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How to build your own custom ChatGPT with OpenAI's GPT builder

By Jessica Lau · November 14, 2023
Hero image of the OpenAI app logo on a light purple background.

A little over a year ago, ChatGPT took the world by storm. It was hard for anyone to believe that, with just a few prompts, the AI chatbot could take care of time-consuming tasks like summarizing articles or planning detailed travel itineraries—all in a matter of seconds. 

Now, that's small potatoes. OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, recently released a way for anyone to create their own version of ChatGPT. They're calling them GPTs, and you can build one, catered to your company or personal goals, in a matter of minutes.

Here's how to build your own custom ChatGPT using OpenAI's GPT builder.

Note: Building a custom GPT is currently available only to ChatGPT Plus and Enterprise users. 

Table of contents:

  • What are GPTs? 

  • How to build your own custom ChatGPT

  • How to edit your custom chatbot

What are GPTs? 

GPTs are custom versions of ChatGPT created by OpenAI users. All you have to do is tell the GPT builder, in plain English, what you want to create, and the builder will take it from there. 

Here's what the GPT builder suggested when I asked it to create a chatbot that shares only fun facts about otters. 

Example of a custom ChatGPT that tells fun facts about otters.

You can also configure your GPT to browse the web, generate images using DALLE·3, and run code.

While users with a ChatGPT Plus or Enterprise account can already customize ChatGPT responses with custom instructions, the GPT builder takes things a step further in two notable ways: 

  • Create multiple custom GPTs. There are no limits to how many GPTs you can build, making it easy to toggle between chatbots and get the right kind of AI-powered support for the occasion. Custom instructions, on the other hand, limit you to one set of instructions per user. 

  • Upload knowledge source files. Instead of copying and pasting text from every resource you want ChatGPT to consider when generating a response, you can upload knowledge files directly to your GPT builder, and it'll take care of the rest. 

Note: As part of OpenAI's privacy controls, you can opt your account out of model training. This means OpenAI won't be able to access anything containing sensitive information, like your chat history and knowledge files, to train their models. But as with any generative AI, there's always a risk of data breaches, and ways for people to get access to your knowledge sources, so be careful about what you upload in the early days of this feature.

How to build your own custom ChatGPT

Here's the short version of how to build your own custom ChatGPT using OpenAI's GPT builder.

  1. Go to chat.openai.com and log in. 

  2. In the sidebar, click Explore

  3. Click Create a GPT

  4. Enter your instructions in the message box of the Create page. Chat with the GPT builder until you get the results you want.

  5. Click Configure to add advanced customizations to your AI assistant. For example, you can change your chatbot's name, further refine the instructions, upload knowledge files, and set up actions. 

  6. Click Save, and select how you want to share your custom GPT. 

  7. Click Confirm.  

Now let's take a closer look at the finer details of using GPTs.  

1. Log in to your OpenAI account

Before you get started, you must have a ChatGPT Plus or Enterprise account. Already have the required account type? Click Log in to start chatting. 

OpenAI's login/signup page.

If you're having trouble logging in, your best bet is to reload your page. For specific login issues, check out OpenAI's troubleshooting tips.  

2. Create your GPT 

  1. In the sidebar, click Explore

  2. Click Create a GPT

    How to create a new GPT in ChatGPT.

    The GPT builder will display a split screen: the Create panel is where you enter your prompts to build your chatbot; the Preview panel allows you to interact with your chatbot as you build, making it easier to determine how to refine it.

    OpenAI's GPT builder.

  3. Enter your instructions in the message box of the Create page, and then press Enter or Return

  4. The GPT builder will then suggest a few things based on your instructions: a chatbot name, profile picture, and default conversation starters.

    A custom GPT in the process of being built. The builder has suggested a chatbot profile picture, name, and conversation starters.

    You can accept the initial suggestions or ask the GPT builder to modify them. If you accept the initial suggestions, you can always modify them later on. 

  5. The GPT builder will prompt you to enter more specific instructions to finetune your chatbot's behavior. 

    Prompts from the GPT builder to help it fine-tune the custom GPT.

    If you're not sure how you want to modify your chatbot's behavior, that's ok. My suggestion is to test your chatbot in the Preview panel—interact with it how you normally would—and use its responses to inform your modifications. For example, if your chatbot generates lengthy responses, you might tell the builder to keep the responses short. Or if the chatbot produces facts without citing its sources, you can tell it to always cite its sources.

  6. Continue to refine your prompts until your chatbot starts to return the kinds of responses you want your final chatbot to generate. 

