OpenAI’s ChatGPT has been a game-changer in the field of artificial intelligence since its launch last fall. It has captured the attention of tech giants such as Twitter, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta and has become the fastest-growing ‘app’ of all time, even surpassing TikTok.

Users have been finding creative ways to use ChatGPT’s capabilities, such as generating funny responses to prompts, creating content, improving their writing or Excel skills, finding and fixing bugs in code, and summarizing books. There is speculation about the potential for ChatGPT to replace specific jobs such as programmers, writers, and even doctors.

ChatGPT’s innovative concept and ability to generate coherent and natural text sets it apart. It is easy to use and can hold conversational text interactions with users that feel like talking to a well-informed person. Its impact on various industries could be revolutionary.

1. Sign up for an OpenAI account at no cost

To access ChatGPT, you need to create a free account on the OpenAI website. You can do this by visiting, registering with an email address, or using your Google or Microsoft account. If you are a new user, click the ‘Sign up’ button and follow the prompts to enter your information. Please note that OpenAI requires a valid phone number for verification purposes when creating an account on its website.

2. Become familiar with the ChatGPT windows

Once you’ve logged into your OpenAI account on the ChatGPT side of the website, it’s time to get to know the AI tool’s window. Here’s a breakdown of what you will see, with the image below as an example:

  1. New chat & hide sidebar buttons: On the left-hand side of your screen, you’ll see a button for New chat that you can click on to start a new conversation at any time. This is useful because the ChatGPT model remembers what was previously discussed in a conversation and will respond with context, so starting a new chat will start a new conversation without prejudice or context. 
  2. Chat history: The left sidebar also keeps all your previous conversations accessible in case you need to go back to one, though there is the option for turning off chat history. Here you can edit the title of each chat, share your chat history with others, or delete it.
  3. Account: Clicking on your e-mail address or name on the bottom left of your screen will give you access to your account information, including settings, the option to log out, and help and FAQ from OpenAI. If you don’t have ChatGPT Plus, you’ll see an Upgrade to Plus button here.
  4. Your prompts: The questions or prompts you give the AI chatbot appear here.
  5. ChatGPT’s responses: Whenever ChatGPT responds to your queries, the logo will appear on the left. The Copy, Thumbs Up, and Thumbs Down buttons appear to the right of each response. You can copy the text to your clipboard to paste it elsewhere and provide feedback on whether the response was accurate. This process helps fine-tune the AI tool
  6. Regenerate response: If you have issues getting a response in the chat or don’t get a satisfactory answer, you can click on Regenerate response to prompt ChatGPT to try again with a new answer for the latest prompt.
  7. Text area: This is where you enter your prompts and questions;  just hit enter to send them.
  8. ChatGPT version: OpenAI includes a bit of fine print below the text input area, where you can read the disclaimer that this is a “Free Research Preview. ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts”. There is also the version of the ChatGPT model you’re currently using. 

3. Start writing your prompts and questions

Now that you know how to log in and access ChatGPT, you can start using it to ask any questions you may have. The possibilities are endless, as ChatGPT can be used for a wide range of projects, from software development to writing and translations. You can even use it to rewrite and improve your existing code.

To use ChatGPT, simply type your prompts into the text bar at the bottom of the page and press enter to submit your questions. The AI chatbot will then generate text to provide helpful answers to your queries. So go ahead and start exploring the endless possibilities that ChatGPT has to offer.

4. ChatGPT prompt examples

ChatGPT has the ability to generate responses to prompts, a feature that could potentially challenge traditional search engines. It is a powerful tool for content generation. It can be used for writing essays, summarizing books, writing and fixing code, making calculations, compiling resumes, translating information, and more. Here are some examples of prompts you could use to get started with ChatGPT:

  • How does a computer store and process information?
  • Analyze this code and tell me how to fix it: [Paste the code]
  • Write a poem about migraine in the style of Walt Whitman.
  • Write a country song about a dog named Speckles who loves to run.
  • Write a plugin for —– that does —–
  • What is the difference between a virus and a bacterium?
  • Write a sick note for my child who is missing school.

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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