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Stop Loss and Take Profit Explained

Stop loss and take profit are two essential trading orders used to control profits and losses in a forex trade. Both orders are designed to decide how much you are willing to risk or make from each trade. This may seem pretty easy at first, but knowing how to apply for each order correctly according to preset risk management rules is what differentiates successful forex traders from the crowd. 

The forex market is a highly unpredictable and volatile market. That’s why calculating both potential profits and losses makes all the difference. You can’t simply ignore the possible risks that may threaten your trades. Here come stop loss and take profit as the main risk management tools that help you control your exposure to any unpredictable market moves. 

What is Stop Loss Order? 

A stop-loss (SL) order is used to automatically close a trade when the price reaches your set price level. It indicates how much money you are willing to put at risk for a single trade.

This order can help in minimizing the losses if the price begins moving in the opposite direction, and in some cases locking profits as well. It is usually placed with a market or a pending order and can be a number of pips, percentages, or a particular price level. 

The stop-loss level is typically set in the opposite direction of your trade. Meaning it is put below the entry-level for long trades, and above the entry-level for short ones.

A trailing stop is a type of stop-loss that secures profits as long as the market moves in the trade’s direction, and automatically closes the trade if the market moves against it. It is set at a certain distance from market price, measured as a percentage or number of pips. It follows the market price until it moves against your Positions. 

What is Take Profit Order?

A take-profit (TP) order is set to close a trade when the price reaches profit levels. It is also an automatic order that doesn’t need your interference to be activated. While the stop loss basically aims for stopping losses, the take-profit order is intended for keeping profits. 

On contrary to the stop-loss order, the take profit is set in the same direction as your trade. It is higher than the entry-level for long trades, and below the entry-level for short trades.

Stop Loss and Take Profit Explained

Both orders are applied to be executed automatically with no need for the trader to worry about manually exiting a trade. The relationship between both orders defines the risk to reward ratio. This ratio helps you identify how much money you will risk per trade. By exceeding that amount, you are violating your own rules. It’s advisable to stick to the 1% common risk rate per trade, or you can also consider a proper risk-to-reward ratio of 1:2 – 1:3, meaning that potential profits should be triple or at least double the potential loss for every single trade. 

The stop-loss and take-profit features are designated to protect your trades. So, no matter how confident you are, it is always better to use both orders, especially in such a dynamic market. This also helps you control any emotions that can be triggered while trading. These emotions, if not well managed, can lead to bad trading decisions. Therefore, instead of worrying about how the trade is doing, you can set both SL and TP levels and relax. 

How to Set Stop Loss and Take Profit in MT4

The simplest and easiest way is to enter both stop loss and take profit levels when placing a new order. Simply enter the precise price levels at which you want to take profit or stop loss. 

The take-profit order will be automatically executed when the price reaches your target level, while the stop-loss will be automatically activated if the market moves against your position. 

How to Set Stop Loss and Take Profit

Remember that both stop loss and take profit orders will remain adjustable while your trade is active. However, setting both levels when deciding a trade is much preferable. 

SL and TP orders will be shown on the chart and you can easily click and drag any of them to adjust your trade. Alternatively, you can go to the “Terminal” section at the bottom of the chart, right-click on the trade you want to modify, and choose “Modify or Delete Order”. Now you can adjust SL and TP levels by exact price or pips.


MetaTrader 4, or MT4, is the most popular forex trading platform due its very user-friendly interface, which enables new and experienced traders to trade with ease and comfort. Traders of all levels find this Forex platform easy to use. MetaTrader 4 platform is compatible with any home computer, tablet, and phone with a huge trade on the go feature that gives you the power to access the market wherever and whenever you want. 

How TP and SL Protect Your Trading

Each order benefits your trading and helps you control the trading possible outcomes. The stop loss keeps you from losing too much of your capital in one trade, while the take profit helps you hold your profits in case the market decides to change its direction. 

Both levels can be determined based on technical analysis of the market. So, make sure that you choose the correct levels according to market analysis and risk management plan. Check how to develop an Entry and Exit Strategy in forex trading.


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