Trading advisors

What is an advisor?

As soon as you realize that you are psychologically ready to trade and are already trading not bad by yourself, try making your work more effective with the help of expert advisors. These are special programs that are installed directly onto your chart and cause the Terminal to open transactions upon certain signals. Advisors are also called "experts" but they are technically an MTS (mechanical trading system). There are a huge number of them - both pay and free varieties, which you can easily find on the Internet.

What is the point of an expert advisor?

You probably have the trading system that you follow when opening transactions, i.e., you enter the market only when you see a signal (like a break out through two or three candles in one direction in a row, etc). So, to save you from sitting at your Terminal all day waiting for another suitable entry point, your signals can be expressed using the MQL code. Each trader creates the algorithm by which the MetaTrader will open trades whenever it recognizes the required conditions. In other words, now you have a trading robot that conducts the technical analysis of the market for you, enters the market at precisely the right moment, sets your stop loss and take profit and then closes the deal. Is this the holy grail of trading? Not quite.

Do all advisers help you to make money?

Regardless of what people write in the forums, the biggest misconception is that every automated trading program creates only profitable trades and only earn money. As we have already said, these programs are based on the tactics and strategies followed by the trader in his normal, manual trading. It has simply automated the task. Upon in installing such a program in your Terminal, you are adopting the trading style of its author. It's the same as if you gave him access to funds on your account to open orders at his discretion. So, the first point that must be considered when choosing an expert is your level of confidence in the system it uses for trading. The second point is, of course, a full understanding of how the transactions will be performed and why the strategy is the way it is. Unlike a real trader, who looks at the entire market situation, robots are machines that simply executes their commands. He knows nothing about the sudden speech from Bernanke, which reversed the market immediately after the opening of a transaction. The robot does not understand, for example, that in this case the three consecutive upwards candlesticks are just a correction, not the start of a new movement, etc. In the end, the robot, like any machine, can easily break down. Expert Advisors offer only two advantages. First, they trade precisely according to the plan, without any psychological factors like fear or excitement. And second, it saves (protects) (gives an ability not to sit in front of a PC monitor 24 hours a day) you from having to sit in front of a computer monitor 24 hours a day.

To be fair, there are a lot of very decent trading strategies that help professional traders earn good money. These are the strategies that form the basis of some automated advisors, but you have to find them out. MTS programs are created wisely, taking into account the many uncertainties, fluctuations in prices and other important market nuances. As a rule, they are expensive, but they pay for themselves quickly enough. Please note that not all expert advisors sold online deliver the results promised by their creators, who may be more interested in making money of you than in the market.

We must also understand that each trading strategy (and, respectively, each expert) has its drawbacks. That is, an acceptable level of losing trades. There is no way to close every transaction in the market with a plus, although they should with a doubt be in the majority. We tell you this so you will understand that it’s not worth yelling about how your Adviser isn’t working properly, if after a series of successful deals it made a couple with losses. We want to make sure that there will be no surprises and that you will have a clear understanding of how your expert will work and, of course, it's always a good idea to test it out first! We'll show you how to do that next. Remember, before you run this program on a real account, you need to know almost more about it than its creator. Otherwise it will only cause you harm, believe me.

What are the conditions necessary for the correct operation of the advisor?

In addition to downloading an expert, you need to install it on your chart. It also must be well-configured - we’ll explain how to do in a moment. Secondly, it requires providing of uninterrupted Internet access - without which it just won't work. If it gets disconnected, it will turn off and no longer be able to control your open deal. That could be very dangerous. In addition, the Terminal must be open. If this is too difficult, our company offers a totally free dedicated personal server (VPS) where you can easily place your adviser and not have to worry about any disruptions. You can find out more about that here. In addition to the installation, you need to constantly monitor how your EA trades, check to make sure it's not broken, and decide whether or not you need to tweak the code and so on. Even the most wonderful advisor can break down at the worst possible time. Another possibility is that market conditions will change so markedly that the advisor will cease to be relevant and bring in the money. So, from time to time the robot will have to be replaced.

