MetaTrader 4 starter guide

Get started with MetaTrader 4 with our guide to opening an MT4 account, downloading and setting up the platform, placing your first trades and implementing an Expert Advisor (EA).

With IG, you can use MetaTrader 4 (MT4) to trade forex, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies via CFDs or spread betting. Use this starter guide to learn how to:

  1. Download and install MT4
  2. Set up MT4
  3. Place a trade with MT4
  4. Add and use an Expert Advisor (EA) with MT4

Download and install MT4

Follow these four simple steps, and you can be ready to trade on MetaTrader 4 (MT4) in a matter of minutes:
 

1. Create an account and download MT4

How you create a MetaTrader 4 account depends on whether you are looking for a live account to trade with real money, or demo account to practise with virtual funds:
 

Live account

To use MT4 for live trading, you’ll need an IG account. Once that’s set up, follow the steps below: 
 
  • Add an MT4 account: Log in to My IG, select ‘add another account’ and choose a MetaTrader 4 account for either spread betting or CFDs. You’ll receive an e-mail with your login details for MT4 within a few minutes
  • Download and install: Use this link to download and install MT4 – and don’t forget your 18 free apps and indicators. To download MT4 for Apple or Android devices, search ‘MT4’ on your phone’s app store

Demo account

A free demo account enables you to test-drive the MT4 platform, compare our IG pricing, and try out all our free MT4 apps, using virtual funds.

To get started, just fill out the form on our MT4 demo page.

2. Log in to MT4

Once you’ve set up an MT4 account, you’ll receive an e-mail with separate login details for the MT4 platform (note, these will be different to your IG username and password).
 
To log in, open the IG MT4 platform and enter:
 
  • Your five or six-digit username
  • Your password
  • Server: For live accounts, select ‘IG-LIVE’ from the drop-down menu or enter the server address manually: ‘MT4.IG.com:443’. For demo accounts, select ‘IG-DEMO’ or enter the server address manually: ‘Demo-MT4.IG.com:443’
If you have trouble logging in, check our MT4 help and support site.
 

3. Fund your account

If you have a live MT4 account, you’ll need to add funds to start trading. MT4 doesn’t have a deposit or withdraw function, but you can fund your account by logging in to My IG and clicking ‘add funds’ next to your MT4 account in the dashboard. Alternatively, you can transfer funds from another IG account by going to the ‘live accounts’ tab and clicking ‘transfer funds.’

Set up MT4

1. Opening your dashboard

When you open MT4 for the first time, it may look a bit bare. By default, the platform does not show all of IG’s markets and windows may read ‘waiting for update.’ If your screen looks like this, don’t worry. You’re just a few steps away from getting started.

3. Update the price charts

To update the price chart windows (which may read ‘waiting for update’), choose a market from the ‘market watch’ window, then drag and drop it on top of one of the price chart windows. Alternatively, go to ‘file’ then ‘new chart’ and select the market you would like to see.

2. Load IG’s MT4 markets

There are more than 80 markets you can trade with IG via MT4. To make sure you’re seeing them all, right click in the ‘market watch’ window and select ‘show all’. 

This will update the list as follows:

4. Customise MT4 with IG apps

Trade on MT4 with IG and you’ll get access to bespoke indicators and apps to customise and enhance your trading, including DailyFX news and the Autochartist package. 

Find out more

How to place a trade with MT4

Once you’ve set up your MT4 account and platform, here’s how to:

1. Use the order window

When you’re ready to place a trade, click ‘new order’ in the toolbar. This will bring up the ‘order’ window.

You’ll then need to enter the details of your desired trade. Here’s a quick guide to what it all means:
 
  • Symbol. This drop-down menu allows you to select which market you would like to trade
  • Volume. For a CFD account this is the number of contracts you would like to trade, while for spread betting it is the amount you want to bet per unit of price movement
  • Stop loss. If you want to use a stop, enter your desired level here. Stops on MT4 are equivalent to basic stops on the IG platform.
  • Take profit. If you want to use a limit, enter your desired level here
  • Type. Choose ‘instant execution’ if you want to place your trade the moment you select either ‘buy’ or ‘sell’. Alternatively, select ‘pending order’ if you want to choose the level of your trade
Depending on what type of trade you are placing, you’ll then be faced with the following options:

Instant execution

  • Enable maximum deviation from the quoted price. Trades can sometimes be rejected if prices move suddenly as you place them. If you would still want to place the trade within a certain price range, check the box and fill out the ‘maximum deviation’ in pips (from the current price) that you would be willing to accept
  • Buy or sell. When you’re ready to place your trade, click ‘buy’ if you think the market will rise in value or ‘sell’ if you think it will fall. This will place your trade

Pending order

  • Type. Choose the type of order you want to place from ‘buy limit’, ‘sell limit’, ‘buy stop’, ‘sell stop’. Discover the difference between stop and limit orders
  • At price. Select the price level at which you want your order to be triggered (note: for some order types you will be dealt at market level, irrespective of whether your chosen level is breached)
  • Expiry. Click this check box to specify a date and time for your order to expire if the market does not reach your ‘at price’
  • Place. Click this button when you are ready to place your order
     

2. Monitor and close your positions and pending orders

To monitor your open positions and pending orders open the ‘terminal’ window by pressing Ctrl + T, or by clicking ‘view’ in the toolbar and selecting ‘terminal’. Then navigate to the ‘trade’ tab.
You can close a position or delete a pending order by clicking the small ‘x’ on the far right of the profit column.

