How To Make Your Own Custom Chart Template For Metatrader 4

Let’s face it, when you initially load up MT4 and open up your first chart – those iconic ‘green & black’ themed colors can make you cringe.

Unless of course you like that feeling of staring into something that looks like ‘The Matrix’ code.

Thankfully, Metatrader 4 is very customizable – and you can do some powerful things with chart templates to make your trading life a lot easier in the future.

In this tutorial, I am going to demonstrate what you can do with Mt4 chart templates, how to customize them the way you want, and show you cool tricks that I use.

Let’s get started.

 

What do Chart Templates Do?

Before I show you how to save templates, let me run you through some of the things they control. You might be surprised…

Chart templates are a way to customize your Metatrader 4 charting experience, save your favorite custom layout, and have it available to re-load quickly later.

So what information is actually saved into a template? Well actually a lot of things…

  • Chart color schemes (colors tab)
  • Chart properties (common tab)
  • Indicators attached to the chart and all their settings
  • Expert Advisors attached to the chart and all its settings
  • Any objects on the chart and their settings
  • Basically any settings or customizations you’ve made to your chart

If you’ve got a complicated setup that you don’t want to have to keep re-configuring every time you load a chart, templates are what you need.

You can even set your favorite template as the ‘default’, so every time you load a chart, your template is applied – I’ll show you how to do that later on.

Checkpoint

Templates are a great way to save your chart theme and work space, especially if you have very unique or detailed chart setups.

 

Step-by-Step Process to Creating Your Awesome Template

Alright this section is going to be a lengthy one, because there are a lot of things you can customize in MT4 for your template.

Depending on how you want your template, you may be able to skip some of the steps, if they are not relevant to you.

Here we go…

 

Step 1: Prepare a Clean Chart

The first thing you want to do is start with a clean chart:

  • Open a new chart
  • Remove horizontal levels, trend lines, fibs and other technical drawing tools
  • Remove any expert advisors (Right click -> expert advisors -> remove)
  • Remove all indicators (CTRL +I)
  • Remove any left over chart objects, they could easily be hidden from view (CTRL + B)

The reason is because anything present on your chart will be save into your template, which you may not want to carry over into your other charts.

 

Step 2: Customize your chart colors

The first thing you want to do is customize the chart colors that you want to use. Right click on your chart and select properties…

access-chart-properties

Once you’re in here, then click on the colors tab and set the color pallet to your taste.

changing-colors-tab

Here is my color theme for example…

tfg-color-theme

Please don’t do this..

horrible-chart-theme

Once you’re done setting up the colors the way you like them, we can move on…

 

Step 3: Tweak Common Tab Settings

Before clicking OK, select the common tab – there are a few options here we need to check.

common-tab

I’ve circled some key settings that can be ON by default, but you really want them off.

  • Chart on foreground: This can screw with a lot of custom indicators. It causes the candles to be drawn over the indicator rather than the indicator being drawn over the candlesticks – which is what you want. This is the most common cause of traders not being able to get their indicators to draw correctly. Turn this off.
  • Chart autoscroll: This will cause the chart to scroll back to the most recent point of the chart… on-every-new-tick. This can get really annoying, fast – and if you don’t know about this, you will be cursing your computer in extreme frustration wondering why your charts won’t stay where you left them. I advise to turn this off.
  • Show grid: This shows a grid on the back of the chart. This is optional whether you want to turn this off, but I find the chart looks a lot cleaner when the grid is turned off. The grid really doesn’t provide anything useful for your technical analysis in my opinion.

 

Step 4: Add Any Indicators You Want to Load With Your Template (Optional)

Note: If needed,  I have a guide on how to install custom indicators into MT4.

Add your indicator to the chart, in this case I will use my MT4 Battle Station.

add-indicator-to-chart

You can either click-and-drag onto the chart you wish to load it from, or simply double click on the indicator – and that will load the indicator on to the chart you’ve got in focus.

Once you load the indicator, a pop-up box will be generated, with a lot of options.

 

Step 5: Customize the Indicator Input Options (Optional)

Once the indicator properties pop-up box appears, you need to customize all the properties, across all the tabs. This is important because this information is saved with your custom template.

indicator-input-tab

Above is the input of the current version (at the time time of writing this), of my Battle Station Indicator. Now this is where you find options left by the indicator author to give you some control with the way the indicator behaves.

Typically in the input options panel you will find:

  • On/Off kind of switches
  • Customizable values, like how many candles should the indicator scan/consider
  • Various Drawing Options
  • Various Performance Settings

These are just general ideas of what you can expect in the input panel, every indicator will be different. It really is up to the indicator author to explain how to use their input settings.

My Battle Station has a lot of input options – because it is like a Swiss army knife for price action traders, so there are many things which can be turned on and off to give you guys a way to customize what you want the battle station to do for you.

