Introduction to MetaTrader (MT4) for Beginners

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So you want to start trading the forex market but… where will you execute your trades? It’s not like you can just ring your bank and say, “Hey, I want to go short on EUR/USD.”

Okay fine, you could have done this type of currency trading in the past (if you were lucky and had like a $1.000.0000), but we are living in the modern age now. Nowadays, you can place your trades and get instant market execution without even getting out of your chair. How, you may ask? By using an online platform. And there’s one extremely popular trading platform among forex and CFD traders – the MetaTrader4, also known as MT4.

So, let’s get you up to speed on how to use the MetaTrader4.

MetaTrader4 Basics

First, What is an Online Trading Platform?

An online trading platform is a piece of software provided by forex brokers which serves as an interface that allows retail traders to open, manage or close their trading positions. Thanks to the continuous advancement of technology, hundreds of platforms can now be found online. You might have heard of MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, ZuluTrade, NinjaTrade, or Trading Station.

But one trading software stands out above the rest, the online platform widely known as MetaTrader 4.

What is MetaTrader 4?

MetaTrader 4, also known as MT4 is a popular online trading platform developed by MetaQuotes in 2005. Although it is most commonly associated with Forex trading, MT4 can also be used to trade a range of markets including indices, cryptocurrencies, stocks, and commodities, via CFDs or spread betting.

MetaTrader trading platform allows traders to view charts, stream live prices, and place orders with their broker and is extremely popular due to the fact that it is highly customizable to your individual trading preferences. Not only that, but the MT4 customizable charts are so newbie-friendly that beginner traders can easily spot breakout patterns from analyzing assets on the platform.

The main panels of the MT4 platform are:

  • Market Watch
  • Navigator
  • Chart
  • Trading Terminal window
panels mt4 platform

Let’s explore what these all mean below.

What is Market Watch in MT4?

The Market Watch includes all financial instruments (symbols) available for you to trade and the current market price of each asset. The table in this window includes the Symbol name, the Bid and Ask prices, and the platform time in the left upper corner. You can drag symbols across the list to rearrange them.

The Market Watch window is the most used window on the MT4 as it provides you a view of the forex market as well as to other markets. Essentially, this window displays an overview of price data of currency pairs and is the first source for you to see if the price rises or falls.

market watch mt4 platform

By right-clicking on a particular symbol you’ll be able to open the market watch window and get access to a range of options, such as:

  • New Order – this will open a trade on the selected instrument
  • Chart Window – this will open a new chart of the selected instrument (line chart, or candlestick chart)
  • Tick Chart – this is the sales activity for a single currency pair or any other asset available by the broker
  • Depth of Market – this displays the bid price and ask price for a particular instrument at the current best prices (closest to the market)
  • Specification – this shows the contract specifications of the instrument, such as spreads, contract size, and swap rates

The Market Watch window can be opened and closed by pressing “Ctrl+M” or selecting “Market Watch” from the “View” menu. You can also simply click the Market Watch button from the Toolbar.

What is Navigator in MT4?

The Navigator window in MT4 allows you to log in to any of your trading accounts and gives you access to a lot of important components and tools of your platform like your expert advisors and technical analysis indicators.

navigator mt4 platform

To open the Navigator in your MT4 click “Ctrl + N” or select “Navigator” from the “View” main menu at the top left corner.

What is a Chart in MT4?

The chart panel in MetaTrader 4 allows you to open a chart window and shows the price movement of an instrument. It is the most recognizable part of any online trading platform as it enables users to utilize trading analysis on a specific currency pair or any other asset.

With the MT4 charts, you can use technical analysis tools like support and resistance levels, trend lines, Moving Average, RSI, Bollinger Bands, and more. In fact, you have more than 30 built-in technical analysis indicators on the MT4.

Also, when you select the chart window, you get the data values for a specified asset such as the higher price and lower price on a specified time frame.

charts mt4 platform

The charts can be displayed in different styles – either as a candlestick, line, or bar chart, and you can even view multiple charts on one screen. The charts can also be viewed in different timeframes, from 1-minute charts right through to 1-month charts.

What is a Terminal in MT4?

The Terminal panel located at the bottom of the MT4 platform allows you to manage and monitor all your personal finance and trading activities, pending orders, trading history, cash operations, overall live account balance, equity, and your margin. 

Each line in the Terminal tab is interactive, with options made available by right-clicking on them.

terminal mt4 platform

The Terminal panel is made up of several tabs that run along the bottom of the panel. These are as follows:

  • Trade – in this trade tab, traders can view the status of open positions and pending orders such as stop loss or take profit pending order, as well as manage all trading activities.
  • Exposure – this tab contains the trading account details about the state of assets by all open positions, including your free margin.
  • Account History – this tab compiles a list of all closed trades, including your initial investment.
  • News – all financial news incoming in the terminal can be viewed from this tab.
  • Alerts – different alerts can be viewed and set here.
  • Mailbox – this tab displays all electronic messages sent to you via the platform.
  • Signals – this tab displays trading signals, which are available for subscription.
  • Journal – this tab displays detailed system messages about your account, such as login times, filled or edited orders and closed positions.

How to Start Forex Trading with MT4?

Now that you know what everything means and where to find it, it’s time you install MT4 on your computer, don’t you think? After all, there’s a reason why this CFD trading platform has gained such huge popularity and is perhaps the most popular trading platform in the market. Bear in mind that you can open a free demo account with your forex broker in order to get familiar with the platform and the tools available in it before you open a live trading account and start trading forex. 

MT4 can be downloaded from the MetaTrader 4 website completely free and with no conditions attached.
And because HowToTrade free courses are the bee’s knees, we’re here to guide you through it.

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