Despite the release of MetaTrader 5, and the loads of other forex trading platforms out there, many traders still use MetaTrader 4 (MT4) for forex trading… and will likely continue to do so for some time as many brokers are slow to switch over to newer platforms. Having used MetaTrader 4 for a number of years I still continue to learn new ways to use the software. Here are some of the most beneficial MT4 tips and tricks I have found over the last several years.
With that said, there are definitely better forex trading platforms than MetaTrader. Many brokers now offer their own software, and many of these programs are much more versatile than MT4. While MT4 is an okay platform for trading, if you are with a broker that offers other platform options, you may wish to demo those platforms as well.
Since forex brokers are so different, MT4 and MT5 are two of the platforms most brokers offer, whereas other platforms are unlikely to be offered by a wide array of brokers. MT4 remains one of the most widely used trading platforms simply because it is offered by nearly all brokers. Switching to a different platform may mean having to give it up if you switch brokers.
Navigating Charts – MT4 Tips and Tricks
Here are some simple shortcuts you can use while in MT4.
-Roll your mouse wheel up or down to move forward or back in time.
–Page Up or Page Down keys will advance the entire screen forward or back in time.
-Hit End to move to the most recent price bar on your chart.
–F12 to move forward in time one bar at time while looking at historical data (useful for strategy development and learning to read the market).
-Place your cursor on the vertical scale (price) and if you click you can move up and down, compressing or expanding the price data shown (good for seeing a target or price outside the current range of the chart).
-Place your cursor on the horizontal scale (time) and if you click you can move left or right, zooming in or zooming out the chart (similar to click the + or – buttons or keys).
-Double click on the chart to revert to the original scale if you have made either of the two alterations above.
-Go directly to a specific time to date by hitting Enter and then inputting the date in the following format: DD.MM.YY (day month year) followed by HH.MM (hour minute) if you want a specific time of that day.
Measure Distances – MT4 Tips and Tricks
There is a “ruler” function in MetaTrader 4 trading software which allows you to easily measure one point on a chart to another. A very handy MT4 Tip indeed.
-Click your mouse wheel to bring up the crosshairs (no mouse wheel? hit Ctrl-F to bring up the crosshairs). Then hold down the left mouse button from a particular point and drag the cursor to another point to measure the distance.
The MT4 ruler appears and provides three pieces of data along with it. The first piece of data is the number of bars between the origin and second price point. The next number tells you how many pips from the first point to the second. Since most brokers offer fractional pip pricing a reading of 61 means 6.1 pips. 125 means 12.5. The third number that appears is the price your cursor is currently at.
Here is a sample screenshot of the MT4 ruler:
MT4 Ruler Function
The chart above shows the ruler (angled black line) extending 7 bars to the right of the origin. The endpoint of the ruler is 262.6 pips from the origin, and end point of the ruler is located at 1.22151.
Drawing Tools – MT4 Tips and Tricks
Lots of trading using drawing tools like trendlines, or rectangles for marking consolidations or ranges.
-Duplicate any object by selecting it and then hitting Ctrl+left-click. This is very useful and can save time, as you don’t need to go into the menus to re-create certain drawing objects (such as Fibonacci retracements). Often the duplicated object will appear right on top of the former object. Click on the object to move it and you will see there are now two.
-Double click on an object to edit its properties.
Add One Indicator to Another – MT4 Tips and Tricks
“Compounding” can be an awesome tool. Ever wanted to add a moving average to an RSI (potential trade signals)? Or Bollinger Bands to an ATR (can show when volatility is unsustainable or due for an increase)? This can be done with all sorts of indicators.
Add your first indicator to your chart in the usual fashion. For example, if you want a moving average applied to an RSI, add the RSI first.
Next, open the Navigator window (Ctrl-N).
From the Indicators drop-down list, find the indicator you want to add to the other indicator. Then drag that second indicator onto the indicator on your chart.