3. Modify stops and limits on open positions 

To modify stops or limits on open positions and pending orders, open the ‘terminal’ window (Ctrl + T) and navigate to the ‘trade’ tab. Right click on the position or pending order you’d like to edit, then select ‘modify or delete order’ to bring up the order window. 

You will then have the option to modify or add stops and limits to your position. When you are finished, click the red ‘modify’ button to confirm your changes.

4. Customise MT4 charts

MT4 offers a range of tools you can use to customise charts. Here’s how to:

Download trade reports

To produce a trade report, open the ‘terminal’ window (Ctrl +T) and navigate to the ‘account history’ tab again. Right click within the window then select one of the following options:

  • Save as report
  • Save as detailed report

Both options will produce a report detailing individual trades (closed transactions, open trades and working orders) plus an account summary. The detailed report includes additional metrics such as drawdown and profit factor. 

View your trade history

To view your trade history, open the ‘terminal’ window (Ctrl +T) and navigate to the ‘account history’ tab. You can change the date range by right clicking within the window and selecting one of the following options:

  • All history
  • Last three months
  • Last month
  • Custom period (if you select this option, you can choose a date range in a new window)

Set up a price alert

To set up a price alert, open the ‘terminal’ window (Ctrl + T) then navigate to the ‘alerts’ tab. Right click within this window and select ‘create’ from the menu. This will bring up the ‘alert editor’ window where you can customise your price alert.

Draw on charts

MT4 includes a number of ‘objects’ you can use to draw on charts, including:

Labels from left to right: vertical line, horizontal line, trendline, equidistant channel, Fibonacci retracement, text, text labels, and arrows.

To draw, simply select the object you want from the toolbar and click on the chart. The width and positioning of some objects is adjusted by moving your mouse as you click on the chart, while others open a separate window for customisation.
To edit or remove an object, right click on the chart then select ‘objects list’ from the menu. This will open a window that displays a list of all the active objects shown on the chart. Select your chosen object from the list then click ‘edit’ to customise the indicator settings or ‘delete’ to remove

Add indicators

You can add indicators such as RSI, stochastic oscillator and Bollinger bands to charts. Simply drag your chosen indicator from the ‘navigator’ window and drop it on top of a chart. This will usually open a window, where you to customise how the indicator is displayed. 

Alternatively, you can add indicators to a selected price chart using the menu bar. Click ‘insert’ then ‘indicators’ and choose your chosen indicator from the drop-down menu.

To edit or remove an indicator that is displaying on a chart, right click within the chart window then select ‘indicators list’ from the menu. This will open a window that displays a list of all the active indicators shown on the chart. Select your chosen indicator from the list then click ‘edit’ to customise the indicator settings or ‘delete’ to remove.

Change timeframe

To change the timeframe of a price chart, simply right click on the chart, select ‘timeframe’, then choose your preferred option from the drop-down menu. Timeframes range from one minute to monthly.

You can also change the timeframe of a selected price chart using toolbar buttons:

M1 (1 minute), M5 (5 minutes), M15 (15 minutes), M30 (30 minutes), H1 (1 hour), H4 (4 hours), D1 (1 day), W1 (1 week), MN (1 month)

5. Set up a price alert

To set up a price alert, open the ‘terminal’ window (Ctrl + T) then navigate to the ‘alerts’ tab. Right click within this window and select ‘create’ from the menu. This will bring up the ‘alert editor’ window where you can customise your price alert.

6. View your trade history

To view your trade history, open the ‘terminal’ window (Ctrl +T) and navigate to the ‘account history’ tab. You can change the date range by right clicking within the window and selecting one of the following options:

  • All history
  • Last three months
  • Last month
  • Custom period (if you select this option, you can choose a date range in a new window)

7. Download trade reports

To produce a trade report, open the ‘terminal’ window (Ctrl +T) and navigate to the ‘account history’ tab again. Right click within the window then select one of the following options:

  • Save as report
  • Save as detailed report

Both options will produce a report detailing individual trades (closed transactions, open trades and working orders) plus an account summary. The detailed report includes additional metrics such as drawdown and profit factor. 

Add and use an Expert Advisor (EA) with MT4

You can either create an EA from scratch, or import one someone else has made. While they’re called ‘expert’, it is always worth researching EAs thoroughly and testing them on a demo account before using them for live trading. 

When you’re ready to try an EA, here’s how to:

1. Add an EA to a market

The EAs currently installed on your system are listed in the ‘Navigator’ panel. Simply drag and drop your chosen EA on top of the price chart of the market you would like it to trade or monitor. This will bring up a settings window, where you can customise how you want the EA to run.

2. Remove or edit an EA

To remove an EA, simply right click on the price chart of the market it is running on, hover over ‘Expert Advisors’ and select ‘remove’ from the drop-down menu. To edit the EA instead, select ‘properties’ from this drop-down menu to open the settings window.

3. Buy or rent a new EA

There are thousands of EAs available to buy through MT4’s market. Open the ‘terminal’ window (Ctrl + T) and navigate to the ‘market’ tab. Click the ‘experts’ tab at the top of the ‘terminal’ window to see a list of available EAs. Once purchased or rented, the EA will appear in the list in your ‘navigator’ window.

Get started

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Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.