The default settings of your indicator are usually going to be the most popular anyway. I’ve set the the default options of the Battle Station to how I think most traders would like to use it.

Go through the input options and set them the way you like. Then move over to the colors tab.

The colors tab below is a cheat sheet for my Battle Station users which show what color channels, control what signals.

colors-tab

Once you get over the the colors tab there are few options here.

Indicators must draw on the screen through an internal framework called indicator buffers, which are like ‘channels’. For example, an indicator that draws two moving averages will need two channels – one for each line.

Note: Drawing styles will only work on any channels that are drawing lines. The Battle Station uses histogram drawing functionality, so I don’t believe changing styles will have any effect on battle station drawing.

In the colors tab, you have some options here which can use to customize the how each specific channel is drawn.

For example, instead of your indicator drawing straight lines you can have it draw dotted lines instead. There are a few other options like drawing thickness.

Look what happens when I change the drawing thickness on the inside candle channel of the battle station.

increase-width-settings-view

See the ‘width’ setting, I’ve changed it to 5 on the single inside candle channel (yellow). Look at the effect…

increased-drawing-width-effect

You can also override the default colors for each channel here, which is good if the indicator color theme doesn’t match your chart color theme.

Unfortunately, MT4 doesn’t allow you to label the indicator buffers here, so they just appear as numbers. If you’re not sure about what buffer controls what part of your indicator, you will just need to do some trail and error.

For Battle Station users, I’ve marked out which indicator buffers control which drawing features in the cheat sheet above, so you can customize how you like.

Once you’re done with the Colors tab, next move over to the Visualization tab.

visual-tab

Finally in this tab, you can customize what time frames you would like your indicator to show on.

These options could be useful say if you would like moving averages to show on one time frame, and Donchian channels on another – but never both on the same chart.

Once you’ve gone through all those tabs, set all the options the way you like – press OK to load the indicator on the the chart with all your customized settings.

 

Step 6: Add Any Expert Advisors You want to Load With Your Template (Optional)

Expert Advisors are a type of plugin for MT4 that has more control than a normal indicator. It is basically the ‘high-end’ plugin type for MT4 which has the extra ability to open/modify trades for you.

Generally an expert advisor can be made to serve as:

  • Trade Management Tool
  • Fully Automatic Trading Robot
  • A Trade Copier
  • History Data Miner
  • Custom Chart Builder

Expert advisors, and their internal settings can be saved with your template. So, if you have an expert advisor you want to use in your template, do the following:

I will use my Trade Management Panel in this example.

Expert advisors will be displayed in the navigator window. If you can’t see the navigator, use the main menu and select view->navigator.

load-expert-advisor

Most of the this process will be similar to loading indicators. Click-and-drag, or double click to load onto the active chart. An option box will pop-up.

Here is where we can customize the expert advisor to our specifications.

trade-management-common

Depending on what your expert advisor is designed to do, you may need to give it permission to be able to open/close/make changes to your trades.

Check the ‘Allow live trading’ if needed. You may also need to check the ‘Allow DLL imports’ checkbox also. If you’re using any of my tools, then you’re going to need to enable this.

Warning

Don’t enable DLL importing if you don’t trust the author of the indicator. There could be malicious code in there that you don’t want executed. Just make sure you only enable this for trustworthy tools.

Once your done here, move over the the inputs tab.

expert-advisor-inputs

Just like indicators, this is the area where you can modify input options the author has provided you.

The Trade Management Panel doesn’t have that many options on the input tab, they’re all mostly on the panel UI when it’s loaded onto the chart.

But this is going to be different from tool to tool.

Once you’re done here, click ok to load the expert advisor onto the chart.

trade-managment-panel-loaded

Note

If your expert advisor needs to perform trade tasks, like open/close/modify, you also need to turn on a ‘master switch’ located in the top bar to fully enable live trading.

live-trade-permission-master-switch

 

Saving your template

Once you’ve gone through all the steps above, and you have your chart set up the way you like it, you can now save your template so you can easily re-load it later hassle free.

The process of saving a template is easy. Right click on the chart to bring up the sub menu, and select templates -> save template.

save-template-option

Then you will get the option to name your template.

template-save-awesome

You can it whatever you like, however there are special reserved names that you can set your template to, which will cause MT4 to ‘auto load’ your template under specific circumstances.

For example, if you call your template ‘default’, then MT4 will load your template every time you open a new chart.

Here are the reserved names I know of:

  • default‘: MT4 will look for a template called default on each new chart load. Call your template default to get this ‘auto load’ effect.
  • tester‘: If you are the back tester, name a template ‘tester’ if you want the strategy tester to load a specific template automatically, which is used when visual mode is enabled.
  • debug‘: This is used by MT4 when you launch the debugger process inside the Metaeditor (applies to developers only)
  • offline‘: I believe this one will be used whenever you load an offline chart, if it doesn’t exist will default to the default template.

