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How to build a custom GPT

Key Takeaways

  • Customize ChatGPT to create your own AI chatbots.
  • Build a personalized chatbot with ChatGPT by adding simple instructions.
  • Use ChatGPT to create custom GPTs for various tasks without technical skills.

There’s something very satisfying about getting ChatGPT to talk to you like it’s Red from the Shawshank Redemption. It’s possible to customize ChatGPT to always talk this way, but it might not be appropriate for every chat you want to have. If only there were a way to create your own customized AI chatbot that speaks like Red that you could use whenever you wanted.

Well, the good news is that there is. ChatGPT allows you to create your own custom GPTs, which are personalized chatbots that use your own set of instructions. You can create custom GPTs that can do almost anything you want, without needing any special expertise or technical know-how. All you need is the ability to write some instructions.

In fact, the hardest thing about creating custom GPTs isn’t knowing how to build them, it’s coming up with ideas for what they should do in the first place. Here’s how to build your own custom chatbot using ChatGPT.


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What is a custom GPT in ChatGPT?

Create your very own personalized chatbot

In ChatGPT, a custom GPT is a standalone chatbot that you can customize to your exact specifications. You can add your own instructions to make your custom GPT behave exactly as you want it to. You could create a chatbot that automatically turns your family photos into Pixar-style animated characters. You might want to build a chatbot that can help you learn all the settings on your new digital camera by pulling information from an upload of the instructions.

In order to use the GPT builder in ChatGPT you’ll need a ChatGPT Plus, Team, or Enterprise subscription.

You don’t need any specialist skills to create a custom chatbot in ChatGPT. All you need to do is describe what you want it to do, and the GPT builder will do the rest. In order to use the GPT builder in ChatGPT, however, you’ll need a ChatGPT Plus, Team, or Enterprise subscription.

How to start building a new GPT in ChatGPT

Create a blank GPT to work with

In order to create a custom GPT in ChatGPT, you’ll need to use the desktop version. It’s not currently possible to create a custom GPT using the ChatGPT mobile app.

  1. Sign in to ChatGPT with an account that has a Plus, Team, or Enterprise subscription.
  2. In the sidebar, click Explore GPTs.
  3. Click the Create button at the top of the screen.
  4. A new blank GPT will be created.

How to use ChatGPT to build your custom GPT

Get step-by-step guidance to create your chatbot

Once you’ve created your blank GPT, you’re ready to start building it. You don’t need any software or coding skills to do this; ChatGPT will walk you through the process. In this example, I’m going to create a custom GPT that will ask you to enter the last ten books that you enjoyed reading. It will then use this information to recommend other books that you might like to read.

  1. In the left-hand window, you’ll see a message from ChatGPT asking what you would like to make with your custom GPT.
  2. Type out an explanation of what you want your GPT to do. For example, my initial prompt was as follows: I want to create a custom GPT that asks for 10 books that the user really loves. These books will be added to a list. That list will then be used to offer recommendations for books that the user would like. The recommendations should not include any books by authors who are already in the list. When a user has read a book, they can add it to the list if they like it, so that the recommendations will be based on more and more information.
  3. ChatGPT will consider this information and suggest a name for the custom GPT. You can choose to accept it, ask for other suggestions, or provide your own name.
  4. ChatGPT will then create a profile picture for the custom GPT. Once again, you can choose to accept the suggestion, refine it, or upload your own image.
  5. ChatGPT will next ask some additional questions to help you refine your GPT, such as asking for guidelines that should be emphasized or avoided and the tone you want the GPT to use.
  6. Once ChatGPT has enough information, it will inform you that the custom GPT is ready to try.

It seems that positive instructions seem to work better than negative ones. Try ‘always use new authors’ rather than ‘don’t repeat authors’.

How to test your custom chatbot in ChatGPT

Take your GPT for a spin to see if it works

Once you’ve defined what you want your custom GPT to do, you can test it out in the right-hand pane. This is a working version of your custom GPT based on everything you’ve entered in your instructions.