It’s important to understand that the program can perform transactions by itself in automatic mode, and only after your confirmation in manual mode. The advisor selects an auspicious market moment and asks your permission to open a deal right then. This option is probably the best, because it combines the technical accuracy of the robot with a global understanding of the current situation, which only you have. That is exactly why it’s called an advisor. Ideally, you should sit in front of the Terminal, analyze the market and benefit from its trading signal to sell or buy. However, this presupposes, of course, your physical presence and responsibility for each transaction. If you aren’t there to confirm the trade the expert advisor will not enter the market. So, don’t forget to choose the automatic mode if it is required so (so required).

What trading system might an expert advisor be based on?

Naturally, there are hundreds of thousands of trading systems. However, experiments have already confirmed that it’s much better not to use  use any robot based on any variation of the Martingale principle, the principle of randomness or 50:50, one that create locked orders and those that use support and resistance levels for trading (since you can't be sure how the adviser will draw them). In addition, it is not necessary to automate simple scalping. Be that as it may, these types are the ones found on the internet most often and they are always described as amazing. Remember that an MTS, programmed according to these systems, will mostly often only lead to lost deposits and perhaps a small profit here and there.

The best programs to choose are ones based on the principle of price action (trade without indicators, based on the behavior of prices): trading on a pin bar, internal bar, etc. Programs that use the “Puria Method” or trade using sliding price channels are also very effective. And these types of advisers are not always costly - you can easily find free versions.

Which adviser is best: paid or free?

Of course, the question of paying for an advisor is a legitimate one. It makes sense that such a valuable tool, which can help you earn a lot of money, can’t possibly be free – people should be compensated for their hard work. But we want to warn you: don’t trust the shiny advertising slogans that insist you buy them. In most cases, these are a waste of money. Wouldn’t you agree that if the program really did deliver excellent results, the creator himself would be using it to earn money on the market and experienced traders would be telling each other about it in the forums? Yes, the seller of this product will offer it to you, but this will his approach: if you want to buy, buy it; if you don’t want to I will still make the same amount of money on the market today. Of course, this is not a guarantee of quality, but this approach does inspire more confidence. Similarly, some advisors may be very cheap: the developers just don't expect them to sell at a higher price. If you do buy an advisor, make sure that it comes with, shall we say, technical support – the ability to ask any questions directly to the creators at any time. And, at the very least, make sure that you will be able to contact the creators at all later on!

In addition, don’t pay attention to advisers that, though free to download, require several tens of thousands of dollars in your account. It’s very simple: those who sell advisors earn a tiny percentage on every transaction you conduct, regardless of whether or not they are profitable. The more money you have in your account, the more chances they have to make money of you. This kind of hidden marketing should not be permitted.

Opinions may differ on this, however, many advisors are free and will allow you to test them on a demo account. Try some of them out and then choose the one that works best for you. You might even try to customize one yourself!

How do you choose a good quality advisor?

There are several prerequisites that you must consider when choosing and testing an advisor. First of all, your advisor should be able to work steadily on its own (unless you configure it to require confirmation of its actions) and do not freeze. It should be easy to set up and have a manual written in your language, as well as offer a way to contact the creators or at least the ability to ask questions in a forum. With regard to the principles of its operation, it shouldn’t trade based on primitive signals: it must have multiple levels of if-then scenarios in order to maneuver through dynamic market conditions. And, of course, it should offer a way to quickly close all orders in cases of unforeseen market fluctuations, as well as the ability to allow the stop loss to follow the price (trailing stop). It is very important that the robot is "familiar" with the money management system and won’t open a deal that is too large. It should allow you to configure these settings beforehand. It should operate like a casino and take huge risks in the pursuit of unrealistic profit, because nothing good will come of this.

Before you start using an adviser, even on a demo account, ask the developer to show you the program’s trading history on a real account. This should be in the form of screen-shots of data and charts from the Terminal, not a table prepared by hand. And it would be great if the advisor worked with the all the major currency pairs, including the EUR/USD, and that it is available to customers of any brokerage company. Otherwise, it’s probably just a ploy to attract referrals.

