The short answer is: everything.
Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, because “everything” includes pizza, and you can’t make pizza with MT4. But there’s a reason that MT4 is currently the most popular forex trading platform out there.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other trading platforms that are really good in specific cases, or that certain FX traders have good reasons to prefer other platforms.
MetaTrader 4 was originally designed for retail forex trading, and include as many features as possible.
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That can be a disadvantage for some FX traders because having too many features that you don’t use can make the program cluttered. But, for people starting out and wanting to try out as many options as possible, MT4 is the way to go.
Not only was it designed with as many forex trading features as possible, but its coding allows for traders to constantly develop add-ons and improvements.
Under the Hood
Your MetaTrader program contacts with your forex broker’s servers to give you access to the market.
So, it has all the basic functions that you would need to execute forex trades from the comfort of your home.
Buy, sell, put stop-loss orders, put take profit orders, delay orders, or have pending orders that will execute when the market reaches a certain point. That’s all expected, but there’s more.
Building on that last point where MT4 can automatically enter a forex trade based on criteria you give it, without you having to be there, you can create what are called “Expert Advisors”, or EAs.
Basically, these are programs that you can set up to follow a certain trading strategy. They will execute it automatically while you’re out getting a coffee or reading articles like this.
There Are Loads of Features
MT4 comes with some already installed EAs. And you can download more to suit your forex trading preferences.
You can take advantage of the experience of other successful FX traders by using their automated trading systems.
Or, you can go one step further and use the Trading Signals option, which allows you to copytrade other forex traders. When they make a trade, MT4 will automatically make the same trade as well.
There are literally tens of thousands of signals you can follow. Though, of course, just because that trader was good in the past, it doesn’t mean he will be just as good going forward. “Past results do not predict future results” applies to forex traders as well!
But what if you wanted to test-drive one of these features to see how they perform?
Well, MT4 allows you to backtest programs in the Strategy Tester option. This will run your EA over hours, or even weeks of forex trading data in a matter of minutes.
If you want to go old school and test your own trading (because apps are not good at replicating the insight of a human’s subjectivity in placing stop losses, for example), you can scroll back in MT4’s history and review the market as it advances.
That way, you can test the market as if it were live, and see how your strategy works. If you want to test even longer time periods, you can download the market data for any currency pair to thoroughly test yourself.
MT4 is supposed to be your one-stop-shop for all your forex trading needs. It has a lot of other smaller, but just as useful features.
For example, you can open multiple windows, which allows you to have your trading platform open on two computers at the same time. There is a web-based version as well as a mobile app, so you can keep trading on the go.
In the end, though, the really useful thing about MT4 is its popularity. There is a wealth of knowledge online about how to set up, tweak and get the most out of your trading platform.
There are even people who make and sell trading robots to use on MT4. It might not have the most slick design, but it has all the features you’re likely to need!