Introduction to cTrader
An alternative trading platform well worth considering
Metatrader is the world’s most widely used FX and CFD trading platform, but it is not the only solution available to traders. Here at Pepperstone, we offer our customers access to an alternative - cTrader.
cTrader is a platform that is intuitive to navigate, attractive to look at and easy to use and deploy. The platform was, in the words of the developers, "designed by traders for traders", and I think that it's fair to say that this quickly becomes apparent as you familiarise with the platform.
cTrader can be used with Pepperstone’s standard and Razor accounts and in both Live and Demo environments so if you haven't had a look at it yet, now’s the time to give it a try.
What makes cTrader different?
Firstly, its appearance is completely different from Metatrader. For example, looking at the screenshot below, it has a much softer interface than Metatrader. This might sound like a minor distinction when comparing trading platforms until you consider how long you might be looking at the display during the trading day or week.
cTrader uses a series of icons allowing users to adjust or customise the layout. For example, to switch between a single and multi-chart view, simply click on the icon containing four squares. You can move back into the single chart view by clicking on the solid white square. Navigating around the platform is generally that straightforward.
When it comes to adding charts to the workspace, move the cursor over the instruments within the watch list (found on the left-hand side of the image above) then right-click and select 'Create a New Chart' from the menu that appears.
On my system, there were no issues with having ten charts open at one time, though it could look a little crowded on a single monitor. However, you can make the most of your screen real estate if you have a dual display or by utilising the chart pop-out functionality to monitor one or two charts while doing some other work.
2. Adding to Charts
cTrader's charting package is as intuitive to use as the rest of the platform. To modify or amend an existing plot, simply open a new chart or maximise an existing chart and right click on the menu that appears. We can select 'Indicators' and choose from a wide range of trend, volatility, volume and other indicators. To select an indicator just click on the item in the menu. In the example below, I have selected the Exponential Moving Average (EMA) from the list of trend indicators. We are now presented with the opportunity to configure that indicator. In this case, we can choose the number of periods over which the EMA will be calculated, and which price input will be used in that calculation. You can also determine the colour of the line to be drawn on the chart and the weight of that line.
It’s also possible to change the indicator from an EMA to any other trend indicators listed. Right-clicking on a chart also allows you to zoom in or out on a given chart or to change the chart type. For example, from candlestick to line chart or to amend the periodicity or time frame that the chart is drawn over, and to vary the instrument that we are looking at as well. Customised screen layouts can be saved and recalled as and when required.
3. Order Entry
Creating a new order can be facilitated from a chart or from a watch list item by simply right-clicking on either and selecting ‘Create a New Order’. Note that this will generate an order in that specific instrument. An example of an order ticket created in this way can be seen below. The default setting is to create a new market order, but users can modify the order by simply selecting one of the other order types from the list on the left-hand side of the ticket.
Other key items such as volume and price can also be adjusted at this point. Note that cTrader views order sizes in underlying notional value rather than in lots. In the example above, 1k signifies an order in 1/100th of a lot (a lot being equivalent to 100k in cTrader terms for this). As you amend your order size, cTrader helpfully shows you what the pip value of your trade will be and the margin that will be required to place that trade. You can also see more details about potential exposure, commission payable and available margin by hovering your mouse over the volume box. Once you have configured your trade, you can execute by selecting ‘Buy’ or ‘Sell’ and then ‘Place Order’.
4. Monitoring positions
Open positions and pending orders can be monitored easily on cTrader through a dedicated position display. In the example below, you can see that there are five open positions, four of which have modest profits and the fifth is a small loss, with one pending order outstanding.
We can also clearly see details of our current balance, free equity and margin requirement and more at the bottom of the table, with the information updating in real time. By clicking on the information icon (the italic i) on the left of each position, we can find detailed information about individual trades and instruments. The platform also records a daily journal of all activity conducted on it, which can be viewed and stored as an external text file on your computer.
We have barely scratched the surface of the cTrader experience in this article but there are a few more features worth mentioning. For instance, the ability to download a series of more complex precoded indicators by clicking on the three-bar icon in the top left-hand corner and selecting ‘links’. cTrader has its own coding language that allows for the creation and deployment of trading algorithms, the platform also provides users with an analysis of their trading performance. Clearly, a trade history is a prerequisite for this function to prove useful.
Clients can download and access cTrader in their secure client area or via this link. Installation is straightforward and you can be up and running on the platform in just a few minutes. With instructional videos and guides to help make the most of the platform, there’s never been a better time to try an alternative trading technology.