A Properties window automatically pops up. Click on the Parameters tab. Click the drop-down menu of Apply to and select First Indicator’s Data. This will apply the moving average (or another indicator) to the RSI (or another indicator). My youtube video, Adding One Indicator to Another Indicator in MT4, demonstrates how to do this if you run into any issues.
The chart above shows the end result of adding a moving average (30) to an RSI (14).
HotKeys – MT4 Tips and Tricks
Below are the standard Hotkeys in MetaTrader 4. To add other hotkeys for indicators, scripts, or expert advisors, go to the Navigator window (Ctrl-N) and right clicking on almost anything. A pop-up menu appears with the option to “Set hotkey”. Click this option and a list of available features you can apply hotkeys to will appear.
Here are the default hotkeys in MT4.
Left arrow — scroll left
Right arrow — scroll right
Up arrow — quickly scroll left, or scroll upwards if the chart is scaled
Down arrow — quickly scroll right, or scroll downwards if the chart is scaled
Numpad 5 — restores vertical scale to default.
Page Up — scroll a whole screen to the left
Page Down — scroll a whole screen to the right
Home — move the chart to a starting point
End — move the chart to most recent point
“–” (minus sign) – zoom out
“+” (plus sign) – zoom in
Delete — delete all selected objects
Backspace — delete most recently added object
Enter — open the box to enter a specific time or date for viewing
Esc — close any dialog window
F1 — open the user guide
F2 — open the History Center window
F3 — open the Global Variables “window
F4 — open MetaEditor
F5 — switch to the next profile
F6 — call the “Tester” dialog window for testing the expert attached to the chart window
F7 — call the properties dialog window of the expert attached to their chart window, in order to change its settings
F8 — call the chart setup dialog window, allowing basic chart parameters, colors, etc to be changed
F9 — call the “New Order” window, allowing the entry of market, limit, stop orders
F10 — open the “Popup prices” window
F11 — enable/disable full screen mode
F12 — scroll one bar to the left
Shift+F12 — scroll one bar to the right
Shift+F5 — switch to the previous profile
Alt+1 — display the chart as OHLC bars
Alt+2 — display the chart as OHLC candlesticks
Alt+3 — display the chart as a line
Alt+A — copy all test/optimization results onto the clipboard
Alt+W — call the chart management window
Alt+F4 — exit the program
Ctrl+A — arrange all indicator window heights by default
Ctrl+B — call the “Objects List” dialog window
Ctrl+C or Ctrl+Insert — copy to the clipboard
Ctrl+D — open/close the Data Window
Ctrl+E — enable/disable the attached expert advisor
Ctrl+F — switch to Crosshair mode
Ctrl+G — show/hide the vertical/horizontal grid
Ctrl+H — show/hide the OHLC line
Ctrl+I — call the Indicators List dialog window
Ctrl+L — show/hide volume data on the main chart
Ctrl+M — open/close the Market Watch window
Ctrl+N — open/close the Navigator window
Ctrl+O — open the Setup window
Ctrl+P — print the chart
Ctrl+R — open/close the “Tester” window
Ctrl+S — save the chart prices to file extensions: “CSV”, “PRN” or “HTM”
Ctrl+T — open/close the Terminal window
Ctrl+W or Ctrl+F4 — close the chart window that’s currently in focus
Ctrl+Y— show/hide date (period) separators
Ctrl+Z or Alt+Backspace — undo object deletions in the reverse order they occurred
Ctrl+F6 — switch to the next chart window
Ctrl+F9 — open the “Terminal — Trade” window and switch the focus into it, allowing trading operations to be entered via the keyboard.
MT4 is not the best forex trading platform, but it is the most commonly used. If you have any other MT4 Tips or Tricks please share them in the comments.
If you are looking to improve your forex trading and need strategies and guidance for doing so, check out my Forex Strategies Guide for Day and Swing Traders. Over 300 pages of Forex basics and 20+ Forex strategies for profiting in the 24-hours-a-day Forex market. This isn’t just an eBook, it’s a course to build your skill step by step.
By Cory Mitchell, CMT