Trader’s Tech #9 – Installing MT4 EAs and Indicators Part 1

Tim Black hosts the live trading room for the Asia trading session. His background is in computers and technology. He is addicted to technology, charts and technical analysis and enjoys teaching and sharing his viewpoints in these areas.

MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is arguably the most popular trading platform on the market today. I know, it has its annoying quirks, but many brokers have adopted it as their primary platform. As many of you know, there are hundreds of sites with thousands of MT4 Expert Advisors (EAs – sometimes known as robots) and indicators available, many of them free of charge.

EAs and indicators (I will heretofore refer to them all as EAs) are distributed in two forms (once they are unzipped/unpacked from archives): the executable (with .ex4 file extension) and the source (with .mq4 file extension.) For part one of this miniseries, I’ll be talking about installing the executable EA. I’ll discuss what to do with the source in my next post.

I wish it were a simple step 1, step 2, step 3 process to install an EA. It’s close to being that simple, but you have to know some things about your MT4 installation. To start (and you’ll only have to do this the first time you install your own EA), you have to find the folder in which your MT4 installation is located. To do this, right-click on your MT4 shortcut (the icon you click to start the platform on your computer) and select Properties. Be sure the “Shortcut” tab is selected and look at the field labeled “Start in:”. This field should contain the name of the folder in which your MT4 is located. Click the “Find Target…” button and a Windows Explorer window will open showing your MT4 folder. Right-click on and drag the “Experts” folder and drop it on your desktop. Select “Create Shortcuts Here” from the menu that pops up. You now have a shortcut on your desktop to the Experts sub-folder of your MT4 folder. You can now double-click (or single-click, depending on how you’ve configured your computer) on this shortcut and open the Experts folder at any time.

Once you’ve opened the Experts folder on your desktop, the rest is simple. If you have an EA executable, just drag it and drop it in the Experts folder.  If you have an indicator executable, just drag it and drop it in the Indicators sub folder of the Experts folder. Now restart your MT4 platform, open the Navigator tool and you should find your EA or indicator right there.

And that’s about it on how to install indicators for mt4. In the next installment, I’ll discuss how to handle “un-compiled” source code EAs and indicators (with the .mq4 file extension.)

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