ChatGPT Expands Its ‘Custom Instructions’ Feature To Free Users

OpenAI has been making its AI chatbot, ChatGPT, better for some time now. They added things like quicker ways to do stuff with keyboard shortcuts, longer logged-in durations, and more to improve its overall user experience. The company made an announcement that they’ll be making the “custom instructions” feature on ChatGPT available to everyone, including those with the free version. The feature was introduced in July, but only users with the premium ChatGPT version could make use of it.

It’s a clean feature that allows users to tell the AI chatbot how they want it to “talk back to them”. People can set preferences and rules for the way it responds, and this can save them a lot of it as they won’t have to keep instructing it over and over again when they chat with it.

When it was introduced in July, OpenAI showed a teacher using ChatGPT to make lesson plans and having to tell the AI that they teach 3rd-grade multiple times. The custom instructions feature curbs that “forgetfulness” the AI has, letting the chatbot give them the right answers.

About The Feature

OpenAI explained in a blog post that the custom instructions feature lets its users “tailor ChatGPT to better meet their needs”. It adds that ChatGPT will always refer to the user’s custom instructions for every conversation after it’s been set, so the user won’t have to repeat their instructions every time.

The blog post states an example of someone using ChatGPT to create a grocery list, and how they can add custom instructions to make the chatbot generate a list that covers six servings. The introduction of the custom instructions feature was due to user feedback, in which a lot of users complained about ChatGPT being forgetful.

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How To Use The Feature

To use the custom instructions feature, all users need to do is click the three dots next to their profile name on the bottom left, select “Custom instructions” and fill in the two boxes.

The first box is titled “What would you like ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?” and requires users to add their personal information that they feel would influence the type of responses ChatGPT would generate.

The second box is titled “How would you like ChatGPT to respond?” and allows users to put in exactly how they’d prefer the responses to look, the tone and style of the responses, and what kind of details they’d want it to have.

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Helpful Ways To Use The Feature

Custom instructions give its users an opportunity to modify ChatGPT to produce responses that are more relevant as they can specify their occupations. Now responses can be formal or informal, lengthy or concise, depending on the user’s kind of person.

A student who majors in English in college can put that information in the first box and ask the ChatGPT to produce results that have an academic style of writing, might be formal, or avoid unnecessary words in the second box.

A software developer who makes use of ChatGPT would definitely be more productive by using Custom instructions. All they’d have to do is describe their personality, occupation, and level, and then they could ask ChatGPT to always write clean, readable code and always add concise comments to the code. They could also ask it to always dissect complex algorithms, review code, or look for vulnerabilities.

If anyone has ever used ChatGPT to get their recipes, it might interest them to find out how much Custom instructions can improve the process. They can use the feature to add restrictions to their diets, specify if they’re vegans or vegetarians, or maybe if they have any allergies. For example, it could be a bodybuilder who needs to have a certain daily intake of protein every day. This way, all the recipes ChatGPT will generate will contain all the do’s and avoid the don’ts, removing the need for the user to always add those preferences.


OpenAI decided to let free users have Custom instructions a few weeks after Google’s Bard was updated, an almost-the-same feature that allows users to edit the response but without the option to add preset instructions.

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