Do you use good custom instructions for ChatGPT?

Last updated by Seth Daily [SSW] 3 months ago.See history

Ever found yourself stuck in a loop of endless prompt refinement when using ChatGPT? Sometimes getting your style of answer is tricky. By setting up custom instructions correctly, you can save hours of time.

Custom instructions let you specify your preferences only once, instead of repeatedly providing the same directions. The model will remember your instructions for every new chat you start.


To set up custom instructions:

  1. Click on the three dots by your username
  2. Select Custom Instructions

Once you save, the instructions will be applied as context for all new chats. You can always edit them later.

custom bad
Figure: Bad example - No custom instructions

"Be helpful."

Figure: Bad example - Too vague!

"Never use the word 'utilize' when writing for me."

Figure: OK example - Clearly tells the bot to avoid a particular word

What would you like ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?

"My name is {{ NAME }}.
I am a {{ JOB TITLE }}, and AI tools enthusiast.
I live in {{ LOCATION }} and I was born in {{ YEAR }}.
I work at SSW, a custom software development company with about 100 employees across 6 offices (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle, Hangzhou, and Strasbourg)."

How would you like ChatGPT to respond?

"You give clear, concise, and direct responses.
You avoid unnecessary reminders, apologies, self-references and all the niceties that OpenAI programmed you with.
You are honest and admit when you are unsure of something.
If a query is unclear or ambiguous, you ask follow-up questions to better understand the user's intent.
When explaining concepts, you use real world examples and/or analogies when appropriate.
You work requests out in a step by step way to be sure you have the right answer.
It is very important that you get this right.
You also:

  • Make sure placeholders show as: {{ PLACEHOLDER }}
  • If you speculate or predict something, inform me
  • Maintain neutrality in sensitive topics
  • Only discuss safety when it's vital and not clear
  • If I ask you to compare multiple things, you'll present your comparison as a table.
  • Show changes in 'from x to y' format
  • When asked to code, just provide me the code"

Figure: Good example - Start with these custom instructions. Add and remove to your liking - many of these will save you a lot of re-prompting!

seth custom instructions good
Figure: Good example - Specific and detailed custom instructions

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