How to use ChatGPT to summarize a book, article or research paper

Screenshot by Jada Jones/ZDNET

AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be used to make summarizing long articles, research papers, and books an easier task. If you’re supposed to write an abstract for school or work in a written body of text, remember that ChatGPT should be used to help you understand a topic rather than write your paper for you.

Also: How to use ChatGPT to write an essay

Whether you are a student writing a research paper, someone who wants to know more about a long article, or someone who wants to know more about a complicated topic, you can use ChatGPT to simplify the process.

How ChatGPT can create summaries for you

materials needed: You will need a device that can connect to the Internet, an OpenAI account, as well as a URL for an article, research paper, or book title. The process should take one to three minutes.

If you need ChatGPT to help summarize an article or research paper, find it online and keep it open in a separate tab.

Screenshot by Jada Jones/ZDNET

In the chat box, type TLDR: followed by the link to your article. TLDR means too long not read.

Also: How to use ChatGPT to write code

After writing the message, paste the copied URL of your article and ChatGPT will know that you are asking the chatbot to provide a summary. Then hit the submit button and wait for the magic to happen.

Screenshot by Jada Jones/ZDNET

frequent questions

What are the limitations of ChatGPT?

If you are using ChatGPT to summarize an article, book, or research, please note that ChatGPT is not aware of events that occurred after 2021.

For example, suppose you ask ChatGPT to report on Joe Biden’s political campaign this year to ban TikTok. In that case, the chatbot will tell you, “It is currently unclear what actions, if any, the Biden administration may take regarding TikTok in the future.”

If you try to get around this and provide ChatGPT with an article containing post-2021 information, you might freak out. Here, I asked the chatbot to summarize an article about a new app I wrote about this week, and it made up some details.

Lemon8 is a new app from TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. Although the TikTok trend may exist, that is not what the article is about.

Screenshot by Jada Jones/ZDNET

Can ChatGPT summarize a PDF?

Yes, you can upload a PDF document to ChatGPT and it will summarize its content. However, the accuracy of the chatbot summary may vary depending on the quality of the PDF. If the PDF is inaccessible or behind a paywall, ChatGPT may not be able to summarize it for you.

Can ChatGPT summarize an email thread?

Something like. If you want to copy and paste all emails, ChatGPT can summarize the thread content for you. It would be more useful to bypass the email thread and ask ChatGPT to help you write a response based on the key points you know about the conversation.