The Ultimate Guide to ChatGPT Custom Instructions

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One of the best updates that ChatGPT has made recently is the ability to enter custom instructions. This feature has transformed the way users interact with the model, allowing for more tailored and contextually relevant conversations without having to repeat your instructions over and over again. But what exactly are these custom instructions, how do you activat them and how do they enhance the ChatGPT experience?


Understanding ChatGPT Custom Instructions

ChatGPT custom instructions are directives given to the model to guide its behavior during all conversations. Instead of relying solely on the model’s default settings, users can now instruct ChatGPT on how they’d like it to respond, taking into account specific contexts, tones, and nuances.


The Benefits of Custom Instructions

Custom instructions offer several advantages:

  • Personalization: Users get responses tailored to their preferences and needs.
  • Efficiency: By guiding the model, users can get to the desired information or answer faster.
  • Flexibility: Different scenarios or conversations might require different instructions, and this feature provides that adaptability.

The reason behind ChatGPT Custom Instructions feature

Before the introduction of custom instructions feature, users had to frame their questions and prompts more explicitly or repeatedly to guide the model towards the desired response. This often meant longer conversations and occasionally rephrasing queries to get the right information.

Now, users can instruct ChatGPT before every conversation about how they generally prefer it to respond, considering factors such as your profession, goals, challenges, language patterns you like to use, your knowledge level, and more. This advancement streamlines interactions, making the conversation more efficient and tailored to the user’s needs.


What is the difference between Custom Instructions and Prompt Instructions?

An overview:
Criteria ChatGPT Custom Instructions Prompt Instructions
Definition Directives are given before the start of a conversation to guide its overall behaviour. They set the context, tone, and style for the entire conversation. Cues or guidelines are provided within the conversation prompts. They influence individual responses.
Duration of Effect Influence the entire conversation until changed or reset. Limited to the specific prompt they’re attached to.
Application Applied before the start of a conversation. Applied within individual prompts.
Specificity General directives for the entire conversation. Specific cues for individual questions or statements.
Flexibility Broader guidance for the entire conversation. Granular control for individual prompts.
Use Cases Setting a general context or tone for the conversation. Specific queries or desired response types for a single question.

ChatGPT Custom Instructions and prompt instructions are both mechanisms to guide the behaviour of the ChatGPT model during a conversation, but they differ in their definition, duration, application, specificity, and flexibility. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between custom instructions and prompt instructions:


    • Definition ChatGPT Custom Instructions: These are specific directives given to the model before the start of a conversation to guide its overall behaviour. They set the context, tone, and style for the entire conversation, ensuring that the model’s responses align with the user’s preferences and needs throughout the interaction.
    • Definition ChatGPT Prompt Instructions: These are specific cues or guidelines provided within the conversation prompts themselves. They are more ad-hoc and are used to guide the model’s response to a particular question or statement. They don’t necessarily set the tone for the entire conversation but rather influence individual responses.

Duration of Effect:

    • ChatGPT Custom Instructions: Once set, they influence the entire conversation until changed, reset or switched off.
    • Prompt Instructions: Their influence is typically limited to the specific prompt they’re attached to.


    • ChatGPT Custom Instructions: They provide a broader and more consistent guidance for the model throughout the conversation.
    • Prompt Instructions: They offer more granular control, allowing users to guide the model’s behaviour on a prompt-by-prompt basis.

Use Cases:

    • ChatGPT Custom Instructions: Useful for setting a general context or tone for the conversation, such as “I want detailed and technical explanations” or “I am a historian looking for information on ancient Rome.”
    • Prompt Instructions: Useful for specific queries or when a user wants a particular type of response to a single question, like “Explain this in simple terms” or “Give me a humorous answer.”

In essence, while both mechanisms aim to guide the model’s behaviour, ChatGPT Custom Instructions set the stage for the entire conversation, whereas prompt instructions are more about fine-tuning responses to individual queries.

