1. Intermediate Guide To MetaTrader 4 - Introduction
  2. Intermediate Guide To MetaTrader 4 - Charts And Settings
  3. Intermediate Guide To MetaTrader 4 - Graphical Objects And Technical Indicators
  4. Intermediate Guide To MetaTrader 4 - Alerts
  5. Intermediate Guide To MetaTrader 4 - Order Types
  6. Intermediate Guide To MetaTrader 4 - Placing Orders
Price charts are a trader's portal to the markets, and should be clean and easy to analyze at a glance. MT4's price charts can be customized to reflect each trader's style and color preferences, and a variety of graphical objects and technical indicators can be added to any chart to enhance market analysis.

To customize a chart's appearance, right-click on any active price chart and select "Properties," as shown in Figure 1, or click F8 on the computer keyboard.

Figure 1 - On any price chart, right-click and select "Properties" to customize the chart\'s appearance.

The Properties window appears with two tabs: Colors and Common. Several default color schemes appear in the "Color Scheme" drop-down menu at the top of the Colors tab (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 - Traders can choose from several default color schemes in the Colors tab of the Properties window.

The right side of the Colors tab lists chart elements, each with its own drop-down color box. Mouse over each color sample to view its name (if desired), and click to select from dozens of preset colors. Alternatively, select "Custom" at the bottom of the color box to define and save a custom color, as shown in Figure 3. Create the color by clicking in the hue box, and further refine the color by using the tint/shade strip on the right-hand side. Click "Add to Custom Colors" to save the color swatch in the "Custom Colors" section for future use. Click "OK" to make the color change.

SEE: 10 Steps To Building A Winning Trading Plan

Figure 3 - Define custom colors for any chart element.

Continue making color selections for:

  • Background - chart background color

  • Foreground - color of axes, scales, OHLC line

  • Grid - chart grid color

  • Bar Up - outline and wick color of Bull Candle

  • Bar Down - outline and wick color of Bear Candle

  • Bull Candle - color of the Bull Candle body

  • Bear Candle - color of the Bear Candle body

  • Line Graph - color of line chart and doji

  • Volumes - volume and levels of open positions

  • Ask Line - color of the Ask line

  • Stop Levels - levels of stop orders (Stop Loss and Take Profit)
Click "OK" to make the changes and close the window, or continue customizing by clicking the Common tab.

The Common tab (see Figure 4) allows traders to choose the chart type (Bar, Candlestick or Line chart) and whether or not certain features, such as Volume, will appear on the chart. When enabled, the various options perform the following actions:

  • Offline chart -prevents new quotes from displaying on the price chart. This feature is useful during the testing of expert advisors.

  • Chart on foreground -all analytical objects (technical indicators and graphical objects) are placed behind the chart rather than over it.

  • Chart shift -this option shifts the latest bar from the right screen border to the chart shift mark - a gray triangle in the upper part of a chart window. The chart shift mark can be moved horizontally with the mouse within 10 to 50 percent of the window size.

  • Chart autoscroll -automatically advances the chart as new price data appears.

  • Scale fix One to One -adjusts the chart's scaling so one pip of vertical axis corresponds to one bar of the horizontal axis.

  • Scale fix - fixes the chart scaling to user-defined fixed maximum and fixed minimum values (these fields become active if Scale fix is enabled).

  • Bar chart - displays price data as a sequence of bars

  • Candlesticks - displays price data as a sequence of candlesticks

  • Line chart - displays price data as a broken line that connects the points of the bar close prices.

  • Show OHLC - shows an additional data line in the upper left part of the window that displays the symbol and period as well as price data.

  • Show Ask Line - displays the Ask price level of the latest quote.

  • Show period separators - draws additional vertical lines in the chart to correspond with larger periods. An hourly chart, for example, would have daily period separators.

  • Show grid - displays a grid in the price window.

  • Show volumes - displays a volume histogram below the price bar pane.

  • Show object descriptions - displays descriptions of the objects imposed on the price chart.
Check to enable or uncheck to disable each feature, and click "OK" to close. All changes will now appear on the chart.

Figure 4 - The Common tab of the Properties window.

Once a color scheme has been selected, it can be saved as a template. Click on the Template icon in the top toolbar and select "Save Template," as shown in Figure 5. Give the template a name, and the new template will appear in the drop-down list of templates. This template can now be applied to any chart simply by clicking on the Template icon and selecting the desired template from the drop-down list.

Figure 5 - Click the Template icon and select "Save Template" to save chart settings.

Price Bars
In addition to selecting a chart type in the Properties window, traders can select how price appears on each chart by clicking on the desired icon to apply Bar, Candlestick or Line price data (hover the cursor over any icon to reveal the icon's function). The chart type can also be selected by clicking Charts in the top toolbar and choosing the desired type from the drop-down menu, as shown in Figure 6.

SEE: Introduction To Trading: Scalpers

Figure 6 - Click Charts in the top toolbar to select from different chart styles.

Chart Size
Any price chart can be closed, maximized, minimized or restored by right-clicking on the chart's tab under the chart windows. Figure 7, for example, shows the window and corresponding choices that appear after right-clicking on the tab for the GBPUSD currency pair.

Figure 7 - Right-click the chart\'s tab under the chart window to close, maximize, minimize or restore.

If a chart has been minimized or maximized, it can be restored to its original size and placement within the window by right-clicking the chart's tab again and selecting "Restore."

Traders may find it helpful at times to be able to take a closer look at a price chart, or to be able to look at more price data within a single charting window. The top toolbar's "Zoom In" and "Zoom Out" icons can be clicked to get a different view of the chart. The ""Zoom In"" feature allows traders to take a closer look at a smaller data set; each successive click on the "Zoom In" icon will provide a more close-up view of the chart. The opposite holds true for the "Zoom Out" icon, which can be clicked to show more price data on the chart (see Figure 8), or to resume the chart to its original appearance.

Figure 8 - Use the "Zoom Out" icon to show more price data on the chart.

Different timeframes can be applied to a chart either by clicking on the Periods icon or by selecting the desired timeframe from the toolbar, as shown in Figure 9. The options for chart periods include:

  • M1 - one minute chart

  • M5 - five-minute chart

  • M15 - 15-minute chart

  • M30 - 30-minute chart

  • H1 - one-hour chart

  • H4 - four-hour chart

  • D1 - daily chart

  • W1 - weekly chart

  • MN - monthly chart
Many traders like to watch the same trading symbol on multiple timeframes. If monitor space is an issue and viewing multiple charts of the same symbol is not practical, traders can switch back and forth between timeframes using these easy-to-access toolbar icons.

Figure 9 - Select different charting intervals by clicking the Periods icon or by selecting one of the timeframes in the toolbar.

When switching between charting intervals, a delay may occur while the new data is loaded. "Waiting for update" (see Figure 10) will appear in the chart window while the data is loaded. In general, the smaller the interval, the longer it will take for the data to load. Once the different time frames have loaded, traders should be able to switch between intervals without delay.

SEE: Introduction To Momentum Trading

Figure 10 - "Waiting for update" appears in a price chart window while new price data is loaded.

Intermediate Guide To MetaTrader 4 - Graphical Objects And Technical Indicators
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