As the most widely used and popular platform in the retail trading universe, Metatrader4, or MT4, comes with fully customizable charting options. This article aims to show the steps to follow when using charts as the basis of a technical analysis strategy.
The first thing an investor needs to decide on is the chart type; bar, line, or candlestick. As an example, we’ll use a candlestick chart here as it is the most popular type of chart. Next, choose a currency pair from the Forex dashboard – “Market Watch” in the case of the MT4 platform – and click and drag onto the main MT4 window. The platform will then open a chart for that currency pair. Alternatively, just right-click on a currency pair in Market Watch and then select the Chart Window option. The platform will open a default chart, which will look like this:
The chart above is by no means a chart that an investor should use in technical analysis. While it does track price movements, it needs some adjustments to make it easier for traders to forecast future prices. The best thing to do is right-click anywhere on the chart and choose Properties at the bottom. A new window will open, where the trader can set:
- background colour,
- foreground colour – if the background is white, make sure you choose a contrasting color for the foreground so you can clearly see the market levels c,
- grid colour,
- colours of the bullish and bearish candles – typically bullish candles are green and bearish candles are red, on almost all charts.
But that’s not all. Beside the “Colors” tab, there’s another tab: “Common”. By selecting it, the following options appear:
As you can see, this is a bar chart of the daily EUR/GBP cross pair.
- We can see that the Chart autoscroll function is selected. This is not something technical investors want. When selected, it makes it impossible to check past prices, as the chart will continuously auto-scroll to the current market price.
- Moreover, there is no room to forecast future prices on the right side of the chart. To solve all this, simply select the Chart shift option.
- The Show OHLC option in the bottom right refers to the Open High Low Close prices of any candlestick you put the mouse on. When selected, the information will appear at the top-left corner of the chart.
- Most investors prefer not to show the grid, as too many lines on the screen can be confusing.
Following the steps above, the initial chart transforms into something like this:
Now that’s a sharp contrast to the chart we started with.
One more trick: if you don’t want to repeat the process again for every new chart, simply right click and select the Save Template option. Name your template, and next time you open a chart, right-click, select the Load Template option, and you’re set to go.
- MT4 charts are fully customizable.
- The typical colors for bullish and bearish activity are green and red, respectively.
- Make sure to select the ‘Chart shift’ option.
- Think of any customizable option you might want, and MT4 likely offers it.