Finally, another important detail to note: when selecting a robot, just like when you purchase any other product, reviews by real traders that have used the advisor play an important role. It’s best to look for them on proven forums. Make sure to consider the negative reviews as seriously as you do the positive ones. Of course, there should be far fewer unsatisfactory comments, but they are important because they will help you better understand the key nuances of the program, which you will have to either accept or reject.

Is it possible to "help" the Advisor?

Of course, if you want, you can trade alongside the robot. It won’t touch your manual transactions – it won’t close them or modify them in any way. But you can easily control what deals the advisor creates.

How do you install the MetaTrader expert advisor?

It's easy, especially since each Adviser comes with instructions in English. And if you don’t have instructions, don’t worry, we’ll help you. So:

1. You’ve downloaded your trading robot - or, more precisely, the archive file containing the robot. Now, extract it and see what files are in the folder. The program usually has an mql or ex4 file extension. The other files are usually indicators (they also have mql or ex4 extensions, but you can distinguish them from the advisor based on the filename), libraries (.dll), etc.

2. Next choose select a folder where your Terminal is installed. Usually, it is stored in this path: (C:)/Program Files/TradeFort MT4 Terminal. Find the experts folder within (usually the third from the top), open it and copy the main advisor file (mql or ex4) to this location. If you look closely, you'll see that there are already two robots in this folder: MACD and Moving Average Sample.

3. In addition to the main file, there are also other files in the archive folder that also need to be copied into their appropriate folders. Files with a.dll extension, or library files, should be placed in the experts/libraries folder. Files with.set extensions are template files containing settings and need to be placed in the experts/presets folder. There may also be some additional indicators that should be copied into the experts/indicators folder.

4. Then, in the Terminal window, in the upper menu, select Tools – Settings - Expert Advisors. Place checkmarks in the following fields: “enable expert advisors" "allow live trading" "allow DLL imports" and "allow import of external experts.”

5. Next, find the tab in the Navigator window and choose only the advisers that you installed. Make sure that you have opened the currency pair that you plan to trade, as well as the time-frame that is most suitable for the proper operation of the expert (these settings are discussed in the program description). Once everything is correct, drag the robot on the chart.

6. After you do that, you will see a window showing the parameters of the expert advisor. Open the "Input parameters" tab. The first field is Lots – the lot size that your adviser will open. The Moving Average, for example, is 0.1. Double-click on this line enter the amount you want. The standard pre-installed advisors in MetaTrader don’t offer features, such as the setting the stop loss and take profit. However, these values can and must be set in advisors that you install. In addition, if you click on the download button, you will be taken to the experts/presets folder where you saved your template files. You can move them here, make changes if necessary, and save them again by clicking on "Save." This will be your personal template that you can then apply to most any advisor. In the "General" tab you can choose the types of positions the advisor can open:

Long & Short – buy and sell, Long only – buy transactions only, and Short only – only sell transactions. Also, it’s good to put check the box for "enable alerts”. An alert is a warning – a "panic button." The adviser will inform you, for example, that the price has reached a certain level, or that an order will soon close on the stop loss. A little later, after complete installation of the program, we will explain how to set up alerts. Until then, press "OK."

7. And finally: in the upper-right corner of the Terminal, you should see the name of the advisor and a little smiley face – that means that the advisor is working.

If you see an X instead, make sure that "play" is pressed on the on the "expert advisors" button on the top panel of the Terminal.

Once you have checked this and everything seems to be in order, but the program still does not work, click on the X and make sure that all the check boxes have been set correctly.

Now everything should work!

8. Take your time and don't be surprised that your adviser has not yet started to open up any deals, it is waiting for the right time in accordance with its programmed strategy.

How do you set up alerts?

If want the adviser to warn you when the price reaches a certain level, adjust the alert. You can do this at the bottom of the "Terminal" window, where your balance and account history are displayed. There is a third tab called "Alerts." Click there and select "create."

