The process of installing an Expert Advisor (EA) is very simple. EAs are also known as trading robots. They can execute automated trading strategies or manage your trades.
Installing an EA is easy, here are the steps:
- Download the custom EA
- Open MT4 and go to File > Open Data Folder in the menu
- Navigate to MQL4 > Experts
- Drag the EA into the Experts folder
- Restart MT4 and drag the EA onto the chart
If you want more details, the tutorial below will give you step-by-step instructions on how to install your first EA.
It only takes a couple of minutes, once you know what you're doing.
The Installation Process
Installing an EA can be a little confusing, if you've never done it before.
These simple steps will have you up and running with your new EA in just a couple of minutes.
Remember that EAs cannot be installed on the web or mobile versions of MT4. They only work on the desktop version.
Step 1: Download the Custom EA
First download the custom EA from your provider. It doesn't matter where you get the EA from, as long as you trust the source.
You can download an EA from the MT4 Codebase or from our Store.
If the EA is in .ZIP format, then double click the file to extract it. From there, you should get a .EX4 or .MQ4 file.
Either file format will work.
Step 2: Open the MT4 Data Folder
Once you have the EA downloaded, it's time to add it to MT4.
Open MetaTrader, then go to File > Open Data Folder at the top of the screen.
This will open the data folder where all of the data for your user profile is stored.
Step 3: Copy the EA Into the Data Folder
Double-click the MQL4 folder, then double-click the Experts folder.
Then drag and drop the EA into the Experts folder.
Your EA is now installed.
Step 4: Restart MT4
In order for the EA to be available, you have to restart MT4.
Once you restart MetaTrader, make sure the Navigator window is open. You can access the Navigator window by doing one of the following:
- Press Control + N on your keyboard
- Click the Navigator button on the toolbar
- Go to View > Navigator in the menu
The expand the Experts folder to see your EA.
Step 5: Activate the EA on a Chart
Now be sure that the AutoTrading button is selected. If the button is green EAs are activated. If the button is red, EAs will not work.
Drag the EA from the Navigator window into your chart window. You should see the name of the EA in the upper right corner with a happy face next to it. This shows that the EA is active.
If there is a sad face next to the indicator name, that means you have to activate AutoTrading by clicking the button in the toolbar.
Common Mistakes When Installing an EA
There are 2 common mistakes that people make when installing an EA.
First, some people double click the EA and expect it to install by itself. An EA has to be installed manually and does not include an auto installer.
EAs come in either .EX4 or .MQ4 formats. If you want to edit an EA, then you need the .MQ4 file. This is the source file that humans can read and edit.
Once the .MQ4 file is compiled, it's turned into a .EX4 file, which MetaTrader 4 can use. You cannot edit an EA in .EX4 format.
Second, some traders try to use Windows File Explorer to navigate to the MT4 folder and install the EA. MetaTrader used to work like that, but they now use profile folders that are hidden deep in the Windows file system.
So you need to use the File > Open Data Folder menu item to access the Experts folder that you're currently using with your user profile in Windows.
EAs are fantastic tools for automating part or all of your trading system. You don't have to run a completely automated robot. Incremental Automation helps you automate your entry, exit or trailing stop loss.
So consider using an EA, even if you don't want to be 100% automated trader. If you don't know how to code, here are tips on finding a programmer.
You can see our available EAs and other MetaTrader plugins here.