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Introduction to different trading and charting software

Ask a trader to name their forex trading software and chances are that you will hear about the Metatrader 4 trading platform. This is because the Metatrader 4 trading platform has become the go to trading software for retail traders.

But there is a world of different forex trading and charting platforms that are available out there for you. Each of these platforms brings something unique. Therefore, while one might like a particular trading platform, it might not evoke the same enthusiasm from another trader.

Still, having said that, it is good to know the different trading platforms available out there. But before we go deeper, we should mention that almost, over 90% of forex trading and charting platforms are available only for the Windows platform.

For mac users, the choices are limited.

Metatrader platform

We will start with the obvious. The Metatrader suite of trading platforms are one of the most widely recognized forex trading and charting platform. There are two main versions of this. The MT4 and the MT5 trading platforms.

Each of these brings with it, its own flair and style. The Metatrader 5 is said to be an upgrade from the version 4. Still, the good old MT4 platform continues to outperform MT5 in terms of popularity and acceptance.

If you open a trading account with any retail forex broker, chances are that you will be offered the Metatrader suite of trading platforms to choose from.

cTrader Platform

The cTrader platform, from Spotware is a relative newcomer. But cTrader has become a cult-like trading platform. The cTrader platform is widely used by ECN or non-dealing desk brokers. The trading platform is lightweight and easy to use.

It has its own version of a development environment where you can test new indicators and even code automated trading strategies. The cTrader platform is available for free directly from the website and some forex brokers even offer this as an additional trading platform for you to trade.


Ninjatrader, which is running at version 8 at the moment, is another tried and tested trading and charting platform. However, Ninjatrader is more inclined to trading the futures market. Only a handful of brokers offer the Ninjatrader platform for free.

While it is free to download the Ninjatrader trading and charting platform, there are costs associated with connecting to a broker to get the real time data. This is one of the reasons, it puts of many retail traders.

Still, having said that, the Ninjatrader platform also has its own inbuilt developer environment and allows you to automate your trading strategies as well as backtest them.


Tradingview is perhaps the newest entrant to the world of forex trading platforms and charting software. Still, it has managed to disrupt the traditional players. Offering a web only solution, tradingview allows traders to easily conduct their technical analysis.

The Tradingview charting platform comes with a host of features including its own Pine development environment where you can automate trading strategies and code up custom technical indicators. In the recent years, has teamed up with various select brokers through which you can trade directly from the web based interface.


Multicharts is one of the old guards of the world of trading and charting platforms. For one, the platform itself is expensive and is not free of cost. Secondly, you will need to connect to a broker’s API feed in order to be able to trade.

These two factors alone make Multicharts a not so popular system for a cost conscious retail forex trader. There is also quite a bit of a learning curve as Multicharts is built using the .net platform. In terms of getting a coder to help you with coding is also slightly expensive.


JForex is another forex trading and charting platform that is free to use. But the downside being that this is a proprietary trading platform from Dukascopy. This means that you can only trade with Dukascopy if you use this trading platform.

The Jforex trading platform is built using Java technology and it quite easy to use and lightweight as well. It also comes with its own developer environment that allows you to automate your trading strategies or indicators.

Sierra Chart

Sierra chart is a well known trading and charting platform that has been around for quite a while. The charting interface is simply outstanding and many advanced traders might find this quite enjoyable. Sadly, though, you will need to purchase Sierra charts if you want trade with it. But on the other hand, the demo version gives you enough time to get familiar with this trading and charting platform.

You will of course need to connect to your forex broker in order to get the market data and be able to trade from Sierra charts. Again, given the fact that Sierra chart is not free and that brokers also chart some extra fee to give you access to their feeds, it is not that popular among the average retail trading community.

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