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Using Metatrader data with Forex Simulator

Although MT4 historical data usually offers lower quality than Dukascopy and TrueFX data, it may still be beneficial to use it in some cases, such as:

This short guide describes how to import data from Metatrader 4 and use it in your simulations. It also lists all limitations of using MT4 data.

How to import data

Step 1: Download data in MT4

In order to download as much historical data from your broker as possible please follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Tools -> Options -> Charts and set Max bars in history and Max bars in chart to a very large number, such as 1000000.
  2. Restart Metatrader.

  3. Open a chart of the instrument and timeframe you are going to use.

  4. Disable Auto Scroll and scroll the chart into the past as far as you can. You can do it using the Home key or with your mouse. Do it as long as new bars appear. Scrolling the chart back will force MT4 to download all available historical data.
    Disabling autoscroll
  5. Restart Metatrader to force it to write all downloaded data to its HST files.

You may be tempted to go to Tools -> History Center and simply click the Download button. However, it may not be a good idea. This button will download price data from Metaquotes servers, not from the server of your broker! It may lead to having mixed data and other problems. In general, using this button should be avoided, unless you know what you are doing.

Step 2: Start new simulation

  1. Start Forex Simulator and choose New Simulation. In the Provider box select Metatrader.
    New Simulation
  2. Then, you just need to select the instrument and timeframe from the list. If the required instrument or timeframe is not on the list, please refer to the previous section (Download data in MT4).

  3. Adjust all other simulation settings and click Start.

Step 3: Tick generation

When you click Start the tick generation window will appear. Since Forex Simulator works only with tick data, it needs to prepare tick data files before it can start the simulation.

Please remember that MT4 does not offer any tick data, only OHLC data. For example, when you choose to import M1 data, you will actually have only 4 real prices for each 1-minute candle (open, high, low and close). If candle's volume exceeds 4, the simulator can generate all remaining ticks and price movements inside this candle in random way to preserve the original volume.

You can choose if you want it or not by selecting one of two modes:

Tick generation

The simulation will usually be faster when using OHLC mode, but volumes displayed on charts will not be real. Some indicators, which are based on volumes, may fail because of that.

All Ticks mode may be slower, but offers real volumes. However, please remember that most ticks inside candles are just random, so you should not rely on any intra-bar movements.

Limitations of using MT4 data in simulations

No tick data

MT4 does not offer any tick-by-tick data, only OHLC data. Imported data contains only 4 real prices per candle: open, high, low and close. The most precise timeframe that is available is M1, which gives you 4 real prices per minute. However, it usually covers a very short range of time. Higher timeframes cover wider range of time, but they are less precise.

Renko, range, tick and second charts are disabled

Price action charts are turned off, because there is too little information about the real price action. Ticks inside each candle are generated in random way. Displaying charts based on random movement would be misleading for users.

Creating custom timeframes is limited to multiples of imported base timeframe

For example, if you import M15 data, you will be able to create charts such as M15, M30, M45, H1, ... , but not M5, M20 or M40.

Changing time zone is not possible

In case of Dukascopy and TrueFX data you can choose between GMT and New York Close charts. There is no such possibility in case of Metatrader data. The only available time zone is the time zone used by your broker.

Only fixed spread

Since Metatrader does not store any information about historical spreads, only one fixed value of spread will be used during the whole simulation.

Economic calendar is disabled

The reason for such limitation is that the simulator does not know the time zone used by your broker in the past. Moreover, it has no idea if and when your broker operated on Daylight Saving Time (DST). Therefore, it is impossible to correctly match economic events with charts.