Meta traders around the world rely on MT5 indicators to analyze the markets and identify potential trading opportunities. As one of the most popular trading platforms, MetaTrader 5 offers a vast selection of built-in and custom indicators. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about finding, installing, and using MT5 indicators to improve your forex trading.

What Are MT5 Indicators and How Do They Work?

MT5 indicators are mathematical calculation tools displayed visually on your charts to help you recognize patterns and trends. By processing price, volume and time data, indicators generate visual signals and trade suggestions.

Indicators come in many different types and may be shown as lines, bars, histograms or other overlays on top of your price chart. Some simply reflect basic data like moving averages while others incorporate complex formulas to uncover hidden behaviors.

Regardless of the calculation method, MT5 indicators ultimately serve to condense complex market data into simple visuals. This allows you to quickly interpret the market and identify potential opportunities. The key is finding indicators that complement your trading style and market perspective.

Reasons to Use MT5 Indicators

MT5 indicators provide numerous benefits for forex traders:

  • Remove Noise: Indicators help filter out random price fluctuations to reveal actual trends and cycles. Looking directly at candlesticks often hides the bigger picture which indicators expose.
  • Spot Trends: Certain indicators specifically help identify trends and reversals so you can trade in the main market direction. They make it easier to see momentum.
  • Find Entry Points: Indicators reveal when recent price action reflects a high probability setup. This helps you time trade entries right as momentum shifts.
  • Confirm Trades: Combining indicators creates a type of checklist to ensure multiple factors align for a high probability trade. This improves accuracy.
  • Automate Trading: Many indicators can be used to program automated trading algorithms and Expert Advisors for hands-free analysis.
  • Simplify Analysis: Indicators condense all the complexities of the market into straightforward visuals and trade signals anyone can quickly interpret.
  • Remain Objective: Indicators remove human emotion and discretion from trading by providing mechanically generated analysis and prompts.

Overall, indicators make technical analysis more efficient and effective. They save you time while potentially improving trading outcomes.

Types of MT5 Indicators

forex trader watching the markets

MT5 supports hundreds of indicators spanning across numerous categories based on their intended usage and trade signals provided. The main types include:

Trend Indicators

These attempt to determine the overall market direction and strength of the trend by smoothing out price data.

  • Moving Averages – Calculates average price over a set period and displays as a line. Crossovers signal changes in trend.
  • Parabolic SAR – Places dots above or below price to identify potential stops and reversals.
  • Average Directional Index (ADX) – Quantifies trend strength on a scale of 1-100. Higher readings indicate stronger trend.

Momentum Indicators

These assess the rate of change in prices to detect shifts in momentum precede big price swings.

  • Relative Strength Index (RSI) – Compares the magnitude of recent gains versus losses in price to spot momentum shifts.
  • Stochastic Oscillator – Compares closing price to high/low range over period to signal overbought/oversold levels.
  • MACD – Subtracts a longer moving average from shorter one to expose accelerating momentum.

Volume Indicators

These track trading volume alongside price action to confirm price movements and spot reversals.

  • On-Balance Volume (OBV) – Sums volume on up days and subtracts it on down days to create cumulative line that shows money flow.
  • Chaikin Money Flow – Multiplies volume by price spread over set period. Positive values indicate buying pressure.
  • Accumulation/Distribution – Tracks volume x price to signal potential support and resistance levels.

Volatility Indicators

These calculate volatility to determine price fluctuations expected in the future which impacts trade sizing and timing.

  • Average True Range (ATR) – Shows average daily price range over set period. Higher readings signal greater volatility.
  • Bollinger Bands – Plots channels above and below moving average based on standard deviation to show relative volatility and overextension.


These generate overbought/oversold signals useful for spotting extreme points where price is likely to reverse.

  • Stochastic RSI – Applies stochastic oscillator formula to RSI values instead of price to uncover deeper oversold/overbought levels.
  • Williams %R – Draws scale from -100 to 0 to track situations where price reaches extreme highs or lows.
  • Ultimate Oscillator – Weighs momentum across several periods to minimize false signals. Low readings show oversold.

This covers some of the main types, but hundreds more indicators exist. It’s worth experimenting with various options to find your favorites. Many traders use 2-3 indicators together to confirm trading signals.

Obtaining MT5 Indicators

MetaTrader 5 comes packaged with 30+ built-in indicators that are ready to apply. However, you can further enhance your trading toolbox with downloadable custom indicators created by others. Here are some sources to find them:

  • MetaTrader Market – MT5’s official marketplace has thousands of free and paid custom indicators you can sort through. Ensure any paid ones come with permanent license.
  • Forex Forums – Check forums like ForexFactory where members share and discuss indicators. Always use established sources.
  • Code Repositories – GitHub and similar code repositories allow developers to share open source indicators you can download and use freely.
  • Forex Websites – Many top forex sites and brokers publish custom indicators created by their experts for clients to use. These are typically free.
  • Freelancers – Hire a freelance programmer on Upwork or Fiverr to code a custom indicator based on your specifications.

