Back testing in MetaTrader 4 with real tick data

Since I stumbled upon this several times I thought I just give you a very brief explanation about how to back test in MetaTrader 4, without investing to much time or even money into complicated tools.
All in all, the MT4 history center is “ok” when back testing a position or swing trading Expert Advisor. However, if it comes to scalping, you might struggle with your EA since even the smallest differences could have a large impact.
Since MT4 only access the minute bar data and thus does not use real tick data, your are back testing with an interpolation of tick data, but no real data. As you can see, EA with which are aiming for larger take profits are not as effected as scalping robots. As you would loose or win a few pips here and there which are not “correct” your strategies based on lower time frames would by misleading.

Since we want to be able to also test scalping Expert Advisors we are using real tick data and a free tool to grant MT4 the power it deserves.

The extra mile – How to get 99% modelling quality when back testing your EA

To get a 99% modelling quality we need two things. Solid real tick data and a tool which tells MT4 to use the tick data. The good news is, that our tool of choice – tickstory lite – also provides us access to tick data via Dukascopy. (Otherwise you could also download tick data manually via JForex for example).
  • So first thing is to download and install tickstory lite.
  • Then set up your current MT4 installation in the File->Settings menu.
    Choose your MT4 installation where you want to back test with real tick data
  • Then make sure to use “export to MT4” as an action, not download since otherwise you need to redo the whole process again.(This downloads the .FXT files for the time frames you want to test on into …/tester/history/.)
    Choose “Export to MT4…”
  • Afterwards choose “Launch MT4” to make sure, your downloaded .FXT files are not overwritten by MT4. 
    Launching MT4 via tickstory to avoid overwriting your .FXT files
  • Have fun testing with your modelling quality of 99,90%.
    Back testing with MetaTrader 4 and real tick data
Happy back testing!
PS: Next time we will have a look at this strange “DayBreak” expert advisor ;)

4 thoughts on “Back testing in MetaTrader 4 with real tick data

  1. I stumbled across your article thanks to google when trying to sort a problem. Works brilliantly and my first backtest gave a 99.9% modelling quality. More importantly, I can see exactly where price was moving, rather than MT4′s “interpretation”. Many thanks for this! David.

  2. Hi David,

    Just a quick question, is it possible for the broker to edit or delete tick data without a trace?

    Kind regards
    Martin

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