Step 1: Download and unzip your EA archive
Open your EA folder. In this folder there will be all files that are required for your Expert Advisor to work.
Usually, simple EAs consist of two files with the following extensions:
- . ex4 – compiled assembly (executable file). This file is used to launch your EA in MetaTrader terminal.
- .mq4 – your EA source code, which can be viewed in MetaEditor. Used for making any adjustments/updates in your EA code.
EAs that are more sophisticated may contain additional files that are required for proper work of the EA.
Step 2: Copy your EA files into your MT4 terminal
All files required for the working process of your Expert Advisor in MetaTrader 4 should be in the Data Folder of your MT4 terminal.
To do this:
Launch your MetaTrader 4
Click File in the upper navigation menu -> select Open Data Folder
The Data Folder with your MT4 terminal will be opened.
In the just opened Data Folder, open MQL4 -> Experts. This is the folder in which you need to copy your EA files. If your EA consists of two files (. ex4 and .mq4), just copy and paste them into the Experts folder. If your EA consists of several files, copy, and paste the unzipped folder from Step 1 into the Experts folder.
Please note that if your EA is based on some custom indicators, they should be located in a separate folder MQL4 -> Indicators. Files with .dll extension should be in MQL4 -> Libraries folder. After your copy all the files into related folders, restart your MT4 terminal or open “Navigator” in your MetaTrader 4, right-click on “Expert Advisors” point of menu and click “Refresh”.
Now your EA is successfully installed in your MT4 terminal and is available in “Navigator” window under “Expert Advisors” menu.
Step 3: Check your EA settings before the start
In the upper navigation menu click “Tools” -> select Options
In the opened window open “Expert Advisors” tab and check if:
“Allow automated trading” is enabled
“Allow DLL imports” is enabled in case your EA uses .dll files
If your EA is designed for some specific financial asset or timeframe, for security reasons set “Disable automated trading when the charts symbol or period has been changed”
Check if “AutoTrading” is enabled on the MT4 terminal control panel. For your EA to be able to execute trades automatically, this button should be clicked. When turned on the button has a green indication.
Now your EA is ready for a start.
Step 4: Start your Expert Advisor
Before starting your EA ensure that you have opened the chart with the financial asset and timeframe that you want to use your EA on.
In “Navigator” window unroll “Expert Advisors” menu and select the EA that you want to start.
Double-click on the EA or drag-and-drop it on the chart. Once you do this settings window of the Expert Advisor will open.
On the “Common” tab ensure that your EA is allowed to trade automatically and check other parameters as well, such as if alerts are allowed (in case your EA uses them) as well as .dll imports (in case your EA uses external .dll files).
On the “Input” tab ensure that all the EA parameters are configured in accordance with your trading strategy.
After checking all the settings click “OK”. Your Expert Advisor has started to work.
Step 5: Ensure that your EA is running
If the installation and launching processes have been successful, you will see a smiley face at the top right corner of the chart near your Expert Advisor name.
Check “Experts” and “Journal” tabs at the bottom of your terminal: if there are no any error alerts in there, then this means that your Expert Advisor is launched successfully and is currently running.