Do you need to add a trailing stop loss to your orders as a MetaTrader 4 user? If so, you’re in luck! In this article, I’m going to show you two easy ways to add an MT4 trailing stop.
A trailing stop loss is an essential part of many trading systems. It can help protect you from unnecessary losses, and it can help you capture big moves in price when the market is volatile.
Using a trailing stop loss doesn’t work for every trading technique. It tends to work better with scalping techniques, but many traders prefer to add a trailing stop where they would normally take profits.
How to Use the Built-In MT4 Trailing Stop Loss
The first technique is to use the built-in MT4 trailing stop feature. To do this, simply right-click on the order that you want to add a trailing stop loss to, in the “Terminal” window (Ctrl+T). Navigate to “Trailing Stop”. Select your desired amount of trailing stop points from the preset menu, or select “Custom” to enter a custom number.
Note: Each point is worth 1/10th of a pip, so in order to add a 10 pip trailing stop to your order, you would need to enter a custom value of 100 points.
Using the built-in MT4 trailing stop, when price moves in your favor by the amount of pips that you set, your stop loss is basically moved to break even. From there, when price moves in your favor, your stop loss moves by the same amount.
Example: You set a custom trailing stop value of 200 points, giving you a 20 pip trailing stop. If price moves in your favor by 20 pips, your stop loss will moved to break even.
If no new points are gained, your stop loss will not move. If price continues to move in your favor, your stop loss will continue to trail behind price by 20 pips.
If price eventually moves 400 points (40 pips) in your favor, your stop loss would be at +20 pips (40 total pips in your favor, minus your 20 pip trailing stop).
When using this method, you cannot move your stop loss to true break even, because you can’t lock in a set amount of pips (say 2 or 3) to cover your trading costs. It’s also important to note that the built-in MT4 trailing stop relies on your trading platform being open. It’s not handled by your broker’s server like a regular stop loss.
Add a Trailing Stop Loss to MetaTrader 4 with an EA
EAs are a slightly better way to add an MT4 trailing stop loss, in my opinion. There are many different trade management Expert Advisors (EAs) that can handle trailing stops and more for you. The one I’ve chosen to upload here is relatively simple, compared to other trade management EAs, but simple can be good.
The EA that I’ve uploaded adds a simple trailing stop feature, with a few more options than the built-in MT4 trailing stop. There is also a feature to move your stop loss to break even while locking in a set amount of pips (which can be useful for covering your spread cost and/or commission).
In order to use any EA that adjusts your trading levels, you have to allow automated trading. For this EA to work, and most others, you also need to allow DLL imports. Your MetaTrader 4 platform should be set this way by default.
To check your settings go to your “Options” (Ctrl+O or Tools > Options). Under the “Expert Advisors” tab, make sure “Allow automated trading” and “Allow DLL imports” are checked (see the image above).
Note: You can also allow these settings under the “Common” tab of the EA, but setting them through the EA has to be done each time the EA is applied to a chart.
How to Use the FPA=TrailingStop EA
Function: Set this to the number of pips you require the market to move in your favor before your break even is triggered. Set this to 0 or a negative number to deactivate the break even function.
Function: This is where your actual break-even level will go. The default value of 1 means, when/if your break even is triggered, your stop loss will move to your entry level +1 pip (useful for moving to true break even).
Function: This is the amount of pips you want as a trailing stop loss. If “Trail_before_break_even” (below) is set to “false”, this function will not be activated until your break even trigger is hit.
Function: When set to “true”, your trailing stop will begin trailing price right away. When set to “false”, your break even value must be triggered before this function is activated. If you disabled the break even feature (by setting Break_Even_Trigger_in_Pips to 0 or a negative number), you can manually activate this function by moving your stop loss to break even or better.
Function: Set to “true” if you want all of your trades to be managed by applying this EA to only one chart. You would only use this feature if none of the values above need to be changed from trade to trade.
- Download and extract the FPA=TrailingStop EA.
- Move it to your “Experts” folder (MetaTrader 4 > MQL4 > Experts).
- Start or restart MT4.
- Open your “Navigtor” window, if it’s not already open (Ctrl+N).
- Drag the FPA=TrailingStop EA onto your chart.
- Adjust your desired settings and hit the “OK” button.
There are other free trade management EAs available, but I like this simple solution for adding a trailing stop loss in MetaTrader 4. If your trading system requires a simple trailing stop, and the built-in MT4 trailing stop can’t get the job done, the FPA=TrailingStop EA might be just what you’re looking for. Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below.