Placing Pending Orders on MT4 Platform

In the two previous examples (opening and closing a position and using "stop loss" and "take profit" orders with an existing position) we used the MT4 platform to open a EURUSD position at the actual market price. This type of order is known as a "Market Order." Often times, forex traders don't want to open a position at the current market price. Instead, they want the price to reach a different level before they enter the market. Consequently, they need a different type of order to do this. These types of orders are called "Pending Orders" on MetaTrader 4.

MT4 pending orders are orders to execute a trade at a price that's different than the current market price. When the price of a currency reaches the specified Price, the pending order is activated and executed.

There are four type of pending orders on the platform.


Pending Order Types

  • Buy Limit – order to buy at a price ("limit price") that's lower or better than the current market price. The Buy Limit order is executed if the Ask Price (which represents the price that liquidity providers are willing to buy – "Demand") on the platform drops to a level that's equal to or lower than the specified buy limit price. The "Ask Price" is designated as "Ask" on the "Market Watch" window – the same window shown in Step 1 of the section on how to execute a trade; Step 2 of this same section shows the Ask price as 1.3580 for EURUSD (the price above the blue "Buy" button on the MT4 order entry window);
  • Sell Limit – order to sell at a price ("limit price") that's higher or better than the current market price. The Sell Limit order is executed if the Bid Price (which represents the price that liquidity providers are willing to sell – "supply") on the platform rises to a level that's equal to or higher than the specified sell limit price. The "Bid Price" is designated as "Bid" on the "Market Watch" window – the same window shown in Step 1 of the section on how to execute a Forex trade; Step 2 of this same section shows the Bid price as 1.3578 for EURUSD (the price above the red "Sell" button on the MT4 order entry window);
  • Buy Stop – order to buy a currency at a price ("stop price") that's higher than the current market price. The Buy Stop order is executed once the Ask price is equal to or greater than the specified "Stop" price;
  • Sell Stop – order to sell a currency at a price ("stop price") that's lower than the current market price. The Sell Stop order is executed once the Bid price is equal to or lower than the specified "Stop" price;

mt4 pending orders - buy limit, sell limit, buy stop, sell stop Visual definition of pending orders on a price chart

How to Place a Pending Order on the Metatrader Platform. In this example, we assume that we want to open a position on GBPUSD (British Pound – US Dollar) by selling when the exchange rate or price reaches 1.4398; in other words, we think that the price of the Pound versus the Dollar could drop once the price reaches 1.4398. Sometimes, this strategy is used to enter the market near a level of resistance or support, where the probability for a price decrease or increase goes up respectively. In this example, the GBPUSD currency pair has a level of resistance near 1.4400. Normally, this would mean that the price has a higher probability of going down instead of up near that level (the topics of support and resistance will be covered during our free  training sessions).

To the GBPUSD chart below, we added a horizontal yellow line to indicate the desired sell limit price (1.4398) for the pending order. A sell order at a higher price than the current market price is a "Sell Limit" order (see the definition of the Sell Limit order above).

pound usd chart on the mt4 platform with the desired sell limit price shown by a horizonal yellow line Pound Dollar (GBPUSD) chart on MetaTrader Platform with yellow horizontal line indicating the desired sell limit price (1.4398)

To place the sell limit order at 1.4398, simply double click on the GBPUSD symbol in the "Market Watch" window. The order entry window below then appears (Screenshot 1). Click on the order "Type" drop down box and select "Pending Order" from the list of options. The order window then changes to include the "Pending Order" section (Screenshot 2 below).

Under the "Pending Order" section, click on "Type" and select "Sell Limit" from the list of choices. Key in 1.4398 in the "at price" box and press the red "Place" button. The order entry window is then updated to indicate that the sell limit order was accepted (see Screenshot 3 below). When you press "OK," the pending order appears in the "Trade" tab section of MT4 (Screenshot 4 below).

mt4 order entry window for pound-usd Screenshot 1: Order Entry Window on MT4 for GBPUSD


setting a sell limit pending order on mt4 Screenshot 2: Order Entry Window – Selecting a "Sell Limit" Pending Order


pending order to sell GBPUSD at a limit price of 1.4398 was accepted on the metatrader platform Screenshot 3: Confirmation that Pending Order to Sell GBPUSD at a limit of 1.4398 was accepted


pending order on mt4 trade tab Screenshot 4: Pending Order shown as active in MT4's "Trade" tab section