This window will appear:

The "action" is what the program needs to do: beep or send you an email notice.

“Symbol” – the currency pair this warning will alert you about.

"Condition" and "Value"- you choose. The bid and ask prices will be either greater than or less than the rate you enter.

"Source"- this is the sound you want to hear. You can choose from the drop-down list and listen to each one by clicking on the "test" button, or click "..." and a folder will appear with all the sounds.

"Timeout"- the amount of time to pause before repeating a signal; and also set the maximum number of repetitions.

Press "Ok."

How do you test an expert advisor?

You are probably quite eager at this point to test out your advisor to see just how "magical" it really is. To do this, you can test it on historical data, i.e., existing historical charts. Install the Expert Advisor on a demo account or use the strategy tester, which you can start by pressing the F6 button on your keyboard, through the "View" menu, the "magnifying glass" icon on the top menu bar, or by clicking right-clicking on “Tester” in the expert advisors chart, or by pressing Ctrl + R. As we have already mentioned, in the Terminal, many functions are duplicated multiple times so you can choose the most convenient method for you to use. Anyway, here is the window will appear under your chart:

The first graph here is the "Advisor." Basically, we choose one of those available to us on this computer. Next, select a currency pair and the period in which the robot will trade. For the "model" always choose "every tick" so your expert will focus on everything that is happening in the market and be more accurate. Then, check the box labeled "use date" and enter the date range you want to use to test your advisor. The date can be any one you want from this year or the previous one. Also place a check in the box labeled "Visualization" so the advisor will show you graphically how it enters and exits the market. You can use the slider to set the speed of the display. Don’t check the “Optimization” box.

On the right you will see "Expert Properties”

this is a required tab, because prior to the test, you need to configure the adviser. Open it and in the "testing" field enter the amount of the deposit that your robot will use to trade and its currency (we recommend you enter actual data - the same amount and currency that you are going to use to trade with your real account). Don’t change anything in the "Optimization" tab. Next, in the "input parameters" tab, adjust the settings according to your liking.

If your advisor has an option to automatically detect the time (AutoGMT), always turn it off, and false instead of true; otherwise the advisor may incorrectly detect the Terminal time and this will result in an incorrect test.

If there is an option to set the GMT offset (in Greenwich Mean Time), enter a "2" because our Terminal time is GMT +2.

Money Management (AutoMM, MM, etc.) should also be deactivated for the test. If you don’t do this, the advisor will automatically choose the size of the lot with which it will open a deal. We are only interested in how much it can earn in points. By the way, also turn off this function when you place the robot on your real account. All expert advisors are optimized for dollars, so in your case you only want to display fixed lots (Lots graph, Lotsize, etc).

Press "Ok." Leave any other parameters unchanged or find out from the developers what they do first, because sometimes the results can be unpredictable.

Next, in the "strategy tester" there is a button called “symbol properties” (currency pair). You can’t change anything here - you can only view the settings. Here you will find the amount of the spread (the difference between the bid and ask price), the precision (the number of digits after the decimal point that are visible), the stop levels (minimum number of points from the stop loss or take profit to the current price), etc.

There is one last button – “Edit Expert,” which takes you to the MetaEditor where you can make changes to the program and add additional feature (using the programming language).

After you have done all this, you need to download the historical data for your chosen currency pair, for example the beloved EURUSD, before you can start the test. If, for example, you are interested in the H1 time-frame, press F2 and the "History Center" window will appear. You can also launch it from the "Tools" menu on the top panel.

On the left side of this window, select Forex Floating, EURUSD, the time-frame "1:0" and then click "Download" twice.

That’s it! Press "Start" and watch how everything happened in real time during the period you selected.

You can click “Stop” at any time.

You’ll see the trading history in the "Results" tab,

and the profitability chart can be seen here:

In the Report, you can view the overall profit and loss in points, as well as the number of short & long positions, which is so interesting to study!

And in the journal you will be able to see absolutely every action that the program has taken.

Now you know how well or poor your expert advisor may work and are ready to put it to good use! Good luck!

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