Try interacting with your custom GPT in the right-hand pane to see if it behaves as you expect. You should see some suggested prompts that you can click to get started, or just start typing away. Your custom GPT should respond in the way that you specified in your instructions.

How to refine your custom chatbot in ChatGPT

Make changes to get exactly what you want from your GPT

If your custom GPT doesn’t work correctly, or there’s something that you hadn’t thought of that you want to add, start typing in the left-hand pane again. You can ask ChatGPT to add in new features, tell it to remove some of the features you don’t like, or change things completely if you wish.

For my book recommendation GPT, I found it a bit tiresome having to type in the names of ten books. In the Create tab, I asked ChatGPT to add the option to take a photo of the books and have ChatGPT extract the titles and authors of the books from the image.

Once I’d added this instruction, I was able to test it to see how well it worked. I uploaded a photo of a pile of books, and it extracted the titles and authors flawlessly. You can continue to tweak your custom GPT to get it working exactly the way you want it to.

How to configure your custom chatbot in ChatGPT

Manually edit the key settings to make changes

Using the Create tab will automatically generate key information for your custom GPT such as the name, description, and instructions. However, you can change these and other key settings in the Configure tab.

  1. Click the Configure tab.
  2. Edit the Name of your custom GPT if you wish.
  3. Edit the Description of your custom GPT.
  4. The Instructions for your GPT are automatically created from the questions that you were asked. You can edit these instructions to tweak your custom GPT.
  5. Conversation starters are prompts that appear in your custom GPT that the user can click to get started. You can add, remove, or edit these.
  6. Knowledge allows you to upload files that your custom GPT can access.
  7. Capabilities let you toggle certain features on or off. Web Browsing allows your GPT to search the web, DALL-E Image Generation allows your GPT to create images, and Code Interpreter allows your GPT to run code, including analyzing data, and doing math calculations.
  8. Actions allows you to retrieve information from outside of ChatGPT. For example, you can make API calls to access information from other sources.

How to publish your custom GPT in ChatGPT

Unleash your creation on the world or keep it private

Once you’re happy with your custom GPT, you can publish it. This makes it available for you to use in ChatGPT and will add it to your sidebar so that you can access it quickly. You have the option to make your GPT available for other ChatGPT users, share it only with specific people, or you can opt to keep it private. If you make it public, anyone who uses it will be given a blank version of your GPT to use from scratch; it won’t contain any of the information you enter in your own copy of your custom GPT.

  1. Click the Create button at the top-right of the screen.
  2. To keep your GPT private, select Only Me.
  3. To share it with select people, choose Only people with a link.
  4. To make it available to anyone, select GPT Store.
  5. Click Save.
  6. If you chose Only people with a link, a link is generated that you can share with other people. Only those with the link are able to access your custom GPT.

What can you do with custom GPTs?

The possibilities are mostly limited by your imagination

My book recommendations chatbot is one example of something you can build without any technical or programming skills at all. Using ChatGPT to help you build your custom GPTs allows you to create personalized AI chatbots that can do almost anything you want.

You could create a chatbot for your business by feeding it documents such as your company handbook or giving it access to your website, so that users can ask the chatbot for information. You could go beyond Duolingo to build a custom GPT that only uses Italian and will only respond if you type Italian back. If your Italian is incorrect, the custom GPT would show you where you went wrong. You could build a custom GPT that created a personalized workout schedule or one that offered personalized recipe suggestions based on the ingredients that you have available.

If you do have some technical skills, you can connect your custom GPTs to software APIs that can provide information to your custom GPT. For example, you could create a custom GPT that connects to the API of your smart home software. You would then be able to ask your custom GPT if your door is unlocked, or your heating is on. It could even be possible to control your smart home tech from your custom GPT just by asking the GPT to turn on the lights in your bedroom.

The good news is that there are plenty of ready-made custom GPTs available within the ChatGPT app, so there may already be one that does exactly what you want. You can also use the available GPTs as inspiration for creating your personalized GPTs, too. You can see the publicly available GPTs by selecting Explore GPTs from the sidebar.

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Early Bird