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What are MT4 scripts and how do they work?

When someone talks about the Metatrader 4 trading platform, quite often traders think about indicators and expert advisors. While traders can’t live without indicators or for that matter expert advisors, the little known sibling is the scripts.

Scripts in MT4 often get ignored, but they are a powerful feature that allows you to do so many things. Most importantly MT4 scripts can be used to automate regular tasks which can be mundane and time consuming.

If you are a professional trader, or just a beginner who is getting started in using the MT4 trading platforms, learning about scripts can be a great way to save time.

What are scripts in MT4?

MT4 scripts are simple programs written I the MQL4 programming language. They are great for automating simple actions and can also execute some trading functions. The biggest difference MT4 scripts and expert advisors for example is that scripts can be executed just once.

To explain this differently, using expert advisors you can build up automated functions based on every new tick. But scripts explicitly end after they are executed. Therefore, if you are confused on how to get started to automate your trading functions, this is a great starting point.

Some of the common tasks that MT4 scripts can do include converting one of the default time period charts into a custom time period chart. You can do this by executing the script just one and it automatically creates and offline chart with the custom time frame.

You can try this out yourself by clicking on the scripts in the navigator window and then dragging the PeriodConverter script onto the chart of your choice. Set the multiplier to a number of your choice. For example, if you are executing this script on a H1 default chart and set the script multiplier to 3, it would create a 3-hour custom offline chart for you.

01 MT4 Script Example

In the above picture you can see how easy it is to use the MT4 script. Firstly, you open a regular H1 chart, then drop the PeriodConverter script and your have a real time H3 chart timeframe.

Of course, the above can also be done by making use of an expert advisor. But scripts can be a lot more efficient. Depending on your needs, you can automate many things using scripts. Another example is using scripts for order management.

In this example, you would use the script to set a pending order including take profit and stop loss levels. You could further automate it to the point of closing your pending order if it isn’t hit by a specific time period.

This is a great way to use scripts to automate things that would otherwise require you to stay in front of your trading terminal. Depending on the complexity and function of your scripts, you might have to make use of the Auto Trading feature which is more commonly used for Expert Advisors.

How to code/edit the MT4 scripts?

The MT4 scripts are all located within the navigator window. To write or edit an MT4 script, click on the Metaquotes editor and then select Script, if you are creating a new script. Alternately, to edit an existing script, just right click and edit with Metaquotes editor.

If you browse through the MQL5.com website, you can find a number of handy to use scripts, many of which are free! With MT4 scripts, you can let your imagination run wild as you can think of numerous ways to automate tasks that you would have manually done otherwise.

One of the things to bear in mind that you can only run one script at time. This means that if you have already executed a script on your chart, then to run a new script, this old script must be stopped. But you can easily drag drop the new script onto the same chart.

Metatrader will then prompt you whether to close the old script and execute the new script.

In conclusion, the scripts functionality of the Metatrader 4 trading platform is something that is very unique. If you have been thinking of finding some automated solutions, chances are that there are some scripts already available.

Remember that unlike expert advisors, scripts are limited in scope. But scripts are primarily designed to execute one time tasks and execution of these tasks require a manual trigger. However, once the script is executed, you do not need to stay in front of your trading terminal.

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