Best MT4 Moving Average Indicator | How to Setup and Use

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In this post I’ll discuss the best mt4 moving average indicator.

I’ll discuss the key functionalities and unique features of the indicator. I’ll also show you how to setup the indicator on your charts. I’ll also demonstrate how to add moving averages to indicators in mt4.

Moving average indicator mt4

Moving Averages (MA) are among the most popular studies in technical analysis. This indicator made its way to many trading systems more particularly on trend following systems. MA is an excellent tool regardless of the timeframe of a trading system – whether short, medium, or long-term.

 Because of its wide applicability, many platforms including MetaTrader 4 (MT4) added the MA as a default indicator. If you are searching for quality MA indicators, MT4’s version will fit most traders’ needs. 

Moving average indicator MT4

The Moving Average indicator calculates the mean/average of the instrument’s prices over a certain period of time. In trading, moving averages are generally used to smooth out price action and identify price trends of an instrument. 

There are 4 common types: simple, smoothed, linear, and exponential. The latter two assign weight coefficients to the latest data when computing the mean. Each moving average has its own calculation method that makes each are more or less sensitive to long and short term price movements. 

Main Features of the Moving Average Indicator MT4 

Good selection of calculation methods

The Moving Average indicator in MT4 can be applied to multiple timeframes and calculation methods.

Indicator periods can be set based on default settings which include the 20,50,100, and 200-day. Users can also select any period of their choice. 

The indicator also includes four types of moving average calculation methods. Two popular choices are the Simple and Exponential MAs; Linear and Smoothed calculation methods are also available. I will discuss more about these 4 types and their calculation methods in the following section. 

Data Input Selection 

MT4 moving average indicator offers MA computations for a selection of data sets. This includes bar opening and closing prices, highest and lows, median, and typical price.

Customizable Display Parameters

Users can select period values manually.  The MA’s line color and style are both highly customizable. 

Add Mt4 Moving Average indicator to other Indicators 

The MT4 moving average indicator can be applied not only to price but also to other indicators. This is a really nice feature for tracking long and short term trends of a selected indicator.

Pros and Cons 

Pros
  • Pre-installed indicator on MetaTrader 4 – no installation required.
  • Customizable parameters (period, color, apply to – close, open, high, low, median and typical price).
  • Ability to apply the MA on customizable timeframes.
  • Very easy to apply and setup.
  • Ability to apply the MA on other indicators.
Cons
  • MA custom counterparts in MQL market provide advanced features like alerts.
  • Lacks alert feature.

MT4 Moving Average Indicator Calculation Method – How do you calculate moving average mt4?

To continue with our discussion on the different types, I will dissect each Mt4 Moving average indicator focusing on the formula behind the computation of the mean/average. This section aims to help the user to identify the MA type that will best fit their own style or system. See table below: 

Moving Average Type

Formula

Definition 

Simple / Arithmetic (SMA)

SMA = Sum (Close, N)/N

Where: N = is the number of periods

SMA is constructed by getting the sum of a set of data values (closing prices) and dividing this with the data points (otherwise known as “period”). 
The values are then plotted to form the Simple Moving Average. 
Essentially, the SMA applies an equal weight to all data points included in the period

Exponential (EMA)

EMA = (Close (i) * P) + (EMA (i-1) * (100 - P))

Where:  
CLOSE(i) = is the number of periods
EMA (i-1) = EMA of previous period 
P = % of using the price value  

EMA, a type of weighted MA, that assigns a greater weight on the most recent data points.

EMA is more reactive to recent price changes compared to a SMA. 

Smoothed (SMMA)

SMMA (i) = (PrevSum - SMMA (i-1) + Close (i))/ N

Or

SMMA (i) = (SMMA (i-1) * (N-1) + Close (i)) / N 

Where: 
PrevSUM = smoothed sum of previous bar;
SMMA = smoothed MA of the first bar;
CLOSE(i) = current closing price; 
N = smoothing period;

Compared to SMA, the SMMA includes the oldest price data in the computation albeit assigning a lower weighting as to have only a minimal impact. This MA includes a longer period if not the entire data points available. 
Essentially, the SSMA is a combination of the EMA and SMA. 
Traders use this MA for its smoothing function where it attempts to eliminate short term fluctuations by focusing on the prevailing trend. 

