How to Download and Use the Best Candle Timer Indicator for MT4
Reading time: 10 minutes
This article will show you how to download one of the best candle timer indicators available to professional traders for Metatrader 4. We'll also take a look at how such a candle indicator might be used in conjunction with a short-term FX candle trading strategy.
Why is Timing Important In Forex Trading?
There is an old adage which says that in comedy, timing is everything. There are many short-term investors that would argue the same holds just as true for trading. If you're a long-term trader, the precise timing of when you enter a trade—while still important—isn't totally vital. When you start to shorten up your trading time frame though, the exactness of your timing starts to play an increasingly crucial part.
Consider a long-term trend follower. They might only need to look at their charts once a day, to check whether the latest daily bar is signalling to enter a trade or not. An hour lost here or there makes little difference to their profit, in the context of the weeks or months that they might hold a trade.
In comparison, the short-term trader needs to be aware of what is happening much more frequently than this. For the short-term trader, the clock is always ticking. Being ready for when the next candle on their chart appears, means being ready for a potential trading signal. That can mean the difference for a scalper between a profit and a loss. But how can you tell from a mere glance when a new candle will appear?
Well, this is where candle timer indicators come into play. A candle timer indicator counts down how much time remains in the current candle of your chart. Candle timers display exactly how many minutes and seconds remain before the current candle closes, and a new one opens. This allows you to be on the ball as soon as the next candle appears.
How to Download a Candle Timer Indicator for MT4
There is no candle timer indicator in MetaTrader 4 (MT4) that comes as part of the standard package of tools and indicators. This means you'll have to find a custom indicator to download, if you want to use a candle countdown timer. As is usually the case when it comes to custom indicators, there's a fair amount of choice out there. A quick online search will show you that there's a number of 'Candle Countdown' indicators available, and most will do exactly what they claim to do.
The main variation you will find is in how much flexibility they afford you in terms of configuring variables. Some are much better than others in this area. For instance, the Admiral Candle Countdown indicator offers a high degree of flexibility in this area. Luckily, it also comes as part of a larger package of tools and indicators included free with Admiral Markets' MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition plugin.
A lot of custom indicators are put together by enthusiasts, but the extensions available with the MetaTrader 4 Special Edition plugin are all coded by professionals. The 15-minute EUR/USD chart (featured below) demonstrates the default style offered with the Admiral Candle Countdown indicator:
Source: MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition - EURUSD 15 Minute Chart - An example of the Admiral Candle Countdown Indicator
The countdown appears in white text in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, right next to an hourglass icon. You can very easily configure the location, the size, and the colour of the indicator, to suit your preferences, along with several other variables. When you first launch the indicator, you can see the list of configurable attributes by selecting the inputs tab. Double-click on a listed input to change its value.
Source: MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition - Custom Indicator - Admiral Candle Countdown
With the options available, you can position the MT4 candle timer just about anywhere you want on your chart. As you can see from the screenshot above, there are five main choices: any of the four corners, or in line with the price. You can also fine tune these positions by entering values for X and Y coordinates.
In the screenshot, the trader has selected the countdown timer to appear in line with the price. For this to work, you need to ensure that you have activated 'Chart Shift', which pushes the chart to the left. To do this, select the 'Charts' tab at the top of your MetaTrader 4 terminal, and then click on 'Chart Shift' within the dropdown menu.
The Admiral Candle Countdown indicator allows you to modify the timeframe to a value that differs from the chart you are using. Let's say, for example, that you were mainly looking at a 15-minute chart, but you were also keeping tabs on the larger trend with an hourly chart in the background. You could set the candle countdown timeframe on your M15 chart from the default value of current chart to 'H1'. This would allow you to keep an eye on when the hourly chart is next going to update, without having to keep tabbing back and forth.
Perhaps most handily of all, you can set an alert. This will notify you a certain number of seconds before the new candle appears. The default number of seconds is set to zero, but this value can be set to whatever you desire. Most indicators work better when backed up with another. This is even more true for the candlestick timer indicator.
You will likely find a candle timer to be of limited use in isolation. Where it comes into its own is as a way of sharpening up your usage of other indicators. Your MT4 candlestick timer indicator therefore, is best used with at least one—and probably two—other distinct indicators.
The kind of scenario where it is particularly useful, is where an indicator shows a certain condition that indicates that the next candle could be your signal to trade. The candle timer will then keep you prepped for the appearance of the next crucial candle that may, or may not be a signal to trade. Let's take a look at a simple example to illustrate this:
Trading Example Using MT4 Candle Time
We mentioned previously that a countdown timer is useful for circumstances in which you suspect that the next candle might prove crucial. As an example, let's look at using the Bollinger Band squeeze as the main indicator.
What are Bollinger Bands?
Bollinger Bands are a form of volatility channel invented by John Bollinger. They plot lines a certain number of standard deviations above and below a simple moving average. As volatility increases, Bollinger bands widen. As volatility falls, the bands narrow. The crux of the Bollinger band squeeze is that the price often breaks out after volatility falls.
When the bands narrow significantly on the chart, we are then looking for the next candle to break out above or below the bands. This is our signal for direction. So at these times of low volatility, we want to pay particular attention to the next candle. Knowing exactly when it is going to appear is useful, and this is where the candle timer comes in.
Take a look at the hourly EUR/USD chart below:
Source: MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition - EUR/USD Hourly Chart - Data Range: 5 Dec, 2016 - 7 Dec, 2016 - Please Note: Past performance does not indicate future results, nor is it a reliable indicator of future performance.
Can you see how on the far right of the screen the bands have narrowed tightly in comparison to the rest of the chart? The volatility of the market has fallen considerably. In such a circumstance, we'd want to keep a close eye on the next candle, to look for a breakout signal.
In addition to the Bollinger bands, the Admiral Candle Countdown indicator has also been applied. You can see it on the top right-hand side of the screen in the graph above. To be even more sure of your readiness for the next candle, you could set an alert to notify yourself when the count is close to zero.
Here's how the chart continued:
Source: MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition - EURUSD Hourly Chart - Data Range: 5 Dec, 2016 - 8 Dec, 2016 - Please Note: Past performance does not indicate future results, nor is it a reliable indicator of future performance.
The next candle after the squeeze broke above the upper channel, which would be a bullish signal—and the market did indeed continue upward, along with an increase in volatility. So this demonstrates how to use the Bollinger bands as your primary indicator—and the candlestick countdown as an aid to being prepared for a signal.
In practice, you would probably also want to use yet another indicator to help confirm the direction of the market, in the case of a breakout. So what's going to be your best way to work out which indicators work in effective combinations with each other?
The answer is to try them out for yourself within a risk-free trading environment. This is made easy through a demo trading account. It allows you to use real indicators with real live prices, but without putting your capital at risk. It's a great way to establish which trading styles and trading strategies work for you, and which ones do not.
Candle Countdown Indicator: Wrapping It All Up
The Candle Countdown indicator is a simple custom indicator, which is easy to use and understand, in comparison with any other charting tool you may find. What it does is not earth-shattering, but it does satisfy a simple need for many short-term traders. Namely, knowing right down to the nearest second when exactly the next candle is going to appear. This is a nice little benefit for anyone who needs to be completely in synch with their charts—and it can help enhance your usage of other indicators when you are waiting for a signal.
This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.