For a long time, Metatrader was the very best charting software for Forex.
…and it's still really good.
The best part is that it is also free.
But things have changed.
In this post, I'll show you why I decided to switch from the free MT4 platform to the pro version of TradingView. Some people may think that this is crazy, but I'll give you 5 reasons why I decided to do it.
I'm not saying that you should switch…use whatever works best for you. But if you are frustrated with certain things about Metatrader, like I was, then TradingView might be a great MT4 alternative.
To learn more, watch this video. If you prefer the text version, it is provided below the video.
1. Platform Independence
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, then you know that I hate using Microsoft Windows.
Sure, you can install VMWare Fusion with Windows 7 to get MT4 to work on a Mac. But it's a pain in the ass to reinstall everything whenever something happens to Windows or if I get a new computer.
Having a browser-based charting platform makes it easy to log into my TradingView account any computer and have all of my presets available. No more manual setups or Dropbox backups.
I can even log into a Linux computer and still use the same charts.
This reason alone makes it worth considering. But other platforms have promised this ability and have fallen short on one huge thing.
2. Solid Charts
If you look at most of the online charting solutions that are available, they are pretty crappy. Even Metatrader's online charting platform is a stripped down version of the installable version.
Do you remember the first Java charts that were available for Forex?
I'm talking back in like 2000.
They were barely good enough to trade with. But you couldn't save any settings and they would always crash.
Newer online charts are quite a bit better, but they still face the same glitchy behavior. For example, one of TradingView's closest competitors (not naming names) doesn't change the background of a chart, even after you change them in the settings.
In stark contrast, TradingView's charts are rock-solid. They scroll forward and backwards as expected and when you change a setting it actually works.
The chart zooming is super smooth.
From what I hear, TradingView spent a ton of money on their charts and it shows. In my opinion, they are better than Metatrader charts.
…and that's saying a lot, because Metatrader charts are awesome!
On top of that you don't have to manually download historical data like you have to do with MT4 data.
3. Easy Multi-Timeframe Analysis
This one is a big one for me.
Since I'm a Swing Trader, I trade off the 4-hour and daily charts. But I also want to see the 1-hour and weekly charts to get some additional context.
In Metatrader, you cannot instantly analyze different timeframes for the same currency pair. You have to switch each chart individually.
But in TradingView, you can have 4 charts up at the same time and you can set each one to a different timeframe. When you switch currency pairs, all of the charts change to the new pair, but keep their timeframe.
This is super convenient and makes it so easy to analyze each pair, with just one click. You can also hit the down arrow on your keyboard and move to the next pair.
This alone has saved me so much time when checking the charts.
4. Access to Other Markets
One big thing that is missing from most Metatrader installations is the ability to see other markets. For example, I also trade ETFs, some stocks and I watch markets like oil, gold, the S&P500 and correlated markets, because they can influence FX.
But Metatrader was built to primarily be a Forex platform and only allow traders to see the trading instruments that are available from each broker. So if your broker does not provide a data feed for gold, then you have to get it somewhere else.
But on TradingView, I can see quotes for futures, commodities, stocks and FX. This makes it a one-stop platform to see everything I need.
Why would I go anywhere else?
5. Great Charting Features
Last, but certainly not least, the charting tools in TradingView are superior to any other platform that I have seen. One of my favorites is the long/short position markers.
They make it easy for me to mark my positions and instantly see how each position is doing. In Metatrader, I had to create three separate lines to mark my entry, stop loss and take profit.
But in TradingView, one tool takes care of all of these things.
You can also save your charts or trading ideas, then play them forward after the trade has been closed. Click the play button on any of these charts and see it action.
As you know, a trade can look much different before you enter a trade and after it has been seen to completion. So by creating a before and after snapshot allows you to get a good feel for what the trade looked like when you entered.
All of the other TradingView tools are pretty standard. But I do like the huge library of icons that you can add to a chart 🙂
Yeah, it's a minor thing. But it's a nice touch.
TradingView Pro Review
I use TradingView Pro.
I decided to upgrade for two reasons:
- The nag screens were annoying and distracted me
- It pricing was cheap enough, compared to the value that I got
In my opinion, the paid version is downright cheap. Of course, this will depend on your income and geographic location. It currently starts at $9.95 per month, you get rid of all the annoying popups and get other excellent benefits.
You can also trade directly on the charts. They are always adding new brokers so be sure to check their current list.
The free version is good enough for beginning traders. But if are serious about this, pro is the only way to go.
If you are new to Forex trading, then there are certainly very capable alternatives to TradingView. Consider the following…
Metatrader 4 is still a very solid charting and trading platform. My only complaint is that you cannot trade nano lots and the interface still has that 1999-Microsoft-Windows swagger going on.
I still use MT4 on a VPS for my alerts because the TradingView Pine programming language is not at the same level as Metatrader or Tradestation.
But once Pine is ready for prime time, I'll be all over it.
I don't know anyone who uses MT5 exclusively. But it might work well for you.
It's also free, so if you are interested, you should check it out.
My opinion is that you should stick to MT4. There is a bigger code base, more programmers and MT4 for just works.
So why mess with it?
Brokers like FXCM have their own trading platforms. They might work better for you.
I'm not a big fan of the FXCM platform, but some love it. The one thing that I didn't like (the last time I used it) was that they blended all trade entries.
Since I live in the US, I can't trade with them anymore anyway.
But it's an option to consider.
If we look forward to the near future, most trading software that we use is going to be browser-based. Any software that is platform dependent, is going to have to adapt or be overtaken by SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions.
This goes for trading journals, charting/trading platforms and even backtesting software.
It's funny how some traders are so resistant to this shift in platforms though.
I got a really angry email from a trader that basically said:
“Profitable traders only use Metatrader.”
If you believe that your charting/trading platform determines your profitability, then I'm not sure what to say to you.
Just like with anything else in trading, keep an open mind.
You might be surprised at what you discover.
What's your opinion about Metatrader vs TradingView?
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