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Learn What Buy Stop and Buy Limit, Sell Stop and Sell Limit Pending Orders Are, and How MT4 Has Made It So Easy to Place These Pending Orders

Terms like buy stop and buy limit, sell stop and sell limit, look confusing when you want to place a pending order.

Sometimes you wonder why MetaTrader 4 or MT4 platform doesn’t accept your pending order requests when you choose one of these terms.

First, please let me explain what buy stop, buy limit, sell stop and sell limit mean and what is the difference between these options.

Then I will explain how to choose these options on MT4, and how this platform can easily prevent you from any confusion.

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What Is the Difference of Buy Stop and Buy Limit?

“Buy Stop” is a buy pending order above the market price.

For example, the EUR/USD current price is 1.0495.

And, you want to buy EUR/USD if the price goes higher and reaches 1.0515.

Therefore, you have to set a buy stop order at 1.0515.

If you place a buy pending order below the market price, that order is known as “Buy Limit”.

For example, EUR/USD current price is 1.0495.

And, you want to buy EUR/USD if the price goes lower and reaches 1.0480.

Therefore, you have to set a buy limit order at 1.0480.

– How to Set a Buy Stop and Buy Limit Order

You can press F9 and the order window will open. Then…

  1. In the “Type” field, change “Instant Execution” to “Pending Order”.
  2. In the second “Type” field which is placed below the first one, choose the type of pending order.
    If you want to buy when the price goes higher and reaches a higher level than where it currently is, then you have to choose “Buy Stop”.
    If you want to buy when the price goes lower and reaches a lower level than where it currently is, then you have to choose “Buy Limit”.
  3. You can choose the other parameters like volume (number of the lot size you want to take), stop loss and target orders.
    If you don’t set the stop loss and target levels, you can set them later after placing the pending order.
    But you will not be able to modify the volume.
    If you want to do it, you will have to delete the pending order and set a new one with the volume you want.
  4. Enter the pending order price in the “at price” field.
  5. You can click on the “Place” button when you are done, and so, the pending order will be placed.

Buy Stop MT4
Buy Limit MT4

– Invalid S/L or T/P

If you choose to place a “Buy Stop” order, but in the “at price” field you enter a price which is lower than the market current price, you will receive “Invalid S/L or T/P” error when you click on the “Place” button.

This error that is received because of choosing the wrong order type, has nothing to do with stop loss and target.

You will receive this error even when you set no stop loss and target.

When you see this error, you should know that you have made a mistake either in choosing the order type, or in entering the correct order price.

What Is the Difference of Sell Stop and Sell Limit?

Sell Limit is a sell pending order that you place above the market price.

For example, the EUR/USD current price is 1.0495.

And, you want to sell EUR/USD if the price goes higher and reaches 1.0515.

Therefore, you have to set a sell limit order at 1.0515.

If you place a sell pending order below the market price, that order is known as “Sell Stop”.

For example, EUR/USD’s current price is 1.0495.

And, you want to sell EUR/USD if the price goes lower and reaches 1.0480.

Therefore, you have to set a sell stop order at 1.0480.

– How to Set a Sell Stop and Sell Limit Order

It is the same as setting buy stop and buy limit.

You press F9 and… , exactly like the stages that were explained above.

The only difference is that you have to choose a Sell Limit order type if you want to sell when the price reaches a higher level.

Similarly, you have to choose a Sell Stop order type if you want to sell when the price reaches a lower level.

There is another difference which is the pending order price.

In case of Sell Limit, the price you enter has to be higher than the current market price.

In case of Sell Stop, the price has to be lower than the current market price.

If you enter the price wrongly, you will receive “Invalid S/L or T/P” error.

Sell Limit MT4
Sell Stop MT4

An Easier Solution

It is hard and confusing to remember the difference of limit and stop orders.

Sometimes you get the “Invalid S/L or T/P” error several times, before you figure out how to set the orders on the order window.

However, there is a much easier way to set the buy and sell stop and limit orders on MT4, without having to figure out which one to choose.

