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You can do a lot with ChatGPT, but it doesn’t really feel like its work is “yours.” If you ask your ChatGPT a question, then quiz a friend’s ChatGPT account on the same topic, you’ll likely receive a pretty similar answer. That is, unless you fine-tune ChatGPT to respond how you want it to.

Creating your own custom ChatGPT is possible thanks to “custom instructions,” a feature OpenAI rolled out to ChatGPT Plus users back in July. The plan was always to bring the feature to all ChatGPT accounts, which is how we all now find ourselves with the power to customize our chatbots.

With custom instructions, you can give ChatGPT explicit directions on how you’d like it to respond to your future queries. If you want it to make a joke out of every response, you can. If you want the bot to refer to you as “your majesty,” that’s your prerogative. Before, all new ChatGPT conversations were the same blank slate for all users. If you wanted the chatbot to do something specific, you’d need to ask it at the beginning of all new chats, which could get annoying, especially if you needed it to follow the same instructions every time. Custom instructions make ChatGPT more efficient, useful, and fun.

How to use ChatGPT’s custom instructions

Getting started with custom instructions is easy: Open ChatGPT, choose your account name, then hit “Custom instructions.” If this is your first time access custom instructions, you’ll need to click “OK” on the popup:

Image for article titled ChatGPT’s ‘Custom Instructions’ Are Free for Everyone Now

Screenshot: Jake Peterson

You’ll see two text boxes. The first is an opportunity for you to give ChatGPT background information you want it to know for all conversations going forward. If you want it to know you live in Boston, or that you enjoy jazz music, or that you’re scared of AI overthrowing society, you can fill that in here.

The second instructions box lets you dictate how ChatGPT should respond to your queries. You can decide whether the chatbot should be more formal or more casual, how long or short its responses should be, what you want it to call you, or whether it should take a stance on certain topics.

For both of these data points, the sky’s the limit; there’s a reason these text boxes are left wide open. You can set the parameters in any way you see fit, as long you can fit them into under 1,500 characters per box. Go nuts. Experiment with different instructions, and see what you can get your new, custom ChatGPT to do.

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