How to Automate Forex Trading

By John A. Taxiarchos | TheFxMarkets.com | July 19, 2010

Using "Automated Trading Robots" or "Expert Advisors" or simply "EA", is easily done on the Metatrader 4 platform, but did you know you can have multiple expert advisors running at the same time on one platform?

For purposes of this article, I will use the forex Metatrader trading platform as an example, since it is a very user-friendly platform and can easily run expert advisors.

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Assuming you have already opened a live Metatrader trading account with your preferred Forex Broker, go to the file menu in the top left corner to open a new chart. Click on "New Chart" and then choose the currency pair you wish to trade. You can also simply click on the Chart icon in the top left corner of the screen to save yourself an extra step. The chart will be shown in one of the tabs below, as the line in red indicates at the bottom of the screen on Exhibit "A". Follow the same steps to open your second chart, if you wish to trade the same currency pair with another EA. You must do this if you are to trade multiple EA's on the same currency pair, since you will not be able to trade multiple EA's on one chart.

Exhibit A

If you already had your first chart with the correct currency pair in the first tab, once the second chart is created, it will automatically go to the last tab of any other charts already there.

For convenience, you can move the chart you just created closer to your first chart, so you can easily toggle between the two charts. Click and hold on the chart you just created, then drag and drop on the tab next to your first chart and it will replace whatever chart was there. You can see in Exhibit "B" below that we have moved the second EUR/USD M15 chart next to the first one. Alternatively, you can minimize your chart and view them all on one screen, as shown below.

Exhibit B

Make sure the chart you want is identified on your screen, as indicated in Exhibit "C". You must choose the correct time frame at the top of your screen. You can see how the time frame can be adjusted by clicking on the different tabs, "M" for minutes, "H" for hours, "D" for days, "W" for weeks and "MN" for months. In this example, we have indicated a chart for EUR/USD on the "M15" or 15 minute time frame.

Exhibit C

If you have already downloaded your expert advisor, you are ready to begin the process of running it on the software in your own account. Begin by clicking on the (+) sign of the "Expert Advisor" tab under the "Navigator" section within Metatrader, as shown in Exhibit "D" below. Once the Expert Advisor tab expands, you should see the name of your newly downloaded expert advisor. If it is not there, try installing it again by following the instructions provided by your EA Developer.

Exhibit D

To start using your expert advisor, click and hold on the appropriate EA on the left hand side in the Navigator screen, then drag and drop the EA onto your chart. See Exhibit "E" below.

Exhibit E

Once you have dropped the EA onto your chart, a pop up screen will be shown. Under the "Common" tab, you need to make sure that the "Allow live trading" box is checked, as well as the "Allow DLL imports" box in order for your EA to work properly. See Exhibit "F" below.

Exhibit F

Then click on the Inputs tab. You will need to verify that the "Value" settings are in accordance with the EA you are running. You should carefully read the instruction manual for the optimum settings given by the product developer.

IMPORTANT NOTE! You will want to make sure that the MagicNumber of one EA is different from the other. Otherwise, you may have a conflict when the EA's are trading multiple positions. They may not be able to differentiate one order from another. You can randomly assign a number of your choosing as well, by double clicking on the Value box. If the particular EA's you are using do not have a MagicNumber field, you will either need to write in the code or have someone do it for you. Another option is to put something in the comments section of the account history to help you differentiate, but that is only a temporary solution. Once you have verified the settings, click "Okay". See Exhibit "G" below.

Exhibit G

If you have checked the right settings and inputted the correct values, you will see the name of the EA and a happy face "J" in the top right corner of your screen. If you have not entered the information and values properly, you will see a sad face "L" instead. If you believe that the parameters have been set properly, make sure that your "Expert Advisors" tab at the top of the screen is clicked on. You should see a green arrow in the box. See Exhibit "H" below.

Exhibit H

Once the first chart is set up, you can go to the next chart by clicking on the correct tab at the bottom of the screen and going through the same process to properly install the next EA. You can do this on as many charts as you like with as many EA's as you like, but I would not recommend more than three EA's running at once. See Exhibit "I" below.

Exhibit I

Once you have properly installed your EA's on the different charts, you will want to verify that all of the information is correct and then you can just sit back and watch the EA's go! This one already made a trade, as indicated in the middle of the screen below on Exhibit "J".

Exhibit J

Should you have any questions about the performance, bandwidth or parameters of your expert advisor, you should consult your EA product developer.

John A. Taxiarchos is a seasoned professional investor/trader with over 10 years of experience in the equities, futures and FOREX markets. John started his career as a registered representative for a Top Ten Investment Bank. As trading technology advanced, John shifted focus on trading strategies in the Forex market. He is currently a Market Analyst for Traders Choice FX: www.traderschoicefx.com

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