Forex.com's primary trading platform is FOREXTrader Pro, which is a fully customizable trading platform available via the web, download and all major mobile operating systems. In this tutorial, the web version of the software will be demonstrated, since it's compatible with PCs, Macs and mobile browsers of all types that have access to the Internet.
The first step is logging into the platform via Forex.com by clicking on the "Login" button in the upper right corner of the homepage. After logging in, the homepage will appear showing a number of different features and options needed to trade forex.
|Figure 2: Homepage showing different features and options.|
Features and options from left to right in a clockwise manner include:
- Trading Panel - The trading panel provides the primary way to buy or sell currency pairs with 16 currencies showing by default. Additional currency pairs can be added by right clicking on the gray background and checking the desired currency pairs.
- Forex Charts - The forex charting panel provides charts and technical indicators for any currency pair and time period. Various technical indicators and drawing tools are also available on the left side of the charting panel.
- News Tools - The news panel provides the latest news from the Dow Jones Newswire, Forex Insider's news feed and a full economic calendar that includes macroeconomic events with consensus forecasts to determine the significance of readings.
- Market - The markets panel provides current market prices for major currency pairs, customizable watch lists and prices for other popular markets. The watch list in particular provides a great way to track desired currency pairs.
- Trading Ideas - The trading ideas panel includes chart patterns identified by Autochartist at various stages of development, including emerging ideas and completed ideas. Clicking on any of these options will bring up a window with additional information about the chart pattern, including confidence levels and price levels.
The top of the homepage includes a series of dropdown menus, including File, Edit, Order, Research, Reports, Tools, Window and Help. Traders should browse through these major options and only the most important options will be discussed here:
- Order Entry - The Order menu dropdown has an option called Enter Order that enables traders to manually enter an order without using the other homepage tools.
- Pivot Points - The Research menu dropdown has a number of different options, including pivot points, which provides daily price levels to watch.
- P&L Reports - The Reports menu dropdown has several options, including the Realized P&L option that will show profits and losses over a set period of time.
- Account Funding - The Tools menu dropdown has many options, including the Fund Your Account option that provides a way to add funds to the account.
- Windows - The Windows menu dropdown lets traders customize what windows are displayed or hidden on the homepage interface.
- Find Help - The Help menu includes many options for traders seeking assistance, with the Live Chat being the easiest way to get questions answered.
- Plus Icon - The "+" button is a quick and easy way to enter orders using the same screen as the Order Entry option in the menu above.
- Calculator Icon - Provides a pip calculator to determine pip value, required margin, bid rates, trade size and leverage.
- Report Icon - Provides a quick summary of the account's value, including realized P&L, interest, deposits, fees rollover and balances.
- Dollar Icon - Provides a quick way to fund the account, including ways to either add funds or withdraw funds.
Traders can place trades using the trading panel at the top of the screen, which shows 16 popular currency pairs by default. Simply select the number of lots desired, or specify an exact number of contracts, and then click either buy or sell to place the trade. Right clicking on the background yields additional currency pairs that can be added to the window.
Once the trade is placed, a pop-up will appear showing the transaction details, and the trade will be logged in the Open Positions window at the bottom right of the screen. The trade can be closed by initiating an offsetting order on the Trading Panel or by right clicking on the position in the Open Positions box and selecting Manage, and then Liquidate Current Position.
Using Charting Tools
FOREXTrader Pro features numerous charting features, including popular technical indicators and drawing tools. Charts can be found in the middle right side of the screen and can be created for any currency pair and timeframe desired using the dropdown menus at the top of the chart. Technical studies and drawing tools are also available on the left side of the chart, while trades can be placed by clicking on the Sell and Buy buttons on the top right of the chart window.
The first icon on the left side will display a dropdown menu with various technical studies that can be applied to the chart, including everything from Bollinger Bands® to moving averages and linear regressions. The next icon below that provides a number of different drawing tools, including Fibonacci studies and Gann Fans, among other things.
Just to the left of the charting tools, traders can access Autochartist trading ideas that are sorted into completed, emerging, trade ideas and technical analysis categories. Traders can click on these ideas to view various potential chart patterns with confidence ratings and forecasted price movements and recommended stop loss points to assist with trading.
Research and Reporting Tools
FOREXTrader Pro offers access to a wide range of fundamental research tools, including an economic calendar, Dow Jones Newswire and Forex Insider. These tools can be found on the bottom left portion of the screen. Clicking on a news story or event will bring up additional information in greater detail for review.
Reports can also be generated to show account value, transaction history, open positions, order history, rollover history and realized profit/loss information. To access this information, simply click on the "reports" link on the top menu bar and select the desired report. Reports can also be exported in many cases to Excel or PDF formats for easier viewing.
There are several additional features that are available only on the downloadable Microsoft Windows version of FOREXTrader Pro. Perhaps most important is the Strategy Center, which enables forex traders to create customized trading strategies using a combination of logic rules, technical indicators and various levels where predefined actions should happen. Trading strategies can then be applied to different currencies in order to generate buy and sell signals.
Unlike many other custom strategy solutions, the strategy center uses drag-and-drop wizards to avoid writing any lines of code. Forex traders can therefore avoid having to learn an entire programming language, like MetaTrader's MQL in order to create custom strategies. However, MQL and other programmable languages can be more powerful in some ways.
Some popular predefined strategies include:
- MACD Momentum System - A system that takes advantage of trend-following and momentum indicators in order to determine secular trends. The MACD measures the convergence and divergence of various moving averages providing this insight.
- Bollinger Band System - A system that uses closing price, exponential moving averages and two standard deviations to create so-called Bollinger Bands to define the upper and lower trading limits over the near-term and long-term.
- EMA Crosses MA System - A system that takes advantage of two different types of moving averages, including exponential moving averages and simple moving averages, in order to predict short-term and long-term trends.
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