Make your AI model more personal: Use custom instructions for ChatGPT

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ChatGPT Custom Instructions for a more personal AI

Receive answers better tailored to you from ChatGPT with individualized instructions for ChatGPT

Bastian Moritz
Jan 2024

How can we make our interactions with AI not only more efficient but also more personal and tailored to our unique needs?

With individual instructions for ChatGPT, called "Custom Instructions".

Custom Instructions give you more control over how ChatGPT responds. By setting preferences, you can ensure that each interaction with the AI is precisely tailored to your specific needs.

Custom Instructions for ChatGPT

"Custom Instructions" is a feature that transforms your ChatGPT from a tool into a personal assistant.

These custom instructions in ChatGPT allow you to set specific guidelines or preferences. They give you more control over how your personal AI responds, which enhances both productivity and user experience (UX).

This customization can range from content alignment and communication style to the complexity of the information presented. With well-thought-out custom instructions, every conversation with ChatGPT becomes more tailored and personal.

You need to first activate the custom instructions feature in your ChatGPT account before it can adapt to your unique preferences and requirements. From then on, they shape each of your interactions with ChatGPT, giving you more control over the responses you receive.

Whether you're a teacher creating a lesson plan, a developer needing efficient code, or simply planning your weekly shopping, custom instructions ensure that ChatGPT respects and considers your preferences in every interaction.

Steerability is crucial in AI interactions. It allows the LLMs (Large Language Models) you use to effectively reflect the diverse contexts you find yourself in and your unique needs. By incorporating steerability through custom instructions, ChatGPT becomes a more versatile and responsive tool, adaptable to a wide range of professional and personal scenarios.

Once you've set your preferences, ChatGPT will take them into account to ensure a more personal experience in all future conversations.

Before we set yours

Read on if you want a hands-on approach to personalizing your AI interactions for enhanced professional and personal use of ChatGPT.

  1. Why You Would Want to Use Custom Instructions with ChatGPT
    To make your experience with ChatGPT more personal.
  2. Great Custom Instructions Depending on Your Role
    Find out what the best custom instructions are for you.
  3. How to Use Custom Instructions with ChatGPT
    A quick documentation style to get you acquainted with using custom instructions in 50 seconds or less.
  4. Test Your Custom ChatGPT Instructions
    Ask ChatGPT how it interprets your custom instructions and how it answers your questions.
  5. The Impact of Custom Instructions
    An example of using custom instructions in the case of an entrepreneur who wants to create LinkedIn posts.

Why You Want to Use Custom Instructions

"Custom Instructions" allow you to shape ChatGPT's responses so that they are precisely tailored to your specific requirements and preferences with each response. It's not just about "customizing" the AI. Custom instructions enable you to add your unique preferences and requirements that reflect your unique context, needs, and goals.

Custom instructions are the first thing you can do to move towards a more personal, efficient, and user-centric AI experience.

They save you from repeating your preferences with every prompt, ensuring that each interaction with ChatGPT is consistent, relevant, and tailored to your needs.

Why they are helpful:

You want to customize your experience to:

  • Improved Relevance.
    Tailored responses are more closely aligned with your professional and personal needs. Answers become more relevant and useful for the specific context or user's query.
  • Improved Efficiency.
    Specific instructions can reduce the need for follow-up questions and save valuable time.Tailored responses can minimize the need for back-and-forth clarifications, thereby saving time and effort.
  • Personalized Experience.
    Adjustments ensure that interactions are more engaging and relevant to your unique context.
  • Improved User Experience: Personalization enhances engagement and satisfaction by aligning with the user's preferences and expectations.
  • Better Decision Making: In professional or critical contexts, tailored, detailed, and accurate responses can lead to better-informed decisions.

For Which Applications Custom Instructions Are Suitable

Good "Custom Instructions" for ChatGPT can significantly improve your interaction experience, especially in a business context.