Linear Weighted(LWMA) 

SMMA (i) = (PrevSum - SMMA (i-1) + Close (i))/ N

Or

SMMA (i) = (SMMA (i-1) * (N-1) + Close (i)) / N 
Where:  

Where:
PrevSUM = smoothed sum of previous bar;
SMMA1 = smoothed MA of the first bar;
CLOSE(i) = current closing price; 
N = smoothing period;

LWMA, like the EMA, assigns heavier weightings on latest data. The main difference is that LWMA assigns weightings in a linear fashion - decreasing weights progressively on prior prices. 
LWMAs are known to have quicker reactions compared to SMA and EMA. 

How is the Mt4 Moving Average Indicator useful?

Although the Moving Average mt4 indicator offers various types of calculations, the 4 types offer essentially the same value-add: To smooth out price. To give us a picture of its value, here are some ways users can apply MAs to their trading:

  • Identify trending/non-trending (ranging) markets 
  • Gauge of bullish/bearish sentiment 
  • Identify support and resistance levels 
  • Identify entries and exits (stop losses, trailing stops)  

How to Setup and Use Moving Average MT4 Indicator

How to Find and Add the MT4 Moving Average Indicator on a Chart 

Before we get to the nitty-gritty, I will demonstrate where users can find the indicator.  

This guide assumes that a MT4 program is already been installed on your computer. 

Adding Indicator to chart: Method 1

To find the indicator, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Launch MetaTrader 4
  2. Open chart 
  3. Locate the main toolbar (see black box in screenshot below) and click the ‘Indicators List(see blue box)
Adding moving average to mt4

Method 1 Step 3 – Moving Average mt4 Screenshot

  1. Hover at ‘Trend‘ > select ‘Moving Average’. 
Adding moving average to mt4 chart from indicator icon dropdown menu

Method 1 Step 4 – Screenshot from mt4 platform

  1. To add the indicator, click ‘Moving Average(see blue box above)

The Configuration window will appear upon clicking. More on this in the next subsection. 

Adding Indicator to chart: Method 2

  1. Locate Navigator Panel on the left side MT4 (see blue box below)

Method 2 Step 1 Adding the moving average indicator to a chart

  1. Click the + button on the left of Indicators to expand list  (see blue box for expanded Trend list)
  2. Click the + button on the left of Trend to expand list (see violet box for expanded Trend list)
  3. Select Moving Average (see blue arrow, purple box above)

Setting up the Moving Average MT4 Indicator: Basics 

MA Indicator Configuration window

The above screenshot is the Moving Average mt4 configuration window. In this subsection, we will delve into the basic settings of this indicator. 

There are 3 common important parameters. Each parameter setting will depend on your trading style and/or what your wanting to get from the indicator:

  1. Period
    • The specific time frame or time period to be averaged 
    • Common period preferences:
      • For longer term – 200, 100, 50 
      • For shorter term – 5, 10, 20  
  1. MA Method 
    • The calculation method used in averaging out the data points for the specified period 
    • Choose from Simple, Exponential, Smoothed, Linear Weighted 
    • Most common MA Methods: Single or Exponential
  1. Apply To  
    • Select the data you would like as input – close, open, high, low, median and typical price, Commonly applied to: Close. Choose from the following:
      1. Close
      2. Open 
      3. High
      4. Low 
      5. Median
        • Middle price of a day’s range
        • Formula: (high + low)/2  
      6. Typical: 
        • Average of the 3 price levels of a certain day
        • Formula:  (High + Low + Close )/ 3
      7. Weighted 

Customizing the MT4 Moving Average Indicator

Moving Average mt4 is an indicator that traders have a lot of flexibility customizing. The following are some of the customizations that can be made:

Data Input Customization 

Period 

  • Users can manually input any value. But is limited to the available data for a particular security. 
  • Tip: keep in mind that higher values aim to capture the long-term trends while lower value aims to picture short term trends. See sample below for an example of a high valued MA.
Setting period for Moving average indicator

Setting period parameter

Setting MA period parameter

Sample of Period input 1,000 (green MA)

MA Method

  • MA method allows users to choose a preferred MA calculation method. There are 4 options available: Linear, Exponential, Smoothed, Linear Weighted. 

