AI Made Friendly HERE

Tech Matters: Writing GPT prompts that work | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo supplied

Leslie Meredith

Some Microsoft customers are complaining about the company’s relatively new artificial intelligence, Copilot, an add-on to Word, Excel and other Office suite apps, saying that it doesn’t stack up to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. But Microsoft calls “user error,” according to a report by Business Insider.

Either unhappy users are working with older versions of Office that cannot support the new AI integration or they’re just not proficient at writing prompts. To use Copilot for business, you must have Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise because previous versions of Office — 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2021 — are not compatible. Copilot is designed to work within your Office environment, securely accessing email and files to provide task automation and analysis. If your company has purchased licenses for Copilot and you’re not getting the results you were expecting, it is likely a problem with your prompts.

Writing good prompts applies to all AI apps, not just Copilot, ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, Anthropic’s Claude and the like. Whether you want to generate text, images or video, it all starts with a prompt. Because most new GPT users are asking for text-based output, we’ll focus on input for written output. The process is similar across the AI tools: In an open window or panel, you’ll see an area to type in your prompt. In some cases, you will be able to provide links to documents you’d like the tool to reference or you will be able to upload these documents. A word of caution: If you’re referencing work documents outside of Copilot, make sure this complies with your company’s privacy policy.

Before you start a prompt, remember that different tools have their own cutoff points for accessing information on the web. It’s an important thing to know if you’re looking for recent news. So if you see the “Sorry, I don’t have information after …,” do a Google search to augment your AI results. You can add this to your prompt.

Varying cutoff dates corresponds to the training process that involves feeding it a large dataset of text from the web, books, articles and other sources up to a certain point in time. For ChatGPT3.5 (free to use), the cutoff date is January 2022, and for the premium product ChatGPT4 ($20 a month), the date is April 2023. Google’s Gemini does not have a cutoff date because it’s connected directly to Google Search, and like ChatGPT offers a free and a $20-a-month premium product. Claude has both a free and a paid version ($20 a month), and a cutoff date of August 2023. If you’re not already using one, try the free versions to find out which is best for you.

For effective prompts, follow these guidelines. Think about what you want to achieve from your GPT interaction and be as specific as possible. Instead of typing, “Tell me about space,” say “Provide a detailed summary of the key milestones in human space exploration from the 1960s to the present.” Avoid the word please because it gives the GPT permission to decline to answer. That won’t happen very often but these systems are trained on finding the most likely word to come next — they’re not really “thinking.” You can avoid it altogether by phrasing your prompt as a command.

Include context in your prompt. If you’re writing a blog post on green energy trends, include that information, along with a specific request such as, “How can I make my introduction more engaging for readers interested in reducing their environmental impact?” Here, the prompt includes what your audience is concerned about and the GPT can then tailor its response accordingly.

Explain the style and voice you’d like in the result. If you want the response written in the style of a novelist or an academic, say so. If you want it to use your style, upload a piece you’ve written that is most similar to what you want and tell it to write in a similar way. You can also include the direction to write in first, second or third person, and to include quotes from certain sources such as famous authors or scientists.

If your request is complex, you can break the prompt down into a series of prompts. The GPT will reference the preceding prompts and answers. You can also specify formats. If you’re writing a blog post, you can tell it to use H2 or H3 subheads. You can ask for bullet points or tell it not to use them. You can also ask for information to be put into a table and later request that it add more rows or columns.

Continue to finetune the result until you have what you want. The great thing about GPTs is they never get tired or discouraged.

Leslie Meredith has been writing about technology for more than a decade. As a mom of four, value, usefulness and online safety take priority. Have a question? Email Leslie at


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

Originally Appeared Here

You May Also Like

About the Author:

Early Bird