3. Configure your GPT 

Now that you've set up the basics, you can further customize your GPT with advanced settings. 

  1. Click Configure. 

    How to configure your own custom version of ChatGPT.
  2. If you want, you can change your chatbot's name and description as you normally would. Here's how to modify the other advanced settings: 

  • Profile picture. Click the profile picture. You can upload your own photo or use DALLE·3 to automatically generate a new one. If you want to specify what kind of image DALLE·3 should create, click Create, and enter your instructions.  

    How to change a custom GPT's profile picture.

  • Instructions. Update the instructions generated by the GPT builder, or enter additional instructions or guidelines on how your chatbot should or shouldn't behave. 

    How to input additional instructions to a custom GPT.

  • Conversation starters. Click X beside any prompt to remove it. Or enter a new prompt in an empty Conversation starters field. 

    How to add or remove conversation starters to a custom GPT.

  • Knowledge. Want your chatbot to rely on your company's style guide to draft its responses? Or maybe you want it to scan through PDFs of customer personas to give it additional context. Click Upload files, and add any relevant files for it to reference.

    How to add knowledge sources to a custom GPT.

    It's worth mentioning that my chatbot didn't consistently refer to the guide I uploaded to teach it how to write alternative text. But this could be because I need to write clearer prompts in my GPT instructions. Tinker with it until it's using your uploaded documents in the way you intended.

  • Capabilities. By default, your chatbot can browse the web and create AI-generated images. If you also want it to run code or analyze data, click Code Interpreter

    How to add advanced capabilities to a custom GPT.

  • Actions. If you want your chatbot to retrieve external information or take actions outside of the ChatGPT platform, click Add Actions. Here you can specify how you want your chatbot to use any third-party APIs. 

    How to add actions to a custom GPT.

    With AI Actions by Zapier, for example, you can connect your custom GPT with thousands of other apps. This way, you can take action in apps like Slack, Google Calendar, and Notion—all from within ChatGPT's interface. To do this, follow the instructions from Zapier.

If you want some of the same functionality of GPTs but in your other apps, Zapier's ChatGPT integration lets you write and execute code, analyze data on CSVs, and even get questions answered based on your documents—straight from the apps you use most. Learn more about how to automate ChatGPT with Zapier.

4. Save your GPT 

  1. Once you're happy with your chatbot, click Save. (If you already created your custom GPT and are publishing changes to it, click Update.) 

  2. Select who you want to share your custom chatbot with: Only me, Only people with a link, or Public. If you're on an Enterprise plan, you'll also have Anyone at [your company] as an option.

    How to save or update a custom GPT.

  3. Click Confirm

ChatGPT, along with any custom GPTs you build, will appear in the side panel of the ChatGPT home page. Click the GPT you want to use and interact with it the way you normally would. 

Here's the custom chatbot I created to write alternative text descriptions for an image used in a Zapier blog article. 

Example of a conversation with Alt Text Ace.

Of course, since the GPT builder is in beta—and because ChatGPT has a tendency to hallucinate—it's always a good idea to confirm the accuracy of your custom GPT's responses. 

6. Share your GPT 

If you made your custom GPT available to others, here's the easiest way to share your chatbot. 

  1. In the sidebar, click Explore

  2. Click the GPT you want to share. 

  3. Click the down caret () next to your chatbot's name. 

  4. Click Copy link

    How to share a link to a custom GPT.

  5. Paste and share the link as you normally would. 

How to edit your custom chatbot

Despite how intuitive it feels to click the pencil icon next to your custom chatbot in the side panel of ChatGPT so that you can edit your chatbot, clicking that will only cause disappointment—I mean, let you start a new chat. Here's how to edit your custom chatbot. 

  1. In the sidebar, click Explore

  2. Click Edit next to the GPT you want to modify. 

  3. Update your GPT settings. 

  4. Click Update, then click Confirm

And here's how to delete a custom GPT. 

  1. In the sidebar, click Explore.

  2. Next to the GPT you want to delete, click the More icon, which looks like an ellipsis (...). 

  3. Click Delete GPT

  4. In the confirmation window, click Delete GPT.

That's it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have serious business to get back to—which is absolutely not code for I'm going to continue to refine my very important Otterly Fascinating chatbot.

Related reading: 

  • What is an AI agent?

  • How to automate ChatGPT

  • How to train ChatGPT to write like you

  • ChatGPT prompts to support your entire CX lifecycle

  • What can the ChatGPT data analysis chatbot do?

  • How to train ChatGPT on your own data

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