How to activate Custom Instructions for ChatGPT

The Ultimate Guide to ChatGPT Custom Instructions

Steps to activate ChatGPT Custom Instructions in Your Browser:

  1. Access ChatGPT: Open ChatGPT in your browser. Note: Custom instructions are compatible with both ChatGPT 3.5 and the premium version ChatGPT 4.0.

  2. Locate the Options Menu: In the bottom left corner, you’ll see your ChatGPT name labeled as [1]. Next to it are three dots, which represent the options menu.

  3. Access Custom Instructions: Click on the three dots to reveal a slide-up menu. From this menu, select “Custom Instructions.” An overlay will appear, presenting you with two questions to answer.

  4. Fill Out and Save: After answering the questions, ensure the “Custom Instructions” toggle is switched on. Click “Save” to apply your settings.

  5. Begin Chatting: Start your conversation with ChatGPT. The platform will now utilize your custom instructions to personalize its responses. Remember, you can modify or deactivate these instructions at any time.

Remember, you can always revisit and modify these instructions as needed to refine your interaction experience with ChatGPT or turn them off entirely.

The Ultimate Guide to ChatGPT Custom Instructions

How to Answer the Two Custom Instruction Questions

There are two primary questions that users have to answer to set up their custom instructions:

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

This question is about context. By answering this, users can inform ChatGPT about their background, preferences, or any specific information that would help the model understand them better. For instance, if a user is a boutique hotel owner, mentioning this can lead to more detailed and industry-specific discussions about hotel management and hospitality trends.

How would you like ChatGPT to respond?

This question is about tonality and style. Users can guide the model on whether they prefer formal responses, humorous ones, concise answers, or detailed explanations. It’s all about shaping the conversation’s tone to match the user’s preference.

Custom Instructions for Various ChatGPT Personas

Chat GPT Custom Instructions for Hotel Managers

For our first ChatGPT Custom Instructions example, let’s delve into how a hotel manager, particularly one overseeing operations and communications of a mid-sized urban hotel, could benefit from this tool.


ChatGPT customised instructions for Professional Chef

Here is an example of how a world-class chef might write his preferred way of communicating with ChatGPT.

chatgpt custom instruction example professional chef cook

Chat GPT Custom Instructions for B&B Owner

Here’s an exemplary setup by a B&B owner, emphasizing the unique charm and community spirit of her establishment. She meticulously outlines her preferences, from a warm and welcoming tone to the importance of bilingual content. The instructions also highlight the significance of seasonality, behind-the-scenes content, and staying updated with hospitality trends.


Custom instructions are not just about setting a context or tone; they’re about enhancing the user experience. They act as a bridge between the vast knowledge of ChatGPT and the specific needs of the user. Whether you’re a student seeking academic help, a professional looking for industry insights, or just someone wanting to have a fun conversation, custom instructions pave the way for meaningful interactions.

Moreover, as AI continues to evolve, the ability to guide its behaviour becomes crucial. It ensures that the technology remains a tool, adaptable and moldable according to human needs. Custom instructions are a step in that direction, giving users control over their AI interactions.

Lastly, it’s essential to remember that while custom instructions are powerful, they work best when they’re clear and specific. Vague instructions might not yield the desired results, so it’s always a good idea to be as detailed as possible.


Why Business Owners and Hoteliers Should Embrace ChatGPT Right Now

For business owners,hoteliers and hosts ChatGPT is not just a conversational tool; it’s a potential game-changer. With custom instructions, businesses can tailor ChatGPT to fit their brand voice, offer customer support, provide product information, and even train employees. The adaptability of ChatGPT means it can fit into various business scenarios, from sales and marketing to HR and training.

Furthermore, in a digital age where customer engagement is paramount, ChatGPT offers a cost-effective solution to interact with customers 24/7. And with custom instructions, these interactions can be as personalized and brand-specific as needed.

In conclusion, ChatGPT’s custom instructions feature is a significant leap in conversational AI. It offers users, whether individuals or businesses, the ability to have more meaningful, tailored, and contextually relevant conversations.

As AI continues to shape our future, features like these ensure that it remains a tool for humans, by humans.

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