"Expert advisors are automated trading strategies coded into a file. They have the file extension of .ex4 when it is compiled or .mql4 when the file’s code is open. Installing EA’s on your MT4 trading platform is the first step before you can start to use the expert advisor file. Therefore, it is essential that you get your basics right. It is important that you follow the instructions given in this tutorial to correctly install and use the expert advisors. This tutorial gives you a detailed view on how you can install the MT4’s expert advisor files. We also outline the various aspects that you need to consider and the various settings that need to be configured. If you have been apprehensive about installing EA’s then this tutorial is ideal for you as it shows how you can install and also troubleshoot the expert advisors when installing it on to your MT4 trading platform."
Forex expert advisors or EA as they are called are automated trading strategies. The expert advisor can be used for a number of things. From automatically trading on your behalf to creating custom charts or other trading tools or dashboards.
The main difference between a forex expert advisor (EA) and a technical indicator is that an indicator basically is used to plot values on a chart or in the sub-window. You can also create custom indicators such as to display some key market information and so on.
EA’s on the other hand relate to actual trading. Both forex expert advisors and indicators follow the same conventions. These custom files have a file extension of .ex4 or .mql4, if you are using the MT4 trading platform.
Locating the Experts folder on your computer
Before you install these files, it is important to know whether the file in question is an indicator or an expert advisor. If you make the mistake of installing an indicator in a different folder meant for expert advisor or vice versa, the file will not work.
The MT4 trading folder is your key starting point. Moving to the folder destination where the MT4 trading platform is installed, the next step is to move to the MQL4 folder.
Here, you will find a variety of various folders. Simply look for the folder named Experts. This is the folder where you will be dropping all the expert advisor files. If you are using a Mac, then go to the Application Finder and then right click on the MT4 file and select Show package contents.
Locating the Expert Advisor Folder
This will open up the sub folder in the MT4 installation. Once you go to the Experts file, you can just copy/paste or cut/paste the .ex4 or the mql4 expert advisor file.
Activating the Expert Advisor on your MT4
Once you do this you can now close the folder and open your MT4 trading platform.
In your MT4 trading platform, click on the Navigator folder to open the space that displays all your indicators and other files.
MT4 Navigator window to locate EA’s
As you can see in the above screenshot, the navigator window can be expanded or collapsed. Simply click on the + sign next to Expret Advisors which will show all the expert advisor files that you have on your folder.
In the event that you do not find the EA file, right click on the Expert Advisors name and select refresh. This will refresh the folder and you will be able to see the latest EA files that you downloaded.
The next step is of course, to drag/drop the expert advisor file onto your chart.
Depending on the EA’s coding, you will be presented with a configuration window. The configuration window will enable you to enter the custom settings for the EA that you want to be used.
Enable automated trading
Finally, you should ensure that you have enabled automated trading.
The MT4 trading platform by default does not enable automated trading. This is done to ensure that you do not by mistake activate an expert advisor which could begin to trade automatically.
To enable automated trading click on Tools > Options from the menu bar. This will open a small window on your MT4 trading platform. From here, click on the Experts tab and check the following as shown in the screenshot below.
Enabling expert advisors on MT4
Once you check the boxes, you are good to go.
A simple way to check if your expert advisor is working or not is to look for the smiley face ([Σύμβολο]) on the top right corner of the chart. If you see this icon, it means that your expert advisor is up and running and is waiting for the right market conditions to trade.
In the event that you see a sad face such as this [Σύμβολο] , it means that your EA is not working correctly.
To further troubleshoot this, click on the Experts tab on the lower part of your MT4. This will show you what exactly the problem is.
Troubleshooting MT4 EA problems
There could be make reasons why the EA will not run. It could range from being coded incorrectly to using the wrong settings or using the EA on the incorrect instrument for which it is not meant to be.
As you can see from the above tutorial, installing expert advisors on your MT4 trading platform is relatively simple. The MT4 trading platform is very easy to use and shows you what exactly is wrong with the EA.