Introduction to MetaTrader (MT4) for Beginners

So you want to start trading but… where will you execute your trades?

It’s not like you can just ring your bank and say, “I want to go short on EUR/USD.”

Okay fine, you could have done this in the past (if you were lucky and had like a $1.000.0000), but we are living in the modern age now.

You can place your trades without even getting out of your chair.

How, you may ask?

Let’s get you up to speed on how to use online trading platforms.

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Online Trading Platforms

What is an online trading platform?

An online trading platform is a piece of software provided by brokers which serves as an interface that allows traders to open, manage or close their trading positions.

Thanks to the continuous advancement of technology, hundreds of trading platforms can now be found online. You might have heard of MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, ZuluTrade, NinjaTrade, or Trading Station.

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


What is MetaTrader 4?

MetaTrader 4, also knows as MT4 is a popular online trading platform developed by MetaQuotes in 2005.

Although it is most commonly associated with Forex trading, MT4 can be used to trade a range of markets including Forex, indices, cryptocurrencies, and commodities, via CFDs or spread betting.

MT4 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 customisable to your individual trading preferences.

Not only that, but its customisable charts are so newbie-friendly that an eight-year-old kid can spot breakout patterns from it.

The main panels of the MT4 platform are:

  • Market Watch
  • Navigator
  • Chart
  • Terminal 
metatrader 4 platform, mt4

Let’s explore what these all mean below.

What is Market Watch in MT4?

The Market Watch includes all assets (symbols) available for you to trade. 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.

market watch mt4

By right-clicking on a particular symbol you’ll 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
  • Tick Chart – this is the sales activity for the currency pair
  • Depth of Market – this displays the bid and ask prices 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 of your trading platform like your expert advisors and indicators.

navigator mt4

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

What is a Chart in MT4?

The chart panel in MetaTrader 4 shows the price movement of an instrument and is the most recognisable part of any online trading platform.

chart mt4

The charts can be displayed in different styles – either as candlesticks, line charts, bar charts, and you can even view multiple charts on one screen. The charts can 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 trading activities, pending orders, trading account history, cash operations, overall balance, equity and your margin.

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

terminal mt4

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

  • Trade – in this tab, traders can view the status of open positions and pending orders, as well as manage all trading activities.
  • Exposure – this tab contains the summary information about the state of assets by all open positions.
  • Account History – this tab compiles a list of all performed trade operations and balance.
  • 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.

Getting started with MT4

Now that you know what everything means and where to find it, it’s time you installed MT4 on your computer, don’t you think?

I say ‘install’ because The MT4 platform can’t be accessed through a website.

You have to install the platform on your computer, phone or tablet.

MT4 can be downloaded from the MetaTrader 4 website for completely free and with no conditions attached.

And because Learn How To Trade Trading Academy is the bee’s knees, we’re here to guide you through it.

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