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, Ill be talking about installing the executable EA. Ill 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. Its close to being that simple, but you have to know some things about your MT4 installation. To start (and youll 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 youve configured your computer) on this shortcut and open the Experts folder at any time.
Once youve 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.
In the next installment, Ill discuss how to handle un-compiled source code EAs and indicators (with the .mq4 file extension.)
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