Name your template to any of the reserve names above to get the explained effects.

Checkpoint

Saving a template is a very easy process once you’ve setup a chart the way you like. There are special template names that you can use to get some auto loading effects of your template.

 

Loading Your Custom Template

Loading your previously saved template is really easy.

On the chart, right click to get that sub-menu to appear, then click templates -> load template.

load-template

Your most recently used templates will appear on the ‘quick load’ menu option, if you see it there, then great – you can select it from here. Otherwise select the load template option, which will bring a list of all your available templates.

load-template-screen

If your template isn’t in the quick load area, then you will find it here.

Metatrader 4 comes with some templates pre-loaded here ‘out of the box’. But they are absolutely useless, and I do not recommend using them if you’re serious about trading.

Double click on your template, or select your template, then select ‘open’ and your template will be loaded to your chart.

Checkpoint

Loading a template is really easy.

 

Moving Your Template File To Another MT4

If you use multiple MT4 setups, and you want to move your saved template to another installation – or, simply want to share your template with a friend, it’s easy.

A saved template is essentially just a file on your computer. Once you get access to that file, you can copy or move it to any other location you want.

MT4 stores, and looks for template files in a specific location. To get to the template folder do the following.

  1. Click file->open data folder
  2. Open the Templates Folder

You should now be in the folder where MT4 looks for template files.

The file will be called whatever you named your template.

Now you can copy the template file from here, and transfer it to another Mt4.

When you place your template file in the destination MT4, you will need to follow the same steps above to gain access to that particular Metatrader install’s template folder.

Once you place the template file in the destination MT4’s template folder, you will have to restart it before the template will appear in the template load menu.

Checkpoint

You can extract your template file from your MT4, and move it to other MT4 installations. Just make sure you place the file in the correct folder in which that particular install is looking for its templates.

 

Well that’s it, now you know everything I know about Metatrader 4’s template system. If you have any questions, or if you found this tutorial helpful, please leave your comment below – I enjoy the feedback.

All the best with your new charting experience 🙂

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11 Comments...


  1. Gabe Guina comment display photo
    Gabe Guina
    Wow ...this is awsome......I like it ......well done Dale

  2. RONY PEREIRA comment display photo
    RONY PEREIRA
    very very informative

  3. Lungisa comment display photo
    Lungisa
    Mr woods I'm a 22 year old, from South Africa, I'm really inspired by what you've done... you could easily charge a lot of money for the services you provide the -learning material on this blog/site the videos you post youtube for the whole world to watch on Youtube I admire people that help for the sake of helping, not standing ovations or a certain capital, I hope that God continues to pour an overflow of blessing upon you and your family, I've worked for Talk-Talk a UK based homephone and broadband service provider I've also done sales outbound, I recently resigned due to the low income structure I figured I make in a month what some traders make in a few hours, did some research came across your videos online which directed me to your blog it's very informative however I believe I still rusty, very rusty in terms of execution, anyway thank you and thank you godbless Mr Woods

  4. Niyasa Arora comment display photo
    Niyasa Arora
    Great post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about forex trading , But I have read about the trading and forex indicators related issues. I also need some commands and downloadable related issues for the same.

  5. Per comment display photo
    Per
    Hi Dale,Thank you very much for this very useful information. By saving one clean chart with my favorite colors and settings as "default.tpl", all new charts load with my favorite colors and settings. It is so much nicer to look att Green Bull and Red Bear candels on white backgrund, than the black and fosfor green very ugly MT4 default charts.Great information.

  6. Festus, Nigeria comment display photo
    Festus, Nigeria
    thanks for the forex information in your blog i hope to reach 30% of knowledge in forex with the help of your information.. i have being trading forex as a retailer but the result....you know!!!so i hope and see that am in right place to improved my forex understanding and trading Profitably..Best Regards

  7. DEREK CAMPBELL comment display photo
    DEREK CAMPBELL
    Nicely done. Made it simple. I would suggest that you correct the typo above, where you say File, Open Date Folder. The mistype. Should say "Data" Folder. And, could confuse a new person in MT4. Well done though. I'll continue to click on www.theforexguy.com when I have questions about MT4 or other forex issues. Thank you.
    1. Dale Woods comment display photo
      Dale Woods
      Thanks for pointing that out :)

  8. Roy Peters comment display photo
    Roy Peters
    Could do an article on trading robots please?

  9. Abdallah comment display photo
    Abdallah
    Great Sharing Mr. Woods, I have a question pls, can I use mt5 template on mt4 platform? I am loading the file in mt4 and it is not working. Any idea? Thanks

  10. Shawn comment display photo
    Shawn
    Very helpful article! Yes I felt like I was in the Matrix that just kept restarting! Nice work mane!
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