation. Also on this tab you can configure connection via a proxy server, save connection settings and restore them at startup, enable DDE server and receive news from the server.

Charts – on this tab you can change the display parameters of charts, some of them can be configured for each chart separately by pressing the F8 key. We have already considered these parameters, so we will dwell in a little more detail only on those that have not yet been considered.

“Show trading levels” – indicates whether to display horizontal levels on the chart for open or pending orders, as well as Stop Loss and Take Profit levels, which also allows you to change them by moving with the mouse.

  • “Use ‘Alt’ key to drag trade levels” – sets an additional ‘Alt’ key to move trade levels to prevent their accidental movement, which can often happen when you try to move a graphical object.
  • “Color printing” – you may only need this if you have a color printer.
  • “Save deleted windows for reopening” – if you remember, when we looked at the “File” menu, we mentioned the “Open Remote” item, this is the value that should allow us to do this operation.
  • “Max. Bars in history and in window” – these two options set the number of bars that are stored in historical data on the hard disk and in the computer memory in accordance. Why store more data on a hard drive than can fit in memory? Because this information can then be used in the strategy tester. The more values ​​you set, the longer you can run the strategy test, if necessary.

Objects – here we set the settings for the terminal behavior when working with graphical objects. You can specify whether to display the object properties window immediately after placing it on the chart, select it and how it can be selected: by double or single mouse click. It also sets the ability to magnetize the anchor points of the object to the mesh in a given number of pixels.

Trade – on this tab you can configure the default parameters for creating a new agreement (F9), as well as allow “one-click trading” – trading without additional confirmation from the trader. Such trading requires a special agreement; it is implemented in the quick trading panel on the chart (ALT + T), with trading levels and through the context menu.

Expert Advisors – this tab allows you to configure the use of Expert Advisors in your terminal. Here you can actually enable or disable the use of automated trading, the behavior of this function when the account, profile, or even the period of the chart symbol is changed, and you can also enable the use of third-party dynamic link libraries (DLLs) and external Internet requests specifying specific URLs of allowed sites.

Notifications  – here you can configure push notifications and enter your MetaQuotes ID. This will allow you to receive instant notifications from MetaQuotes services, as well as from advisors and scripts.

notifications

Mail – settings of the mail server parameters for sending messages using advisors or signals.

FTP – configure access to an FTP server in order to publish your account status on the Internet.

Events  – setting up sound signals for certain events occurring in the terminal, for example, moving the Stop Loss level using trailing.

Community – here you can specify the login and password for accessing the MQL5.community global Internet community, which will provide some opportunities for integrating the services of this community with your terminal.

Signals – setting up the signal system, which is just part of the integration of the trading terminal with the MQL5.community.

Menu items: Window and Help

They are of an auxiliary nature. The “Window” menu item is intended to arrange the chart windows in the working area of ​​the terminal. Here are 6 sub-items and a list of open windows, between which you can switch, including using this menu.

  • New window – obviously intended for opening new charts.
  • Mosaic – positions the windows so that they do not overlap each other, while the windows distribute the working area optimally in several rows and columns.
mosaic windows
  • Cascade – cascades the windows, that is, so that they overlap each other and are offset by a certain distance to the right and down.
cascade

Horizontally – positions the windows so that they do not overlap each other, and they distribute the working area strictly in one column.

Vertically – arranges windows so that they do not overlap with each other, and they distribute the work area strictly in one line.

Place Icons – Arranges the icons of minimized windows in a specific order.

post icons

The “Help” menu item is intended for obtaining information about the terminal, and also contains links to the mql4.com and mql5.com sites, for example, the section is devoted to technical analysis, mobile trading or the MQL4.community and MQL5.community communities.

I find the most useful sub-items on this menu to be:

  • Help call – opens help on using the terminal. For this sub-item you can get more detailed information on the issue of your interest. Help can also be called up by pressing F1.
  • About the program – here you can see which version of the terminal you are using.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This section will be constantly updated with new questions.

How to customize the display of objects on different timeframes

Use the key combination ctrl + b. What’s also interesting is that you can configure the visibility of each object on the chart for a specific time interval in the “object properties” menu.

objects in metatrader 4

By the way, the same can be configured for indicators. It is very convenient, for example, when indicators with some settings are shown on some timeframes, and indicators with others on others. Then you select several indicators with different settings and indicate which ones to show on certain timeframes.

What if the chart stops scrolling automatically?

Let’s say the situation is as follows: on the EURUSD pair, a window opens in the data of the one for when it was opened last time and constantly has to rewind to today’s date. And with other couples everything is fine. 

Look at the section  Customizing the Chart Appearance in Metatrader 4 , namely, “Chart Autoscroll”. It can also be enabled by the corresponding button in the toolbar. The button is similar to the “play” button of the player, such a green triangle is an arrow on the background of the coordinate grid (located in the same panel where the bar / candle / line chart types are switched).

autoscroll MT4 chart

“No connection” or “Invalid account” errors 

In most cases, this message means the platform is unable to log in due to connection errors. You can check your internet connection or, if the issue persists, contact your broker’s support team for further assistance.

Can’t switch between charts

How do I get back the presence of many windows in the terminal? Now I have opened one, but there you can only look at one instrument?

You need to enable the checkbox in the “View” menu item:

How to install an external indicator in the terminal?

Let’s say I downloaded an indicator for Forex. How do I install it?

The simplest is to copy *. mq4 * .ex4 to the folder with indicators:

  1. Launch Terminal
  2. Click in the top menu “File -> Open Data Directory”
  3. In the window that opens, select the MQL4 -> Indicators folder and copy the indicator files there
installation of the indicator in MT4

If you only have *. mq4, you may need to compile the file through the metaeditor:

  1. The metaeditor is launched. Open the saved indicator.
  2. Compile it and choose “save as”. Typically the metaeditor will save it to the correct directory.
  3. That’s it, you have it in your terminal.

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