Apply To 

  • Users may opt to use the following as inputs to the algorithm: Close, Open, High, Low, Median Price, Typical Price, or Weighted Close

Style Customization 

The MT4 Moving Average Indicator offers a decent amount of style customization. Users can select to customize color, line style, line thickness

Color 

  • MA line colors can be customized. Users can choose from standard selections to a more personalized colors by adjusting hue, saturation, and RGB parameters. 

Setting moving average color parameters – Screenshot of Custom Colors 

Line Style and Width 

Line style and thickness can be customized:

  • Line Style Options: Solid, Dashed, Semi-Dashed, Dotted, Mixed.  See blue box below for visual samples of these lines:

Selecting line type in mt4 parameters

  • Line Thickness Options: 5-tiered level of thickness. See blue box below for visual samples of these options:

Setting line thickness in mt4 parameters

Modifying, Adding, and Deleting the MT4 Moving Average Indicator 

Once applied to your chart, the moving average indicator can be easily modified, added, and deleted. 

Modification 

To modify the MT4 Moving Average’s parameters after applying to chart use the follow these steps: 

  1. Right click the MA 
  • Tip: make sure the cursor is aligned or directly on the line. To ensure that the cursor is correctly on the MA, hover over the indicator, a label box should appear. 
  1. Select MA (period) Properties

See blue box below 

How to modify an mt4 Moving Average on the chart

  1. The Configurations window should appear upon clicking
  2. Modify the parameters you’d like to change 

For another option/shortcut, follow these steps:

  1. Type CTRL + I to open Indicator List. A window will appear displaying active indicators on your selected chart 
  2. Click the Moving Average you would like to edit. Note: the MAs are listed in chronological order of creation 
  3. Click the Edit button 
  4. The Configurations window will appear

Deleting the MT4 Moving Average Indicator 

Deleting an existing MA is easy. Follow the steps below: 

  1. Right click the MA 
  2. Select Delete Indicator 

See blue box below

How to delete an mt4 Moving Average from the chart

Users can also type CTRL + I shortcut mentioned above in modifying indicators. 

Adding additional MT4 Moving Average Indicators 

Adding an additional MA follows the same process as adding an initial MA. Simple following the steps listed in the ‘How to Find and Add the MT4 Moving Average Indicator on a Chart’ section above.

Getting the most out of the MA Indicator 

Here are some tips to get the most out of the MT4 Moving Average Indicator:

  1. Data Window Information 
    • Locate the Data Window at the left side of the chart panel (see blue box below)
    • This window displays numerical representation of the visual components on the chart 
    • This is an excellent way for traders to see actual data points.
    • Note: The values shown depend on where the cursor is placed on the chart. For example, if you’d like to know the current/latest values of your MAs, hover the cursor at the last candle on the chart. 

MetaTrader 4 Moving average Data Window Information

  1. Use 2 or more MAs to get multifaceted study 
    • Having more than 1 MA can be a useful method for identifying trend changes.
    • Different MA calculation methods can be applied to different MA’s on the same chart.
  2. Use Moving Average to identify trends on other indicators 
    • See next section for more information on how to add MA to other indicators.

Adding Moving Average Indicator to other Indicators on MT4

The MT4 Moving Average indicator has wide range of applications. A great feature of this indicator is it can be applied to other indicators applied to chart. For example RSI, ATR etc

If you’d like to add a MA to another indicator here are the steps: 

  1. Add your chosen indicator to your chart. This could be anything – RSI, ADX – any indicator that you would like to analyze its trend 
  2. Locate the Navigator window on the left side of your platform See blue box on screenshot below
  3. Click the + icon beside Indicators > Click + icon beside Trend See purple arrow purple box below

Locate mt4 indicators from navigator window

  1. Single click Moving Average > Drag and drop the MA to the indicator of your choice. See purple connected line arrows below 
Adding moving average to RSI in mt4

Adding Moving Average Indicator to other Indicators on MT4

  1. To complete, the Configurations window will appear upon dropping the MA to the indicator (ATR in the sample above)
  2. Important: in Apply To, select Previous Indicator’s data 
  3. Then Complete other input parameters 

See applied MA (in green dashed lines) on the ATR indicator 

Adding moving average to ATR in mt4

Adding a Moving Average to another indicator in mt4 – Adding moving average to ATR in mt4

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