MT4 basics

MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is a popular trading platform that allows you to trade the financial markets. Here we’ll go through how the platform works and what you need to know to get started.


What’s in the platform?

The main panels of the MT4 platform are the ‘Market Watch’, ‘Navigator’, ‘Chart’ and ‘Terminal’ panels. Let’s go through each one in some detail.


Market Watch

The Market Watch displays all the different instruments that you can trade – including forex pairs, indices, precious metals and energies – and displays the instrument symbol alongside the current bid and ask prices.

By right-clicking on a particular symbol you’ll have 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 chart panel shows the price movement of an instrument, and is the most recognisable part of any trading platform.
The charts can be displayed in different means – either as candlesticks, price bars or line charts, and you can even view multiple charts on one screen at the click of a button if you’re tracking multiple markets.

The charts can be viewed in different timeframes, from 1 minute charts right through to 1 month charts. A 1-minute chart simply means that each candlestick, bar or line displays one minute of movement. Likewise, with a monthly chart, each candlestick, bar or line shows one month of movement.

Marking up a chart with vertical, horizontal and trend lines, text and arrows is simple, and these are vital tools you will regularly use if you plan to analyse the charts.

Navigator panel

The navigator panel allows you to log in to any of your trading accounts. From this panel you can also create a demo account and test any strategies before trading in a live environment.

The other important feature of the navigator panel is the ability to add different indicators to your chart panel. There are multiple indicators to choose from, and you could even create your own indicator through MQL5, (the MT4 programming language), and import them into MT4 for your use.

Terminal panel

The Terminal panel provides quick access to your account and trading history. Each line in the Terminal tab is interactive, with options made available by right-clicking on them.

The Terminal panel is made up of a number of tabs that run along the bottom of the panel:

Trade – this displays your open positions and pending orders.

Account History – this compiles a list of all executed trades. You can view your profit and loss, credits, deposits, and withdrawal information. You can right-click to search between a desired time period.

News – here you’ll find important and relevant trading headlines.

Alerts – this shows a list of alerts and you can also use this tab to set alarms to notify you when an instrument has either reached a specific price, or crossed an indicator trend line.

Mailbox – this displays all our electronic messages sent to you via the platform.

Experts – this shows information about the active Expert Advisors (EAs) in your account. You can also view positions the EA has opened or closed.

Journal – this displays detailed system messages about your account, such as login times, filled or edited orders and closed positions.

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