The function is called in EAs when the TesterInit event occurs to perform necessary actions before optimization in the strategy tester. There are two function types.

The version that returns the result

int  OnTesterInit(void);

Return Value

int type value, zero means successful initialization of an EA launched on a chart before optimization starts.

The OnTesterInit() call that returns the execution result is recommended for use since it not only allows for program initialization, but also returns an error code in case of an early optimization stop. Return of any value other than INIT_SUCCEEDED (0) means an error, no optimization is launched.

The version without a result return is left only for compatibility with old codes. Not recommended for use

void  OnTesterInit(void);


The TesterInit event is generated before EA optimization in the strategy tester starts. At this event, an EA having OnTesterDeInit() or OnTesterPass() event handler is automatically downloaded on a separate terminal chart. It has the symbol and the period that have been specified in the tester.

Such an event receives the TesterInit, TesterDeinit and TesterPass events, but not Init, Deinit and NewTick ones. Accordingly, all necessary logic for processing the results of each pass during optimization should be implemented in the OnTesterInit (), OnTesterDeinit () and OnTesterPass () handlers.

The result of each single pass during a strategy optimization can be passed via a frame from the OnTester () handler using the FrameAdd () function.

The OnTesterInit() function is used to initiate an Expert Advisor before start of optimization for further processing of optimization results. It is always used together with the OnTesterDeinit() handler.

The time for OnTesterInit() execution is limited. If it is exceeded, the EA is forcibly stopped, while the optimization itself is canceled. A message is displayed in the tester journal:

Tester        OnTesterInit works too long. Tester cannot be initialized.

The example is taken from OnTick. The OnTesterInit() handler is added for setting optimization parameters:

//|                                          OnTesterInit_Sample.mq5 |
//|                        Copyright 2018, MetaQuotes Software Corp. |
//|                                             https://www.mql5.com |
#property copyright "Copyright 2000-2024, MetaQuotes Ltd."
#property link      "https://www.mql5.com"
#property version   "1.00"
#property description "Sample EA with the OnTesterInit() handler,"
#property description "in which values and limitations of "
#property description "inputs during optimization are set"
input double lots=0. 1;       // volume in lots
input double kATR=3;          // signal candle length in ATR
input int    ATRperiod=20;    // ATR indicator period
input int    holdbars=8;      // number of bars to hold position on
input int    slippage=10;     // allowable slippage
input bool   revers=false;    // reverse the signal? 
input ulong  EXPERT_MAGIC=0;  // EA's MagicNumber
//--- for storing the ATR indicator handle
int atr_handle;
//--- here we will store the last ATR values and the candle body
double last_atr,last_body;
datetime lastbar_timeopen;
double trade_lot;
//--- remember optimization start time
datetime optimization_start;
//--- for displaying duration on a chart after the end of optimization
string report;
//| TesterInit function                                              |
void OnTesterInit()
//--- set the values of inputs for optimization
   Print("Initial values and optimization parameter limitations are set");
//--- remember optimization start
   report=StringFormat("%s: optimization launched at %s",
//--- show messages on the chart and the terminal journal
//| TesterDeinit function                                            |
void OnTesterDeinit()
//--- optimization duration
   string log_message=StringFormat("%s: optimization took %d seconds",
//| Expert initialization function                                   |
int OnInit()
//--- initialize global variables
//--- set the correct volume
   double min_lot=SymbolInfoDouble(_Symbol,SYMBOL_VOLUME_MIN);
   trade_lot=lots>min_lot? lots:min_lot;   
//--- create ATR indicator handle
      PrintFormat("%s: failed to create iATR, error code %d",__FUNCTION__,GetLastError());
//--- successful EA initialization
//| Expert tick function                                             |
void OnTick()
//--- trading signal
   static int signal=0; // +1 means a buy signal, -1 means a sell signal
//--- check and close old positions opened more than 'holdbars' bars ago
//--- check for a new bar
      //--- check for a signal presence      
//--- if a netting position is opened, skip the signal - wait till it closes
      return// exit the NewTick event handler and do not enter the market before a new bar appears
//--- for a hedging account, each position is held and closed separately
      //--- buy signal
         PrintFormat("%s: Buy signal! Revers=%s",__FUNCTION__,string(revers));
      //--- sell signal
         PrintFormat("%s: Sell signal! Revers=%s",__FUNCTION__,string(revers));
//--- OnTick function end
//| Check for a new trading signal                                   |
int CheckSignal()
//--- 0 means no signal
   int res=0;
//--- get ATR value on a penultimate complete bar (the bar index is 2)
   double atr_value[1];
      //--- get data on the last closed bar to the MqlRates type array
      MqlRates bar[1];
         //--- calculate the bar body size on the last complete bar
         //--- if the body of the last bar (with index 1) exceeds the previous ATR value (on the bar with index 2), a trading signal is received
            res=last_body>0?1:-1; // positive value for the upward candle
         PrintFormat("%s: Failed to receive the last bar! Error",__FUNCTION__,GetLastError());
      PrintFormat("%s: Failed to receive ATR indicator value! Error",__FUNCTION__,GetLastError());
//--- if reverse trading mode is enabled
   res=revers?-res:res;  // reverse the signal if necessary (return -1 instead of 1 and vice versa)
//--- return a trading signal value
   return (res);
//|  Return 'true' when a new bar appears                            |
bool isNewBar(const bool print_log=true)
   static datetime bartime=0; // store open time of the current bar
//--- get open time of the zero bar
   datetime currbar_time=iTime(_Symbol,_Period,0);
//--- if open time changes, a new bar has arrived
      //--- display data on open time of a new bar in the log      
      if(print_log && !(MQLInfoInteger(MQL_OPTIMIZATION)||MQLInfoInteger(MQL_TESTER)))
         //--- display a message with a new bar open time
         PrintFormat("%s: new bar on %s %s opened at %s",__FUNCTION__,_Symbol,
         //--- get data on the last tick
         MqlTick last_tick;
            Print("SymbolInfoTick() failed, error = ",GetLastError());
         //--- display the last tick time up to milliseconds
         PrintFormat("Last tick was at %s.%03d",
      //--- we have a new bar
      return (true);
//--- no new bar
   return (false);
//| Buy at a market price with a specified volume                    |
bool Buy(double volume,ulong deviation=10,ulong  magicnumber=0)
//--- buy at a market price
   return (MarketOrder(ORDER_TYPE_BUY,volume,deviation,magicnumber));
//| Sell at a market price with a specified volume                   |
bool Sell(double volume,ulong deviation=10,ulong  magicnumber=0)
//--- sell at a market price
   return (MarketOrder(ORDER_TYPE_SELL,volume,deviation,magicnumber));
//| Close positions by hold time in bars                             |
void ClosePositionsByBars(int holdtimebars,ulong deviation=10,ulong  magicnumber=0)
   int total=PositionsTotal(); // number of open positions   
//--- iterate over open positions
   for(int i=total-1; i>=0; i--)
      //--- position parameters
      ulong  position_ticket=PositionGetTicket(i);                                      // position ticket
      string position_symbol=PositionGetString(POSITION_SYMBOL);                        // symbol 
      ulong  magic=PositionGetInteger(POSITION_MAGIC);                                  // position MagicNumber
      datetime position_open=(datetime)PositionGetInteger(POSITION_TIME);               // position open time
      int bars=iBarShift(_Symbol,PERIOD_CURRENT,position_open)+1;                       // how many bars ago a position was opened
      //--- if a position's lifetime is already large, while MagicNumber and a symbol match
      if(bars>holdtimebars && magic==magicnumber && position_symbol==_Symbol)
         int    digits=(int)SymbolInfoInteger(position_symbol,SYMBOL_DIGITS);           // number of decimal places
         double volume=PositionGetDouble(POSITION_VOLUME);                              // position volume
         ENUM_POSITION_TYPE type=(ENUM_POSITION_TYPE)PositionGetInteger(POSITION_TYPE); // position type
         string str_type=StringSubstr(EnumToString(type),14);
         StringToLower(str_type); // lower the text case for correct message formatting
         PrintFormat("Close position #%I64u %s %s %.2f",
         //--- set an order type and sending a trade request
//| Prepare and send a trade request                                 |
bool MarketOrder(ENUM_ORDER_TYPE type,double volume,ulong slip,ulong magicnumber,ulong pos_ticket=0)
//--- declaring and initializing structures
   MqlTradeRequest request={};
   MqlTradeResult  result={};
   double price=SymbolInfoDouble(Symbol(),SYMBOL_BID);
//--- request parameters
   request.action   =TRADE_ACTION_DEAL;                     // trading operation type
   request.position =pos_ticket;                            // position ticket if closing
   request.symbol   =Symbol();                              // symbol
   request.volume   =volume;                                // volume 
   request.type     =type;                                  // order type
   request.price    =price;                                 // trade price
   request.deviation=slip;                                  // allowable deviation from the price
   request.magic    =magicnumber;                           // order MagicNumber
//--- send a request
      //--- display data on failure
      PrintFormat("OrderSend %s %s %.2f at %.5f error %d",
      return (false);
//--- inform of a successful operation
   PrintFormat("retcode=%u  deal=%I64u  order=%I64u",result.retcode,result.deal,result.order);
   return (true);

See also

Testing trading strategies, Working with optimization results, OnTesterDeinit, OnTesterPass, ParameterGetRange, ParameterSetRange