The key is thoroughly backtesting any new indicator before relying on it with real capital to ensure effectiveness for your strategy. Also check reviews and programmer reputation.

Adding MT5 Indicators to Charts

Once you obtain a new MT5 indicator, adding it your charts takes just a few clicks:

  1. Locate and download the .EX5 indicator file usually in a ZIP folder.
  2. Extract and copy the .EX5 file to the MQL5 > Indicators folder where MT5 is installed on your computer.
  3. Restart your MT5 platform if open to refresh the indicators list.
  4. Open a chart for the symbol you want to apply the indicator to. Make sure tools is enabled.
  5. In the Navigator panel on the left, expand the Indicators section and locate your newly added indicator.
  6. Drag the indicator directly onto the price chart. This will display it as an overlay.
  7. Double click the indicator name under the chart to open settings and customize parameters like colors, style, and period.
  8. Click the checkbox to the left of the indicator name to quickly enable or disable it on the chart.

Repeat this process to add multiple indicators to your charts until you have your ideal mix displaying for analysis. Feel free to delete any that end up being less useful over time.

Using MT5 Indicators to Find Trade Setups

Indicators are most effective when used proactively to find high probability trade setups. Here are some examples of using common indicators in ways that offer favorable risk vs reward:

Moving Average Crossover

When a shorter moving average crosses above a longer moving average, it signals upward momentum so look to buy. Exit longs when the averages cross the other way.

MACD Histogram

Go long when the MACD line crosses above zero and histogram bars turn positive. Close trades when MACD crosses back below its signal line indicating momentum loss.

Stochastic Oversold

Look forStochastic dropping below 20 line reflecting oversold conditions. This suggests an upcoming reversal so buy in anticipation. Close longs when Stochastic rises back above 80.

RSI Divergence

With RSI, look for divergence between price hitting new highs while RSI is lower signaling weakening momentum. Go short on break below last swing low. Close short on RSI breakout.

Bollinger Squeeze

When Bollinger Band width narrows substantially, it indicates decreasing volatility that will lead to significant price breakout. Prepare trade in direction of overall trend when bands widen again.

These demonstrate just some of the many ways to turn signals from your indicators into actionable trades with clear entry and exit rules defined.

Optimizing Indicators for Maximum Performance

Indicators work best when optimized for your specific markets, timeframes, and trading style. Consider these tips:

  • Experiment with different periods to match indicator to market characteristics. Start with popular default settings then adjust.
  • Use longer periods for trends and shorter periods for timing entries and exits. 21, 50, 100 are common trend periods. 5, 9, 13 work for entries.
  • Combine indicators that complement each other and confirm the signals rather than conflict. Use a trend and momentum indicator together for example.
  • Use visual backtesting to reject indicators that fail or lead to losses. Only keep those that align with market mechanics.
  • Be consistent applying the same indicators to develop experience rather than jumping between different ones often.
  • Avoid cluttering your charts. Stick to 1-3 indicators maximum to avoid analysis paralysis.

Optimizing indicators requires practice analyzing their performance in different scenarios. Pay attention to when they work well and when they fail. This will inform the best settings and pairs for each one.

Expert Advisors and Automated Trading

One powerful use for MT5 indicators is powering automated trading systems and Expert Advisors. By programming the indicator logic into an EA, you can generate automatic signals and execute the trades for you.

For example, combine a moving average crossover with RSI to create rules like:

  • Enter long when 5 EMA crosses above 200 EMA and RSI < 30
  • Close long trade when 5 EMA crosses below 200 EMA or RSI > 70

Your EA would scan for this setup then place and manage the trades according to the indicator rules 24/7 completely automatically!

You need some programming knowledge to code MT5 EAs. However, many indicator and EA developers sell their systems with easy to use interfaces. You simply install, input settings like trade size and risk, then launch the EA to trade the algorithms.

Automated trading systems enable consistent application of your indicators and remove emotions from trading. Just be sure to extensively backtest EAs in a demo first.

Key Takeaways on MT5 Indicators

Indicators provide invaluable graphical tools for analyzing market conditions and spotting high probability trading setups. The variety of MT5 indicators span all the major categories like trend, momentum, volatility, volume, and oscillators.

Obtain indicators from built-in sources, downloads, and custom programming. Combine 2-3 maximum onto your charts. Then apply the signals to define trades with clear entry, exit and stop loss rules.

Make sure to optimize each indicator for your market and timeframes. Automated trading allows hands-free implementation of indicator signals when programmed into Expert Advisors.

Employing MT5 indicators can take your trading to the next level. Just remember: indicators help guide your analysis but should not be relied on blindly. Always use prudent risk management practices.

Now that you know the ins and outs of applying indicators successfully, you are set to boost your technical trading on the MT5 platform!