What is MetaTrader 4, and How Do You Use it for Online Trading?
Technology has come a long way in assisting brokers and traders. The Week shares how it has made trading more convenient and accessible by allowing people to access platforms on smartphones and laptops. This has resulted in an increased interest in trading markets. In fact, the number of active demat accounts—which a person must have to start trading—has increased from 4.1 crore in March 2020 to 8.97 crore in March 2022.
Besides this, multiple platforms today allow people to trade and have features that assist and make certain trading processes more efficient. One of these is MetaTrader 4, a leading electronic trading platform used by investors across the globe.
If you're an online trader unfamiliar with this software, read on to learn more about what it is and how exactly you can use it for online trading:
What is MetaTrader 4?
Simply put, it's a forex and contract for difference trading platform developed by MetaQuotes Software. Although released in 2005, it continues to serve brokers and traders alike.
One thing that makes the MetaTrader 4 one of the top platforms for online trading is its features. It offers trading flexibility that allows you to trade CFDs with six pending orders and two trading types, namely Instant Execution and Market Execution. You can use instant execution to open or close positions with the price and volume specified, and market execution to buy or sell at any current price.
Another prominent feature it offers is automated trading. Trading robots called Expert Advisors allow users to automate trading and analytical operations. These robots can find opportunities depending on users' set parameters, then send notifications or automatically open positions.
In 2010, MetaQuotes unveiled a successor to this platform, aptly called the MetaTrader 5. It has advanced features that help brokers attract new clients and drive higher trading volumes. Brokers can offer virtual servers to their clients and user groups, allowing round-the-clock trading that improves their business performance. Even so, many prefer MetaTrader 4 for its user-friendly and customizable interface.
How do you use MetaTrader 4 for online trading?
Set up the software
The first thing you must do is download the software you need from MetaTrader 4's official website. From here, run the .exe file and follow the instructions on your screen.
This process will be slightly different if you’re using Linux, especially since it’s a reliable operating system that touts optimal security features. That means you'll have to work around those features to install MetaTrader. If your device runs Ubuntu, download the WineHQ compatibility layer by typing this command into your computer’s command line: ‘sudo apt-get install wine-stable’. That will allow you to run Windows-based software, so you more easily download MetaTrader 4.
Learn how to navigate it
The Fast Navigation Box is the easiest way to use MetaTrader 4. You can bring this up by simply hitting the ‘Enter’ key. You’ll then see six commands that you can perform. Amongst them are switching the security displayed by typing its symbol (such as USDCAD), changing the chart’s time frame by writing a symbol—like M1, and jumping to a particular time by typing the hour and minute.
You can also change the chart style according to your preferences. For example, you can choose a line chart, a candlestick chart, or a bar chart by selecting its respective icon in the toolbar at the top of the screen.
Use it to trade forex
To begin trading forex, choose your currency pair by selecting the ‘Window’ tab at the top, then clicking on ‘New Window’. After this, press ‘New Order’ on the toolbar. A window will appear, where you’ll see drop-down menus. Select your currency pair, volume, stop loss, and other factors before clicking ‘Sell by Market’ or ‘Buy by Market' to place an order.
Use it to trade stocks
Trading stocks on MetaTrader 4 does not involve purchasing physical shares in a company. Rather, you speculate about the direction of a company’s stock prices via CFDs.
You can start trading CFDs by opening the ‘Market Watch’ window to see the list of share CFD prices available. If you want to open a price chart from the list, right-click on its ‘Symbol’, then select ‘Chart Window’. Once you have the share you want to trade in a chart window, click ‘New Order’. This will open an ‘Order’ window where you can choose your trade size and decide whether to deal at the market or work a stop order.
Leverage MetaTrader 4 indicators
Indicators are technical analysis tools that assist you in identifying market trends and provide evidence for price movement predictions. MetaTrader 4 comes with many core trading indicators, including the Simple Moving Average (the calculated value of the mean average closing price for a specific time frame) and the Bollinger Band (indicators that show a standard deviation level below and above a simple moving average). You can access these by looking at the ‘Indicators’ folder in the ‘Navigator’ window.
Moreover, you can install custom indicators by downloading the MetaTrader Supreme Edition, a plug-in with additional indicators and trading tools that enhance the platform's existing capabilities.
Use MetaTrader 4 to copy trades
Copy trading on MetaTrader 4 refers to automatically trading financial elements on your account by copying signals from successful traders. You can choose from multiple signal providers and view their trade history and performance chart to ensure you copy signals that benefit your trading.
To start, go to the ‘Signals’ tab at the bottom of the screen, choose a provider from the list, and then select their free or paid strategy. After this, press the ‘Subscribe’ button to customize trade parameters or use the default settings. Once done, you can view the strategy’s trade statistics on the ‘My Statistics’ tab.
Turn on notifications
MetaTrader 4 can send you notifications regarding price changes, bids, and asks, which is helpful if you want to maximize trading opportunities as they happen.
Turn on notifications by going to the ‘Alerts’ tab in the ‘Terminal’ window. Right-click anywhere on the window, then select ‘Create’. This will ask you to fill in alert criteria, like the market that you want to place an alert in and what ‘Value’ you wish to receive notifications for.
Check for updates
Updates keep MetaTrader 4 working at its best by adding trading and security features while also fixing bugs. The platform should update automatically every time there’s a release by MetaQuotes. You can check if you have the latest version by clicking ‘Help’, then ‘About’. If it doesn’t update by itself, uninstall and reinstall the software.
MetaTrader 4 is a top choice among online traders thanks to its user-friendly, customizable, and feature-rich software. Learn to use it today with the tips provided above.