This is what you have to do:

On the price chart, right click where you want to place the order.

You can right click above the market current price, if you want to enter the market when the price goes higher.

You can right click below the market current price, if you want to enter the market when the price goes lower.

A menu will open after your right click.

Hover your mouse pointer on “Trading”, which is the second item on the menu.

A smaller menu will open:

If you right-clicked above the market price, then the smaller menu will have “Sell Limit” at the top and “Buy Stop” below it.

If you right-clicked below the market current price, then the smaller menu will have “Buy Limit” at the top and “Sell Stop” below it.

What Does It Mean?

If you want to enter the market when the price goes higher than where it is now, then you have to right click above the market current price on the chart.

Then, if you want to buy when the price reaches there, you have to click on “Buy Stop”.

If you want to sell when the price gets there, you have to click on “Sell Limit”.
pending order above the market price

Similarly, if you want to enter the market when the price goes lower than where it is now, then you have to right click below the market current price on the chart.

Then, if you want to buy when the price reaches there, you have to click on “Buy Limit”.

If you want to sell when the price gets there, you have to click on “Sell Stop”.
pending order below the market price

You will not have to enter the pending order price if you follow this method (right-clicking on the price chart).

Once you click, MT4 will place a pending order and a red dashed line will appear on the chart.

The pending order price will be the level you right-clicked on the chart.

However, you can drag the line to a higher or lower level to modify the pending order level.

You can also refer to the MetaTrader terminal (press Ctrl+T).

Then right click on the pending order record on the “Trade” tab.

Then click on “Modify or Delete Order”.

You will be able to modify the pending order level then.

You can also enter the stop loss and target levels.

The only thing you cannot modify after placing a pending order is the volume.

If you want a different volume, then you have to delete the pending order.

After that, you can place another pending order with the desired volume.

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34 thoughts on “Buy Stop and Buy Limit, Sell Stop and Sell Limit Pending Orders on MetaTrader 4
  1. Ryan says:

    I used to be very uncertain and confused about Stop and Limit Orders until I use the reasoning that limit order would always be more profitable than stop order assuming same the same profit target.

    For buy stop order the price set is above market price in long (buy)and below market price in sell stop order.

    For buy imit order on long (buy)one expects the price to fall below current market price before price moves up again. Price set at the level below current market price would earned extra pips compared with the buy stop above.

    The reverse of the foregoing applies to sell limit order.

  2. Bright says:

    Hello Chris,

    I’ll like you to write about how to measure the number of PIPS of a price move on the MT4.

  3. Todd says:

    Thanks for these good tips. I do have a question. I’m running MT4 demo and when I go to place an order the Volume drop down offers “0.01, … 0.05” following by “1.00, 2.00, …” I would think options like “0.1, 0.2, …” would also be shown. I realize we can put any value in but wonder if you know why the “tenth of a lot” are not shown.

  4. oluwayemisi says:

    hi, Chris thank you for this beautiful tutorial

    please can u write on how to back test an expert advisor….. I mean simulation to back test a trading strategy to know it performance in past market conditions before going live with it

    secondly can you write about what’s the difference between profile and template..on mt4 …. am confused attimes because I have to load up my charts again each time I close my platform and start all over again… I don’t know how to save my settings on each chart differently

    • oluwayemisi says:

      I meant how to use profile and how to use template properly

    • Sure! I will add these in my to do list.

      Regarding the problem you mentioned, that looks strange to me because when you add and modify the charts and then close the platform, all you have done will be saved automatically when you close the platform. So that when you open it again you will see everything you had done. This is what MT4 does automatically.

  5. Youness says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the article. It’s very informative indeed.

    The way I personally remember them, is I assign equivalent words to limit and stop.

    Limit = Reverse, meaning buy limit is I want the price to go down, hit my order and “reverse” back up, therefore my buy order has to be below current market price. Same for sell pending orders.

    Stop = Through, meaning buy stop is I want the price to go up, hit my order and keep going up i.e, go “through” my order, therefore my buy order has to be above the current market price. Same for sell pending orders.