How Custom Instructions Can Be Used:

  1. Content Preferences: Users can specify topics they are particularly interested in or wish to avoid.
    1. Communication Style: Some users might prefer a formal tone, while others might want a casual or humorous style. Instructions can also include preferences for directness, such as openness and honesty.
    2. Specific Needs: Users might have special needs, like detailed, high-level explanations on complex topics or straightforward answers for quick information.
    3. Language Preferences: Instructions can include preferences for certain linguistic styles, such as the use of inclusive language or specific dialects.

Custom instructions are a powerful tool to make AI interactions more effective and user-centered, catering to diverse needs and preferences.

For Which Purposes

  1. Educational or Professional Contexts: Users might need information for critical decisions, research, or learning.
    1. Personalization: Custom instructions help tailor the interaction to the user's personal preferences or needs, thereby enhancing the user experience.
    2. Accessibility: Tailoring responses to the user's level of understanding or specific language needs can make information more accessible.
    3. Cultural or Ethical Considerations: Users might have cultural or ethical preferences regarding how information is presented or discussed.

Practical Applications and Best Practices

To get the most out of "Custom Instructions," specificity is key. The clearer your instructions are, the more tailored the AI's responses will be. Regular feedback helps the AI refine its understanding of your preferences, ensuring that the interaction evolves with your needs.

General Best Prompting Practices

We have written in detail elsewhere about the best practices for creating prompts for ChatGPT.

The most important points for "Custom Instructions" summarized:

  • Be Specific: The clearer your instructions are, the more accurate and tailored the AI's responses will be.
  • Stay Up-to-date: As your needs evolve or the contexts of your use change, update your instructions to keep interactions relevant.

Best Practices for Custom Instructions for Professionals

Whether you're conducting in-depth research, seeking decision-making support, or needing tailored advice, custom instructions ensure that the AI's responses are finely tuned to your professional context.

  • In-depth Research: Gain comprehensive insights into market trends, technological advancements, and best industry practices.
  • Tailored Research: Receive detailed, individual analyses on specific industry trends or topics.
  • Decision Support: Receive tailored data and analyses to inform business decisions.
  • Support in Decision Making: Receive tailored advice and data interpretations for well-informed business decisions.

Best Practices for Innovators and Creatives

For those who value creativity and innovation, custom instructions can be a gateway to personalized idea generation and trend forecasting, keeping you at the forefront of your field.

  • Creative Brainstorming: Use AI to explore new ideas and perspectives in your field.
  • Idea Development: Use AI to explore new, personalized ideas and creative directions.
  • Trend Analysis: Stay ahead with tailored insights into emerging trends.
  • Trend Forecasting: Stay informed with tailored insights into

the latest industry and market trends.

Best Practices for Lifelong Learning

Custom instructions are tailored to your unique learning style and pace, making AI a powerful ally on your journey of personal and professional growth.

  • Personalized Learning: Receive explanations and content that match your learning style and pace.
  • Tailored Learning: Access explanations and content that are tailored to your learning style and pace.
  • Skill Enhancement: Use AI to practice and improve professional skills from communication to technical expertise.
  • Skill Development: Enhance your professional skills with personalized practice and feedback.


Your instructions should inform ChatGPT about your specific role, needs, and preferences, as well as how you want the AI to respond.

Each role has two custom instructions, each with a limit of 1500 characters.

  1. What do you want ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?

Official "Thought Starters" from OpenAI

  • Where are you located?
  • What is your profession?
  • What are your hobbies and interests?
  • What topics can you talk about for hours?
  • What are some of your goals?
  1. How do you want ChatGPT to respond?

Official "Thought Starters" from OpenAI

  • How formal or casual should ChatGPT be?
  • How long or short should responses generally be?
  • How do you want to be addressed?
  • Should ChatGPT have opinions on topics or remain neutral?

Below are some examples for various business roles.

In each case, these instructions guide ChatGPT to provide responses that are more tailored to your specific business role and needs, ensuring that the advice and information you receive are both relevant and practical.

Jan 2024
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