When to Turn Off ‘Live’
Live Is Normally On
If you have connected your Advanced Calculator with an MT4 platform, you are able to get live price feeds from that broker. The prices update whenever the market is open and prices are moving – as long as the LIVE checkbox is checked ☑️. Notice Live is shown here in the second column, next to the currency pair name.
If you de-select the Live checkbox, the prices will NOT come in from your MT4, even if you have connected the MT4 to your Calculator.
Enter Your Own Prices
You can enter whatever prices you want for the Bid and Ask. Click anywhere in the row for that currency pair (other than where the checkboxes are) and a dialog box comes up that you can fill in.
After you make your changes, click the Close button, then look at the new spread which has been calculated from these prices and make sure it looks right, just as a quick error-check for yourself.
Notice when you click on the row, the Live button is deselected for you. If you change your mind remember to click it back on.
Testing Historical Prices
One reason you may want to turn OFF live price feeds is if you are backtesting. Historical prices were probably different than they are now, and so most of the pip values will be different as well (with the exception of the EURUSD, GBPUSD, AUDUSD and NZDUSD, which have constant pip values). And different pip values means that your recommended position sizes may be very different than they would be for the same trade today.
In addition to getting your position sizes right, matching your prices to historical prices in your backtesting is good if you like using the error-checking feature that the Calculator offers on the Setup tab: “Keep input prices and current prices within x pips”. This is designed to help catch typos you may make as you set up your trades.
Spreads are Different
If you use the Calculator to help you deal with bid and ask by using the stop you see feature, then you will want to have your spreads fairly accurate. If you do not use this feature then it does not matter at all what the spreads are, as far as the all-important question of determine position sizes.
Here are the 4 things that go into determining position size:
a) what’s your current equity (Setup tab)
b) what’s your risk profile (Setup tab)
c) what is the pip value of the currency you are trading (Currency Rates tab)
d) what is the stop – how many pips or what price relative to your entry.
Put all those things into the blender, and only then can the Calculator pour out the correct position size for you. The formula for position size is (potential maximum loss this trade)/(Stop loss * pip value).
Notice that spread is not one of the four components listed above that are directly put into the blender.
If you are trading on a different brokerage platform than the MT4 you have connected to the Calculator and the spreads are significantly different, you may want to take a currency pair off live and manually input its approximate price now, to get a closer match to your actual spread.
If this is your goal, you don’t have to keep changing the prices moment by moment in your Calculator – just get the prices adjusted so your spread is right; then your position sizing will be accurate.
Minimizing the Use of MT4
You are not required to use MT4 with the Calculator. You can ignore the live price connection and manually enter your own price spreads.
We have a short video we suggest you watch to understand how the live feed works within the Calculator, so you can then decide whether or not you need/ want those features.
Movie: Using the Calculator without connecting to MT4 for live prices* (8:54)
If you want to enjoy the benefits of the live price feed, you can download a free MT4 demo platform, and just let it work quietly in the background to supply live price info.
You cannot leave the prices blank though, for the pairs you want to trade, as the prices are used to generate pip values, which is all-important to calculating correct lot sizes for you.
If you want to keep you PC memory use to a minimum, or not tax your bandwidth too much, here’s another idea:
You could begin your trading day in this way:
1) open an MT4 platform with ‘DDE enabled’ clicked on;
2) open your Calculator, make sure all rates are set to LIVE and let it read in today’s current values;
3) close the MT4 platform and carry on.
The Calculator will give you a red status message that MT4 is not open, but don’t worry. The all-important pip values will be up to date for today at least.
If there are any spread values that are then significantly off for what you want to use on your other platform, just deselect ‘live’ next to those pairs on the rates tab, and manually adjust the spread. Remember, spreads are not the most-critical component of your good money