    I hope it will help someone.
    Youness.

  6. Grace says:

    Thanks. Quite informative.

  7. Shahriar Kabir says:

    What I can say about your effort for us! Even you have made it totally free for us! It’s unbelievable. I want you to know that I have been spending 4-5 hours daily to read your articles since last 5-6 days. I just fall in love with your content and I am really grateful.

    Anyway I am a professional WordPress developer and want to learn as my second profession. I noticed you are using WordPress as your blogging platform. If you want any help with your blog, I will be honored to help you and I will do it for free.

    Lastly love you LuckScout team 🙂

    • Hi Shahriar,

      Thank you and welcome to LuckScout.

      We will let you know in case we need any help with WordPress.

      • sohel says:

        Hi LuckScout
        Thank you very much for your informative post. May I know what to do if I want to sell instantly? I mean,let the market price (EUR/USD) 1.0950 I want to sell at 1.0950 then how can I sell it instantly?

  8. Dex A says:

    Thanks a lot LuckScout! It is a very informative site, and helps a lot newbies like me. 🙂

  9. Alejandro O. Bastida says:

    Thanks again Chris, Youness and the above persons who give their comments, a million, long life, prosperity, and happiness to you both.

  10. TJ Chance says:

    Hi Chris,

    I have noticed when I was doing research on brokers, in their order execution policy, that some depending on platforms will treat Stop order as market order.

    In other words, vulnerable to slippage which could be harmful during high volatility like news doesn’t it?

    On the other side, limit order are not subject to the same rules.

    Thank you

    • TJ,

      I don’t think it will make any difference with the slippage. It is normal to have the stop loss not triggered, or triggered at a different level during the strong news release.

  11. manuel reguera says:

    It was so confusing!

    Thank you Chris!!

  12. Len Ekenstam says:

    hello chris, when i enter a comment and later try to find it and search for your answer i cannot find my comment or your answer. is there an easy way to locate what i am looking for? as i said before, my computer skills are weak and i could use some easy to learn skills that others seem to have no problem with. i consider myself as one step above being computer illiterate. sorry to be such a pain. len

  13. Arin Davidian says:

    Thanks Chris this article was a great help for me.

  14. titanium says:

    Hi, Chris. What’s the difference between a normal stop loss and a sell/buy order? I’ve seen charts where traders used the pending order instead of the normal stop loss, as a way to avoid slippage. Do you think is a safe idea?

    • Hi Titanium,

      Stop loss is the same as sell/buy order. But when you set it on the open position, the system does everything and so you don’t have to take the opposite position on your own.

      Yes, you can hedge when you want to close a position. Then you can close both positions at the right time and when the market is not too fast. However, if the broker wants to slip, he can do it anyway.

      • scshang says:

        Hi Chris,

        I am demo trading on MT4. I have a scenario in which I’d like you to check if I am doing the right trades.

        My open position is one lot long (executed a market buy order). Now if I want to take profit/close (sell) 0.5 lot first and close the other 0.5 lot at a higher price, what is the best way to place my orders?

        What I do now is I place two sell limit orders, one for 0.5 lot at price1 and another for 0.5 lot at price2 (higher than price1).

        Oh, and on the open position I also place a Stop Loss for the entire one lot.

        I appreciate your comments in advance.

        Steph

        • Scshang,

          You cannot do that on MT4. Those two sell limits will open two new short positions and will not close the open long position. You have to close half of your position manually.

  15. drsa1970 says:

    Thank you Chris …. Thank you so much

  16. Jeff Go says:

    I always receive “Invalid S/L or T/P” error before but dont know why. Now i understand, thank you

  17. Ivan Todorov says:

    Hello Chris , so I guess as there is no difference between pending orders and these ones you explained, if we are not in the platform the order wont be executed?

  18. Adelaide says:

    Hello,what are the effects closing a pending trade when the buy limit has not yet been hit?

  19. Wasiu says:

    Hi Chris, I used to be confused with those terms until I read your beautiful post. Thanks.
    However, can you please inform on a free useful indicator especially for the EUR/USD?