If you have been using MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 you would run across trading robots called EAs. EAs are automated trading software that can be run on financial markets to automate trading processes. EAs can provide alerts, manage risks, or trade markets depending on the EA and trader’s final goals. If you are planning to run an EA on MT4 then you need to read through this detailed guide where steps are clearly defined.
EA in MT4 and MT5 stands for Expert Advisors and refers to the algorithmic trading software that can be applied to financial markets. EAs are automated trading robots in MT4 and MT5. EAs are super popular in automated Forex trading and many traders use them for various purposes such as alerts or automatic trading.
Now, this is step zero, assuming that many of the traders reading this guide already have the MT4 platform installed. However, if you haven’t downloaded it yet, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered in this step.
First, go to the official website of MetaQuotes ‘metaquotes.net/en/metatrader4’ and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Depending on the operating system you are in, download the respective version of MT4. It is free to download the platform and use any of its features. After the download is completed, install the platform and launch it. Depending on your operating system, the procedures for installation will be different, but it is not the scope of this guide.
The next step is to open a demo account or log in to your trading account. Opening a demo account is a relatively simple and intuitive process in MT4. After launching the software, it will automatically open the page where you can either log in or access a demo account.
In the first step, we need to have an EA, either downloaded from the internet or developed by ourselves. If you’ve developed an EA yourself, it’s likely best to skip this step and proceed to step 3 for tips on successful deployment.
For EA development you need to write the code yourself and the MQL5 language used by MT4 is not easy to master.
It is much easier to download EA from the internet. There are countless free EAs available on the official marketplace of MetaQuotes. If you already have an EA downloaded, then it’s time to install it in an MT4 so that the platform can see the robot.
To install EA, you just need to copy the files from the downloaded zip file to the destination folder. Click on the File menu in the MT4 platform and in the menu you will see an option called ‘Open Data Folder’.
By clicking on the open data folder, the software will open a folder where all its EAs and indicators are located.
Click on the MQL4 folder and open it. Here are several important folders, but we need the Experts folder in our case.
The expert’s folder is where all the MT4 EAs are stored. Depending on the specific EA you have, there may also be a need to save its indicator or library files. For this purpose, special folders such as libraries and images exist. If you only have one EA file with the extension name.ex4, you can proceed accordingly.
To complete the installation process, simply paste your EA files into the Experts folder. As we can see, the installation of MT4 EAs is just placing files into specific folders.
After the installation process is complete, it’s time to apply it to the charts and test and run it.
Open the MetaTrader 4 platform and click on the navigation panel. The quickest way to access the navigation menu on the left-hand side is to click Ctrl + N.
Navigator in the MT4 is where all the custom indicators and trading robots are visible. In case you installed EA while MT4 was running, you will need to refresh the navigator to see your newly added EA.
Now click on Expert Advisors in the Navigator and all the robots will be visible right away.
Now, select the EA you wish to run and drag it onto the trading chart of the asset where you intend to deploy the robot.
After dragging and dropping the selected item on the chart you want, the menu of EA will be opened. Here, you can change settings for EA components in the Inputs section. Make sure to change the settings to your preferred ones before running EA on the tradable instrument. If you were successful, the small icon on the right side of the trading chart will be visible indicating a successful deployment.
Let’s explain the steps to make this unhappy smile happy again below.
As a default, Expert Advisors are prohibited or disabled in MT4. You will have to go to the settings menu to allow EAs to trade automatically.
In the options menu, there are multiple tabs. To access the crucial settings for EAs, click on the ‘Expert Advisors’ tab.
Click OK and the smile in the top right corner will switch to a happy one, indicating EA can now trade automatically.
Once you’ve completed these steps, the EA is prepared to run automatically. The trader needs to keep an eye on the EA’s operation to ensure smooth execution. Any errors can be found and addressed in a specific section within MT4 known as the journal. The journal is your friend to check if the EA was loaded correctly. You can access it by clicking on the terminal and then switching to its tab in the bottom right corner.
Ensure to check the trading journal every time you launch an EA so as not to miss any bugs. Red-colored alerts are the most important warnings in the journal tab and indicate something serious has gone wrong.